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/ 11.24.2020 / Operation Educate,Retail Tips and Tricks

The pace of change in retail can be dizzying. Buying behaviors and customer expectations are changing in real-time. Shopping experiences are driving differentiation. And, in the midst of a global pandemic, retailers are continuing to rethink and retool how they can anticipate and meet evolving customer needs. 

Multi-channel strategies have been replaced by omnichannel. It’s no longer enough for retailers to give their customers multiple platforms to choose from. Today’s customers expect the channels – in-store, online, mobile, and social – to blend seamlessly as they move from one channel to another and back again – often in the course of a single purchase. 

Behind the scenes, an omnichannel retail strategy requires omnichannel inventory management. Omnichannel inventory is the ability to accurately manage your inventory across channels. To deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience, you must have an integrated view of what’s in the warehouse, what’s sold, and what’s been ordered – in real-time.

Tracking the different sources and managing stock levels isn’t always easy. But the potential rewards are worth it. Omnichannel customers will spend up to 35 percent more per transaction and have a 30 percent higher customer lifetime value compared to single-channel customers. 

Ready to practice omnichannel inventory? Start by avoiding these three obstacles. 

1. Siloed inventory

As retailers shifted to multiple channels from brick-and-mortar or e-commerce only, they didn’t always shift their inventory management processes. That meant that supply orders and inventory data were still handled separately, channel by channel. So, when it was time to design and deliver true omnichannel shopping experiences, putting it all together could be a manual spreadsheet mess and cause inefficiencies like over-ordering or back-orders. 

Achieving omnichannel retail means integrating back-end point-of-sale (POS) systems and processes across channels, including ordering, tracking, analyzing, and adjusting inventory.  

Related: Customer Expectations: Why Retailers Need to Deliver an Omnichannel Experience

2. Limited tracking

A customer’s experience is only as good as your inventory management. By definition, an omnichannel experience means your customer may start shopping online but make the actual purchase in person at your store. If your website tells a customer the item they want is in-stock, it can’t just mean it’s in the warehouse. Inventory tracking and reporting need to be real-time and accurate – with visibility for both you and your customer. 

Similarly, inventory tracking needs to keep you up to date across channels to ensure you’re able to keep the right amount of stock on-hand. If you receive a large online order, you may not be able to replenish your store shelves the next day without automated re-order triggers that take all channels into account. Leverage an integrated POS system to automate your re-order process, and make timely, data-driven inventory forecasting decisions.

Related: 5 Essential Facts Your Inventory Management Reports Should Be Telling You

3. Disconnected customer experience

Omnichannel retail is customer-centric. And even though it may feel like a back-end process, so is omnichannel inventory. As you consider enhancements to your inventory management, evaluate the impact on the customer experience. 

Effective inventory management affects your customers in obvious ways, such as having the item they want to purchase available and accessible via the channel they choose to shop. It also affects their experiences in less obvious but equally impactful ways. For example, integrated inventory management can make it simple for a customer to purchase an item online and choose to pick it up curbside at the store’s brick-and-mortar location.  

Here’s more on Omnichannel Inventory.

Taking an omnichannel approach to inventory automatically enhances your ability to deliver a true omnichannel experience to your customers. POSIM – a point-of-sale and inventory management system – makes it possible with integrated inventory data and robust reporting capabilities. Contact us for a demo today. And, check out more inventory insights in our guide, Countdown to the Holidays: 10 Steps to Optimize Inventory Management and Increase Sales. Download now.

Caleb Shook

Inbound Marketing Manager

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<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_16' ><div id='gf_16' class='gform_anchor' tabindex='-1'></div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' target='gform_ajax_frame_16' id='gform_16' action='/blog/omnichannel-inventory-avoid-these-3-obstacles/#gf_16'> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_16' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_16_6' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_6' id='input_16_6' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='https://app-3QNL6WU154.marketingautomation.services/webforms/receivePostback/MzawMDG3NDO0AAA/' /></li><li id='field_16_7' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_7' id='input_16_7' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='dd23239b-5ce4-47fc-98d6-c39e068f4990' /></li><li id='field_16_10' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_10' id='input_16_10' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='countdown-to-the-holidays' /></li><li id='field_16_8' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_8' id='input_16_8' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='POSIM' /></li><li id='field_16_13' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_13' >First<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_13' id='input_16_13' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='88' placeholder='First Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_16_14' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_14' >Last<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_14' id='input_16_14' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='89' placeholder='Last Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_16_2' class='gfield posim-email gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_2' >Email<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_2' id='input_16_2' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='90' placeholder='Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_16_3' class='gfield posim-phone field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_3' >Phone</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_phone'><input name='input_3' id='input_16_3' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='91' placeholder='Phone' aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_16_5' class='gfield posim-industry gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_5' >Your Industry<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_5' id='input_16_5' class='large gfield_select' tabindex='92' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false"><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>Your Industry</option><option value='Apparel' >Apparel</option><option value='Hobby' >Hobby</option><option value='Household' >Household</option><option value='Liquor, Wine &amp; Beer' >Liquor, Wine &amp; Beer</option><option value='Needlearts' >Needlearts</option><option value='Quilt, Fabric &amp; Sewing' >Quilt, Fabric &amp; Sewing</option><option value='Outdoor' >Outdoor</option><option value='Other' >Other</option></select></div></li><li id='field_16_11' class='gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_11' >CAPTCHA</label><div id='input_16_11' class='ginput_container ginput_recaptcha' data-sitekey='6LcWicwZAAAAAF6_JZFIf_bEpNSyHe5AsCdrkgmD' data-theme='light' data-tabindex='-1' data-size='invisible' data-badge='bottomright'></div></li><li id='field_16_15' class='gfield gform_validation_container field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_16_15' >Comments</label><div class='ginput_container'><input name='input_15' id='input_16_15' type='text' value='' /></div><div class='gfield_description' id='gfield_description_16_15'>This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.</div></li> </ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type="submit" id="gform_submit_button_16" class="gform_button button om-trigger-conversion" value="Send My Resource" tabindex="93" onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_16"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_16"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_16"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_16"]=true; jQuery("#gform_16").trigger("submit",[true]); }'> <input type='hidden' name='gform_ajax' value='form_id=16&amp;title=&amp;description=&amp;tabindex=88' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_16' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='16' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_16' value='WyJbXSIsIjFmYmJkMmM5NDAyMGYzNTJmZGM3MmU0ODNlNDM2YjBmIl0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_16' id='gform_target_page_number_16' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_16' id='gform_source_page_number_16' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='guide=countdown-to-the-holidays' /> </div> </form> </div> <iframe style='display:none;width:0px;height:0px;' src='about:blank' name='gform_ajax_frame_16' id='gform_ajax_frame_16' title='This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.'></iframe> <script type='text/javascript'>jQuery(document).ready(function($){gformInitSpinner( 16, 'https://posim.com/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.gif' );jQuery('#gform_ajax_frame_16').on('load',function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find('*').html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf('GF_AJAX_POSTBACK') >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_wrapper_16');var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_confirmation_wrapper_16').length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf('gformRedirect(){') >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery('html').css('margin-top'), 10) + parseInt(jQuery('body').css('margin-top'), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_16').html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass('gform_validation_error')){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_16').addClass('gform_validation_error');} else {jQuery('#gform_wrapper_16').removeClass('gform_validation_error');}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gform_wrapper_16').offset().top - mt); 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[gravityform id="17" title="false" description="false" ajax="true" tabindex="88"]
<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_17' ><div id='gf_17' class='gform_anchor' tabindex='-1'></div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' target='gform_ajax_frame_17' id='gform_17' action='/blog/omnichannel-inventory-avoid-these-3-obstacles/#gf_17'> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_17' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_17_6' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_6' id='input_17_6' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='https://app-3QNL6WU154.marketingautomation.services/webforms/receivePostback/MzawMDG3NDO0AAA/' /></li><li id='field_17_7' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_7' id='input_17_7' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='0994ba05-06b3-460d-b11c-4f3b11093ec9' /></li><li id='field_17_8' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_8' id='input_17_8' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='POSIM' /></li><li id='field_17_11' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_17_11' >First<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_11' id='input_17_11' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='88' placeholder='First Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_17_10' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_17_10' >Last<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_10' id='input_17_10' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='89' placeholder='Last Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_17_2' class='gfield posim-email gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_17_2' >Email<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_2' id='input_17_2' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='90' placeholder='Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_17_3' class='gfield posim-phone gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_17_3' >Phone<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_phone'><input name='input_3' id='input_17_3' type='text' value='' class='large' tabindex='91' placeholder='Phone' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_17_5' class='gfield posim-industry gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_17_5' >Your Industry<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_5' id='input_17_5' class='large gfield_select' tabindex='92' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false"><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>Your Industry</option><option value='Apparel' >Apparel</option><option value='Hobby' >Hobby</option><option value='Household' >Household</option><option value='Liquor_Wine_Beer' >Liquor, Wine &amp; 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