Henry Ford once said, that "a customer can have a Model T in any color they want as long as it is black." This worked when there was only one game in town, but when General Motors started offering consumers options, the rules of the game changed. A similar shift is now happening in retail as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers offer a variety of fulfillment options for consumers demanding faster, cheaper, and more convenient delivery options.
Yet, providing these new fulfillment options successfully, whether it's ship-from-store (SFS) or buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPUS), requires a new way of thinking about existing processes, organizational frameworks, and technology. To help prospective clients tackle these new retail processes and changes, Celect has partnered with top-tier retail consulting companies across the globe who know change management, retail, and I/T. With these new alliances, our clients have trusted advisors who can help them with the process changes needed to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technology for successfully tackling inventory and fulfillment challenges plaguing retailers today.
How Celect Partnerships Can Help
Consumers demand flexible options around delivery and pick-up, and retailers with a poor fulfillment strategy can result in a). unhappy customers, b). increased inventory, and c). higher costs. As such, retailers strive to offer consumers the option of either having an online order shipped or heading to the local store for pickup (BOPUS).
The caveat with these new store fulfillment options is, implementation often is more complicated than it seems. The challenge is not the technology, but instead the needed behavioral changes within the organization to successfully execute these new delivery options in a profitable way. Some retailers continue to run each "channel" of retailing as an independent profit center, and therefore sharing across channels cuts against the grain.
For instance, store planners now need to take into account online orders that will either ship from a store or be picked up. In addition, does a sale that is made online but picked up in the store, or shipped from a store, count as an online sale or an offline sale? We know the answer is the consumer doesn't care, but this does not alter the fact that changing an engrained culture is hard. To address these challenges, our partnerships aim to:
- Provide strategic advice
- Consult around developing a view of the future with today’s baseline
- Co-develop concrete success metrics
- Create personas to build skills roadmaps
- Share best practices
With our new partnerships, retailers we work with now have trusted advisors who can help with the much needed business transformation and forward-thinking attitude necessary to offer a color other than black.
Keeping Up With Innovation in Retail
In addition to helping retailers with a strategic approach to store fulfillment, Celect partners are also driving innovation in retail around:
- Adding the voice of the consumer with analytics
- Assortment planning cycle
- SKU rationalization
- Digital assortment management
- Creating middleware specific to retail enterprise systems
- Building upon product demand predictions to forecast labor
If you are interested in learning more about these different solutions and partnerships with Celect, sign up for updates to our upcoming technology showcases here.