Smart shelves, digital signage, smart apps- Omni channel retail has come a long way following the road to digital retail innovation. Selling has become smart, easier to navigate for customers but it hasn’t got any easier for retailers. Over the years and with development of smart devices and Omni channel retail, connectivity has emerged as one of the major challenges of selling smart. Connecting one’s store shelves to webpage and app, connecting payment options across channels, order tracking, but most importantly connecting inventory across channels is the most important aspect of smart retailing now.

Lack of visibility = lack of credibility

Let’s start with an example here. Joe is looking for a pack of his favorite wafers. He goes to your online shop and browses. He finds that the brand he is looking for is not available there. Next, he gives your app a try. He finds the product and orders it. He wants to pick it up from your store on his way home. He walks into your store and is told by the store manager that the product is not available in store. He can either collect it from online or wait till it gets back on shelves. Disconnect between the service promised and reality decreases the credibility of the retailer, making Joe choose some other retailer next time.

A customer may come back to you some other time if you don’t have a product, or if s/he is getting a better discount at some other store. The chances are very less of them choosing your services once their trust is broken. Inventory visibility across channels maintains consistency of products on shelves. If a product is visible online, customers will find it in store and vice versa. If you have promised Mary 30% discount on her next purchase of box of cake mix, then you better make that product available in your inventory and project it effectively across channels. That will help her make good use of your offer.

Cross Channel inventory visibility with PRIOS

It is imperative that your channels project exactly what you have in your inventory for you to deliver on your promises each time.   As a retailer, you need to know what you have in your bag so that you can devise effective marketing strategies and personalize recommendations in real-time scenario (think Amazon). Same visibility is required for your customers so that they can get what they want, when and where they want it (door step delivery, in-store pick up).

Enabling PRIOS, the retailers would be able to connect all their channels (store, web, app, kiosks) with their inventory allowing a singular view for both customers and themselves. Also,

  1. PRIOS can be customized and added to retailer’s existing channels in less time and in a cost effective way facilitating seamless experience for customers.
  2. Tracking everyday product movement and alerts for inventory replenishment ensures you never miss out on delivering to your customers.
  3. Effective inventory tracking also gives you a better idea of which products are moving faster than the others, giving you time to replenish your stocks and giving you a better view of the market scenario. This also helps in creating targeted marketing and customer profiling. For example, if you see a particular brand of flour is selling during a season, you can devise offers on that product and present them in real-time to your customers and at the same time keep track of your stocks.

Inventory visibility and Fulfilment

“Only 81% of retailers have a supply chain model that allows for inventory visibility across all channels, and only 16% of those have optimized transfer capabilities for fulfillment” Gartner states in their ‘How to Achieve Multichannel Supply Chain Excellence’ article.  When you can only see but not deliver, that makes no sense. That is even worse than not having visibility. That is an even greater breach of promise, greater inadequacy of processes. With PRIOS, you can collect the data from across channels and eliminate such disparity of data if existent, so that you are able to deliver what you display on a day-to-day basis.

Visibility erodes the ‘unsold’

Stacked up with ‘unsold’ goods? Why weren’t they sold? They didn’t have proper visibility. Let’s say a new high fiber cornflakes is introduced, so along with your store’s bestselling high fiber cornflakes you have stocked up on this one too, keeping in mind the health benefits which might bring in more customers. You need to bring visibility to the product to make it sell and bring in customers. Using PRIOS, you can give such products visibility across channels by presenting them to customers buying similar products. For example,

  1. When a customer is buying cornflakes and their favorite brand is not in stock, your new product can be recommended.
  2. If a customer is buying something similar like digestive biscuit then also this option can pop up as recommendation.
  3. Also, getting notifications about unsold products will help you devise marketing plans and advertise them across channels. Greater visibility leads to lesser ‘unsold’ products.

For Omni channel retail, it is of utmost importance that your channels reflect exactly what you have in your inventory. To influence purchases, increasing cross sell and up sale with real-time recommendation and to provide a seamless customer experience, visibility of inventory across channels is undeniable. While retailers are using RFID tags for item level tracking in stores, solutions like PRIOS makes tracking at a larger scale effectively possible.

Shreyasee Ghosh

Shreyasee Ghosh

Research Analyst at Aspire Systems
Shreyasee Ghosh is responsible for handling various kinds of marketing content including whitepapers. She has a 1st class 1st Graduation degree in Mass Comm & Journalism. In a career spanning over four years she has worked at a renowned media organization and other IT companies.
Shreyasee Ghosh