Omnichannel fulfilment obstacles don’t have to hold you back, according to Retail Dive’s new report covering the retail industry’s readiness to offer products in multiple channels the way shoppers want them to.

Most retail businesses know they need to provide a seamless shopping experience across all channels, whether online, in-store, or through mobile apps. Omnichannel order fulfilment must also account for buy and return anywhere… Serve the customer, wherever they are.

According to the omnichannel order fulfilment trends, retail supply chain executives have much work to do before they’re ready to profit from their offerings and stay competitive. How will you benchmark omnichannel performance in your business? 

To measure where you stand, let’s take a look at the benefits and progress your peers are making, along with what is holding them back.

The benefits of omnichannel are widely understood, but…

In the survey, Deposco and Retail Dive asked over 150 retail leaders from various industries about their omnichannel efforts. We aimed to understand their readiness for omnichannel fulfilment, their current investments, and which technologies can improve omnichannel strategies.

Nearly all respondents (87%) understand the benefits of omnichannel. These include:

  • Increased sales volumes and customer satisfaction for over ¼ of retailers
  • Extended reach: 60% of respondents say the effort has extended their customer reach
  • Better connections with customers in more places, such as in-store, text and websites
  • Easier transactions, greater customer retention, and brand growth

What they don’t understand is how to get started

The lack of time or resources to deploy technology solutions was the top barrier to omnichannel progress. However, it’s never too late to start prioritizing omnichannel fulfilment, as customers will ultimately buy where and how they want to buy:

Retailers who don’t prioritize omnichannel now will eventually experience growing pains as the evolution picks up speed. When their customers pull them toward it, they’ll have to respond. 

Top findings from the survey

What else was interesting from the omnichannel report? Here are 5 key findings:

  1. Most retailers consider omnichannel fulfilment important to their organisations. Nearly 60% of respondents consider it either “very” or “extremely” important, while only 13% say that omnichannel fulfilment isn’t important to their organisations.
  2. Retailers are still unsure about what’s possible with omnichannel. With 25% of respondents having indicated complete satisfaction with their omnichannel fulfilment, I’d say retailers may not fully understand what’s possible with omnichannel. Or they may lack the tools to visualise it.
  3. Retailers investing in omnichannel fulfilment are seeing benefits. Among the survey respondents currently investing in omnichannel fulfilment, 59% are achieving greater customer reach. Because their products are available and easy to purchase through whatever channel(s) their customers use, they naturally reach a wider group than retailers that offer products across only one or two platforms.
  4. Lack of time and resources are the top obstacles to deploying omnichannel fulfilment solutions. Over one-third (35%) of respondents named lack of time and resources as their biggest deployment challenge. Nearly one-quarter (23%) cited a lack of in-house tech expertise as a barrier to adoption.
  5. Retailers know where they need to improve. Most retailers admit that they have room for omnichannel enhancements. Respondents identified three main areas they need to improve: 37% want to personalise the online experience better, 21% want to bring a more human element to the online experience, and 29% want to improve the in-store experience with technology.

In conclusion 

While there are obstacles to deploying omnichannel solutions, retailers who invest in them are seeing benefits such as greater customer reach. Those who prioritise order management software and distributed order management (DOM) now will be well-positioned to meet the evolving demands of their customers and remain competitive in the market.

The survey results indicate that omnichannel fulfilment is a priority for many retailers, and it will continue to demand their attention in the future.