By Keith Blankenship, Regional Vice President of Sales, Kibo
Retail technology has evolved markedly in the last 10 – 15 years. In the 1990s and 2000s, the Point of Sales (POS) was the focal point of an enterprise’s commerce strategy. The POS handled all activities surrounding how customers interacted with retailers. During this time, eCommerce became a viable option for consumers and offered an alternative to crowded stores with substandard shopping experiences. This trend led to a rise in mobile POS which allowed retailers line-busting and save-the-sale functionality. Subsequently, multi-channel retail strategies began to evolve when eCommerce platforms began to integrate with POS systems. While fulfillment options expanded, these systems were often installed on servers in retailers’ offices and required patches and maintenance resulting in cost escalation for the retailer. These new features also came with a high price tag.
Today’s retail technology landscape has drastically changed to the advantage of retailers. Retailers can now implement systems that provide instant access to features without the heavy upgrade costs associated with legacy on-premise systems. By offloading the strain of supporting these systems in favor of multi-tenant SasS applications, retailers can now focus more on customers and their store experience. With this renewed focus, retailers are able to offer intelligent fulfillment options that satisfy customer demands and control costs. Modern systems must also shoulder the burden of communicating with other critical business applications such as ERP and CRM. More and more retailers are turning toward an Order Management System (OMS).
An OMS allows retailers to provide a robust and satisfying experience for their customers. By allowing your customers to fulfill in a manner of their choosing, you are actually increasing sales. 76% of buyers indicate that multiple fulfillment options influence them to complete a purchase, according to Kibo’s 2018 Consumer Trends Report. This is up from 64% the year before — an 18.75% increase.
An OMS doesn’t just enable fulfillment options, it also leverages a retailer’s most valuable asset, it’s inventory, in two distinct manners. First, an OMS can give customers visibility into what inventory is available at certain stores and online. 68% of consumers are less likely to order from a site that doesn’t show in-stock store inventory availability, and 78% of consumers have looked up store inventory before a store visit. Secondly, it allows retailers to optimize their existing inventory through intelligent, rules-based order routing and the ship-from-store function.
Customer expectations and demands have certainly changed, and retailers must adjust quickly to ensure a sound costumer experience in the most cost-effective manner. Providing a customer experience that aligns with evolving expectations ensures market relevance and ability to thrive in the modern world. While POS and eCommerce platforms are important pieces in the life of a retailer, an OMS is the critical element that drives all of the enterprise.