Customers demand the ability to order online and pick up in store. In its recent Consumer Trends Report, Kibo found that 43 percent of US shoppers and 37 percent of UK shoppers prefer click and collect as their fulfillment method.1 Branded manufacturers understand this consumer desire, and are taking steps to tap into this fulfillment opportunity. However, these merchants, especially those in specialized verticals, may not be deploying the best technology strategy available as the solution to this consumer expectation.
Recently, a few brands have developed custom, in-house ship-to-store platforms, rather than invest in an enterprise-class order management vendor. And while this homegrown omnichannel solution delights the customer, this particular method can be a thorn in the side of the dealer. Here’s why:
Most dealers carry a healthy assortment of brands. If they plan to participate in ship-from-store or in-store pickup fulfillment, it means they need to access the brand’s fulfillment interface. If every major brand has a unique, private platform, it requires independent dealers to utilize different user interfaces and systems in order to fulfill orders for their many different brands.
In this environment, dealers and their store associates will not only have to maintain business as usual, but also frequently check into different user interfaces or miss out on an omnichannel sale. Dealers will have to hustle or get left behind and it will take some trial and error to get the stores staffed with the appropriate amount of associates at the right times so as not to miss online sales from the branded manufacturer.
Clearly, this is not the ideal position for dealers. A better situation would be a singular, Cloud-based commercial portal to check all omnichannel fulfillment activities for various brands, on a user interface that is easy to use and highly functional.
For example, Kibo’s order management platform provides a unified user interface that allows dealers to fulfill orders for multiple brands, not just one. The portal even shows trends and reports on the items customers in their area are interested in, helping dealers understand what to stock. Other Kibo order management benefits include:
- Positioning dealers as a valuable partner with brands and customers
- Setting up dealers for fulfillment success
- Capturing more sales online by using all available inventory
- Increasing turn rates by using store inventory for fulfillment
- Moving aged inventory out of stores before markdown
- Increasing sales in-store by using inventory across the supply chain
- Capturing consumer buying trends across channels for better merchandising online and in retail locations
By partnering with dealers, branded manufacturers can delight their consumers, strengthen their relationship with their partners, and position their brand for continued growth. But only if they offer technology that makes it easy for those dealers to receive and fulfill orders. When deciding whether to develop your own in-house fulfillment platform, or to instead partner with a commercial order management vendor that offers the most advanced tools and functionality, a platform that dealers love, and no need to maintain software development, the answer should be clear. Choose the vendor that can offer a lower total cost of ownership and faster time to market than developing a homegrown platform internally.