Omnichannel Distribution: What to Know
Omnichannel distribution is coming up frequently as an industry standard. More and more, companies are having to give customers every possible option for interacting, and scaling up and down quickly depending on how many customers prefer to shop. Alongside that evolution of shopping practices, warehousing has had to change to meet the needs of not only the stores but now also the direct consumer.
An example of this change is in how some retail locations have noticed a decreased need to stock accessible inventory. With consumers purchasing many items online for store pick-up, the primary function of the storefront is for the relationship building with the customer and to ensure the item meets their needs. People also often want to hold their item, test it out, and be sure that it fits properly before walking out of the store. Delivering directly to your doorstep takes out that store interaction and integral part of shopping.
This is where proper warehousing comes in. Warehouses focus on keeping the retailers sufficiently stocked up on inventory while also making direct shipments out to consumers. While customers who do prefer to come into the store can have that hands-on shopping experience, there will often just be a standard version of items is available at the location. If there is interest to browse additional items, a store clerk can help in engaging point of purchase kiosks to assist the customer with searching for an alternative size, shape, color and style.
For those customers, retailers can offer the best of both worlds – a tactile experience, while also providing unique delivery programs that ensure timelines are met. In the age of overnight and same day delivery, immediate satisfaction is ingrained in our culture. Without leaving of the comfort of our home, we can request an item be brought to directly us. This has even infiltrated down to the individual employee level, with Walmart implementing a volunteer employee driving program. If a customer’s delivery address is on the way home during the employee’s commute, they can support in dropping that package off.
Not everyone can or wants to go to that level of omnichannel effort. Third party logistics (3PL) companies can manage this aspect of the business, freeing everyone else up to focus on their job, and how to best serve the customer. Leveraging a combined multi-million square feet of warehouse space that can store your goods nationwide, a century of experience and capabilities to ship or distribute internationally can provide a seamless end customer experience without your team having to sort out the omnichannel logistics.