If you’re running an eCommerce business, launching an omnichannel customer service strategy has likely crossed your mind – and for a good reason. Companies that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% higher customer retention rates.
But setting up a successful OMNI channel approach isn’t always easy. In fact, it comes with several logistical challenges that, if ignored, can lead to the strategy’s downfall.
Not to worry. In this article, we’ll outline five common omnichannel logistic mistakes and how to avoid them.
Let’s dive in!
What are OMNI Channel Logistics?
The phrase ‘omnichannel logistics‘ is an umbrella term that concerns how…
- Customers want their items shipped
- Customers receive their orders
- What stock is available to meet demand
- Which sales channel you use
Despite omnichannel’s multi-faceted nature, the bottom line is always the same. Your customers want a seamless experience and fast delivery, often on the same or next day.
How do you achieve this?
By ensuring smooth omnichannel logistics. The easiest way to achieve this is to use third-party warehousing and shipping services to help manage your:
- Inventory visibility
- Channel specific processes
- Speed of delivery
- Ease of return
As you can see, there are lots of moving pieces that need juggling, and as such, mistakes are easily made. So, below, we’ve listed five of the most common errors people make with omnichannel and how to avoid them:
1. A Lack of Inventory Visibility
If you’re using an omnichannel strategy to bridge the divide between your online and brick-and-mortar stores, various logistical complexities can ensue. Most notably, managing inventory across your physical stores and eCommerce warehouses.
Poor inventory visibility can lead to many issues that will frustrate your consumers. For example, you might make a sale and only to realize shortly after that the product isn’t in stock. So, the customer has to wait longer for their product than expected.
How to avoid this problem: Put in place omnichannel supply chain systems and technologies. These should provide better visibility over the entirety of your stock.
For example, warehouse management systems should integrate with an ERP. On top of that, they should also interface with your chosen transportation management service and eCommerce platform.
It’s only when all these dots join together that you’ll have complete transparency over your inventory.
2. Focusing on Channel-Specific Processes
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on each channel independently. This goes against the streamlined nature of successful omnichannel solutions.
Instead, your supply chain should integrate with all your online sales channels. For instance:
- Your social media stores
…These are just a few examples, but you get the idea.
How to avoid this problem: Implement a system that integrates all your sales channels, so you’re better positioned to make the most of channel-specific warehouses.
With a dynamic outlook across your space allocation, you’ll inevitably unlock more opportunities.
3. A Lack of Value-Added Services
Value-added services are third parties that add extra effectiveness to your order management. Many businesses lack connections to such services, and as such, they’re more likely to falter on their promises.
When there’s great demand, brands struggle to provide fast delivery as assured because they have too much to handle independently. They might also lack the expertise to do the job justice.
How to avoid this problem: Implement third-party services to add value and efficiency. This can include services like automating labeling, packing, shipping, and invoice generation.
It could also involve partnering with a logistics provider to get otherwise tricky orders shipped out in one day.
4. Long Cycle Times Make Same-Day Deliveries Impossible
Omnichannel consumers can purchase products via your apps, online stores, or physical shops. But, no matter the sales channel, shoppers often expect to receive items within two days, or in some cases, even on the same day.
This is where the Amazon Effect is observed most strongly, and consequently, warehouse managers need to decrease the time it takes for them to prepare orders for shipping.
Often, as staff are rushing to meet tight deadlines, silly mistakes are made. This can negatively impact the customer experience and create a stressful working environment for your team.
How to avoid this problem: Supply chain executives should focus on creating standardized processes and use automation to increase the efficiency of processing, picking, and packaging.
Consider enlisting the help of third-party order fulfillment and shipping to get expert assistance in this area.
5. Limited Sites and Inconsistent Processes
A single building is rarely sufficient to manage a whole omnichannel supply chain. With so much going on in one location, you risk overloading your limited distribution capacity.
How to avoid this problem: Your omnichannel supply chain should utilize multiple distribution centers and retail stores. From there, your supply chain system should identify the product inventory closest to the consumer.
Then label printing, picking, packaging, and shipping can be handled to meet consumers’ requirements.
This is totally achievable, but only if distribution center managers implement standardized processes across all channels. This means following a specific set of procedures to reduce the risk of error and cycle time.
If you don’t have the funds to purchase tons of distribution sites and warehouses, never fear. Again, this is where hiring third-party help is worth its weight in gold.
Avoid Omnichannel Logistics Mistakes by Leveraging Third Party Services
OMNI Channel logistics rely on multiple locations, delivery options, and contact points. The supply chain has to be managed across multiple sites. There, processes can be standardized and made visible through one interconnected system.
The best way to ensure fast turn arounds is to leverage third-party experience to handle warehouse and distribution challenges.
For more information, please feel free to reach out and contact us today for a free quote!