The 24x7 shopper
At the heart of this phenomenon is the personal supply chain.
The personal supply chain recognises that stores are becoming mini warehouses or micro distribution centres (DCs) to fulfil the needs of 24x7 shoppers, anywhere in the country.
According to Retail Industry Executive for Telstra, Gareth Jude, in the new omni-channel/online world, “the final logistics function has moved from the consumer to the retailer and their partners.”
“This means logistics rather than a retail store has become a customers’ last interaction with a retail brand on the path to purchase.”
“It has therefore become a vital part of building retail brand reputation,” he said.
Fulfilment as a brand strategy
Information, transparency and trust are the crucial ingredients of a value-driven, integrated supply chain.
But without visibility of customer requirements and supplier capabilities, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to achieve the level of responsiveness demanded by today’s market.
Senior Vice President, Customer Supply Chain for PepsiCo, John Phillips, said the shift in consumer expectations had put a renewed focus on the supply chain, and how it integrates with the retail experience.
“Omni-channel has placed supply chain firmly on the front line. With consumers now expecting to browse, purchase and return goods across a variety of channels, the supply chain has to reach beyond the retail store to the consumer’s home and dedicated pick-up points.”
Collaboration is key
In the world of omni-channel shopping, value is created through the collaborative actions of the network – which now includes the end-consumer.
However without the right IT network, the potential to create this value is quickly diminished as consumers who want to interact with retailers within physical stores and across a variety of digital channels need fast and reliable platforms.
The solution for many operators lies in giving customers access to mobile apps so they can find enhanced product information or incentives to purchase while browsing in-store.
Cloud empowering success
Telstra’s Cloud Services, with its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model, means that instead of investing in their own data servers, retailers can host their applications on a virtual server on shared or dedicated infrastructure in Telstra’s secure cloud.
Telstra’s secure cloud hosting supports ecommerce sites, mobile applications and stock control systems, as well as customer databases and analytics to manage personalised offers or loyalty programs.
Using Telstra’s Cloud services provides the ability to access data from any internet-connected device – which makes it easier to meet customer needs quickly, no matter where the stores or fulfilment partners are physically located. And making distance have limited implications to customer experience is the key to providing a memorable, personalised and convenient omni-channel retail experience.