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Retail Order Management - Emerging Trends

Economists continue to come up with new theories around recovery, some talk about an L shaped recovery and off late some are suggesting a V shaped one. One thing that is emerging clearly in this economic climate is the distinct presence of Internet in Retail Sales. The traditional mall based sales in US have seen a decline in the recent years and e-commerce a catch phrase of the 90s is begining to show its effect on the Retail Sales. I focus on some interesting emerging trends in Order Management seen across Retailers who are mixing the power of the internet with the spread of their physical stores.

Consumers have increasingly taken to internet for their discretionary spending and with Retailers putting a lot of dollars into integrating online channels with their store management systems, there is an emergance of some new order management trends.

1. Channel Integration

Traditional model of merchandise delivery has been through distributor warehouses or delivery centers closer to the mall based sales channels. With an increasing presence in online sales, the traditional model saw some challenges as this required presence across a wider geography. Some retailers served the internet sales separately and that inventory was maintained differently. However with the net sales showing increasing growth in the online sector, retailers are integrating the delivery channels.

2. New Sales and Delivery Channels - Buy Online, pick or hold at the physical store, Kiosks at Store

The above integration is also giving rise to lot of new innovating concepts such as Buy Online and pick up at store which utilises the sales channel of internet and the delivery channel of a traditional store delivery. Also lot of retailers are giving increasing visibility into store level inventory which allows customers to buy online and hold the product at a local store for a pick up thereby guaranteeing availability. Retailers are also bringing kiosks into the stores, this way a customer who missed out in a item within the store can purchase it at the store thereby guaranteeing the sale and increasing availability.

3. Direct to Store Delivery

Another concept that is gaining popularity is the direct to store delivery model, which offers vendors to take their items directly to the store and by limiting the number of intermediate delivery centers and warehouses. Unlike the previous two trends, this trend requires physical warehouse capabilities of being able to fulfill requirements directly to store and thereby handle the size of deliveries.

Indeed the true power of internet is only now catching up and revolutioning the retail world.

Comments

What exactly is Order Management in brief?

Vijay, OM is a term used to describe the process starting with the time a customer sees and buys a product to the time he obtains it. The operations that a company needs to have to fulfill this basic need of a retailer are changing and that is what I blogged about.

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