From online shopping with free overnight shipping to department stores opening on holidays, the retail industry is all about convenience. Consumers increasingly expect an all-encompassing, efficient experience from the very first thought of a product they need or want until the moment they take it out of the package. More than ever, consumers want an immersive experience that allows them to buy exactly what they went, when they want it. On the front end, retailers are already using technology to better understand consumers and improve the shopping experience. From omnichannel platforms to smart dressing rooms, retailers are starting to provide the full-service experience their customers demand. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning advancements also allow retailers to gather a wealth of data about their consumers’ shopping habits, and use this data to improve the entire experience no matter where the consumer is in the buying process.
When it comes to their own backend processes though, much improvement is needed. To make their own processes more efficient, retailers need to apply the same approach to their backend and find a single source of truth to manage the complicated retail supply chain, while improving communication and creativity. The key is not just leveraging the available technology on both the front and backend, but fully utilizing the provided data to inform future product development and delivery decisions. Retailers can no longer think of the front-end customer experience and backend supply chain processes as separate. Consumers are demand an all-encompassing experience, retailers must adapt and respond holistically.
Joining the digital revolution
The fully integrated shopping experience requires retailers to go beyond traditional supply chain processes and build out the fulfillment network so that it can respond to what any consumer needs faster and more efficiently than before. To do this, retailers need to bring their sourcing processes into the digital era. With digital channels, true collaboration is possible, which allows retailers to make better, more profitable operation decisions faster. Add machine learning technology and data analytics on top of that, and you have a recipe for success. By implementing these capabilities, reporting and forecasts become more accurate, allowing retailers to better prepare for peak seasons and industry trends. Automating the information-gathering and decision-informing processes means that sourcing and supply chain professionals can save time for what matters most – and what got them into the retail industry in the first place: inspiration and differentiation.
Digital sourcing provides retailers and partners with a single platform for ongoing communication, collaboration and inspiration-sharing. With a single source of truth to improve communication, retailers can speed time to market, stay on top of industry trends and ultimately make better, more profitable operational decisions. If retailers want to provide their consumers with a truly comprehensive shopping experience, they need to approach the backend with the same mentality.
See how digital technology allows retailers to monitor all import processes through a single source of truth, reducing manual input and tracking on outdated spreadsheets to improve supply chain processes.