JDA’s latest Consumer Pulse Report highlights the fulfilment challenges facing retailers in the face of heightened expectations. There are differing levels of maturity within the European online retail market and customer behaviour varies from country to country. The most important thing for Australian retailers is to understand these regional differences so they can tailor their approach to meet local needs.
For example, the Consumer Pulse Report demonstrates that with the maturity of online shopping in the UK, customers are demanding a flawless online shopping experience, leading them to be increasingly intolerant of poor service and delivery. Given the similar level of maturity of online shopping in Australia, this should be an important consideration for retailers operating in this market.
Based on the report findings, Patrick Viney, Head of Retail Industry Strategy at JDA Australia, has the following top five tips for Australian retailers to ensure they are on the front foot with their supply chain management this Christmas:
- Planning for Christmas is vitally important to any retailer wanting to ensure a seamless experience for its customers. Planning will need to be done on several fronts including supply chain and workforce management.
- From a supply chain perspective having accurate and timely forecasts incorporating all sales channels is critical for ensuring placement of inventory at the right locations. Knowing where that demand is coming from (i.e. online vs B&M) is equally as important as where the demand will be fulfilled (i.e. in store or home delivery).
- Inventory visibility is another critical factor in ensuring the right decisions are made with regards to inventory movements. Visibility is also important to share with customers when placing orders online.
- Australian retailers must ensure that the customer can engage in any channel and receive the same brand experience across all channels. This means ensuring consistency of pricing and promotions, having visibility of inventory across the channels and ensuring that when they are in the store the right associates are in place to engage and enhance the customer experience. New store formats are also including digital inside their stores through the use of interactive mirrors, beacons and self-service kiosks for online orders. The seamless interaction between physical and digital provides customers with a brand experience that creates return visits.
- SMEs in particular should consider their customers from a complete touch-point perspective. They need to provide a seamless shopping journey that connects their physical and digital channels. Inventory visibility and the ability to execute on the fulfilment methods offered are essential in meeting customer expectations. Having a supply chain that is flexible enough to cater to those expectations can be key to ensuring a profitable outcome for the retailer.
1. Source: http://retail.org.au/news-posts/australian-shoppers-to-spend-48-1-billion-this-christmas/
2. Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-31/why-are-online-retailers-setting-up-bricks-and-mortar-stores/797395