Boston -- The top company initiative among retail supply chain executives is “to enable a seamless customer experience online and in the store.” According to the new 2014 Supply Chain Benchmark Survey from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), this “unified commerce” initiative as the evolution of both multichannel and omnichannel retailing to provide a seamless shopping experience whether in the store, on the Web or anywhere customers choose to shop on their mobile devices.
The 2014 survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current capabilities, planned initiatives, priorities and future trends as identified by each respondent’s top supply chain professionals. Key findings that demonstrate the achievements and/or priorities of retailers in delivering a unified commerce supply chain include:
• Focused on unified commerce: 93% are adopting a unified commerce model with 54% in the planning stages and 39% currently implementing solutions.
• Cross-channel inventory fulfillment: 75% of retailers can fulfill inventory across multiple channels.
• Corporate initiative: 63% identified “enable seamless customer experience online and in the store” as a top initiative.
While unified commerce is a top priority, there is still a significant amount of work to be done to achieve it, as identified by these findings:
• Organizations have silos: 22% of companies indicated that they have merged their channels into a single organization.
• Managing supply chain with spreadsheets: 46% of respondents use static spreadsheets to manage their supply chain planning.
• Limited cross-channel inventory visibility: 40% provide in-store “available to promise” (ATP) visibility to customers yet only 20% have this same visibility for their internal staff.
“Just as technology has provided continuous connectivity and responsiveness to the consumer, it also provides the tools to create a robust, responsive and information-rich supply chain,” said Ken Morris, a principal of Boston Retail Partners. “With advanced networks and sophisticated software and analytics, the technology is readily available to enable unified commerce. Now is the time to align the people and processes with the technology to make real-time retail a reality!”