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A top initiative among retail supply chain executives is “to enable a seamless customer experience online and in the store,” according to Boston-based Boston Retail Partners’ 2014 Supply Chain Benchmark Survey.
Boston Retail Partners (BRP) defines this “unified commerce” initiative as the evolution of both multi-channel and omni-channel retailing to provide a seamless shopping experience whether in the store, on the Web, or anywhere customers choose to shop on their mobile devices.
The 2014 survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current capabilities, planned initiatives, priorities and future trends as identified by each respondent’s top supply chain professionals.
“We noted an impressive change in priorities over the past year, as retailers shift their focus toward enabling the seamless experience today’s customers want,” said Walter Deacon, a principal of Boston Retail Partners. “However, transforming the supply chain to meet the needs of a buy anywhere/anytime customer requires significant resources and investments. Retailers able to deliver real-time retail as part of a compelling value proposition will certainly reap the rewards.”
Unified Commerce Supply Chain
Key findings that demonstrate the achievements and/or priorities of retailers in delivering a unified commerce supply chain include:
- Focused on unified commerce: 93 percent are adopting a unified commerce model, with 54 percent in the planning stages and 39 percent currently implementing solutions;
- Cross-channel inventory fulfillment: 75 percent of retailers can fulfill inventory across multiple channels; and
- Corporate initiative: 63 percent identified “enable seamless customer experience online and in the store” as a top initiative.
While unified commerce is a top priority, there is still a significant amount of work to be done to achieve it, the survey found. Specific challenges include:
- Organizations still have silos
- Some companies continue to manage their supply chain with spreadsheets
- There is limited cross-channel inventory visibility
To download the complete 2014 Supply Chain Benchmark Survey, visit Boston Retail Partners online.