Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 42 seconds

thumb omnichannelWe've heard about and talked about the challenges that surround omnichannel markets. Many companies are struggling with understanding the concepts, and that's understandable because it affects nearly every company whether retailer, supplier, or manufacturer, and it creates potential competitors at multiple levels of the supply chain.

The influx of technology that puts real time information at consumers' fingertips means that there are few secrets and more than enough opinions about what consumers want to buy. It's trivial for a consumer to:

  • - Find detailed product descriptions
  • - Compare similar products at high levels of detail
  • - Compare prices on products
  • - Locate multiple sources of any product
  • - Find reviews of products created by other consumers
  • - Ask questions about products and receive answers in real time
  • - Post complaints and compliments in highly public spaces
  • - Order from any of multiple suppliers/retailers
  • - Request delivery to any of multiple destinations
And all these activities can be performed at whatever location the consumer prefers - even while standing in the shopping aisle where they are potentially ready to make a purchase and walk out of the store with the product in hand.... or order the product from a competitor while looking at and touching the product on the shelf as well as online.

The challenges for the supply chain are to integrate all these consumer lead activities into an integrated system that provides advantages to the organization selling the product. The selling may be done by a retailer with a pass-through arrangement with its supplier who does the actual fulfillment, directly with the manufacturer, or any permutation of those and multiple other possibilities. 

To say that the options lead to complex relationships is an understatement. And the giant retailers that do not find the right tools and practices to meet the desires of the consumer will become the "5 and Dime" stores of this century. What are the most important lessons and tools you are pursuing to make sure your company survives the expansion of the omnichannel? Last modified on Thursday, 21 November 2013
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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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