Satisfying the Next Generation Shopper

With the growth of online shopping, why are retailers looking towards strategies that aren’t channel specific and instead focus on cross-channel customer consistency?

Ecommerce growth has greatly accelerated due to significant developments and greater accessibility to mobile technologies. As a result, retailers now have a new generation of shoppers who are more demanding, constantly connected and expecting speed and ease-of-use through all available shopping channels i.e. mobile internet devices, desktops, bricks-and-mortar, television and/or catalogue.

The growth of online shopping has caused many retailers to drastically rethink the way they manage their supply chains in order to provide customers with an optimum and seamless experience across all channels. Craig Beddis, CMO, Automic, discusses why retailers are looking towards strategies that aren’t channel specific and instead focus on cross-channel customer consistency, and how, by streamlining the supply chain, businesses can better succeed in this competitive industry by increasing customer satisfaction.

Adapting to demand

This new generation of constantly connected consumers has elevated service delivery expectations, thus creating many hurdles for retailers to overcome in order to maintain a competitive edge and succeed when it comes to customer satisfaction. In fact, research from Oracle found that brands can lose up to 20% of revenue due to poor customer experiences. The good news is that an impressive 93% of executives say that improving the customer experience is one of their organisation’s top three priorities in the next two years.

Moreover, fulfilment, especially during the delivery process, is crucial to customer retention. New research from IMRG found that 74% of customers are encouraged to shop again with a specific online retailer if the delivery experience was positive. Smooth delivery options are front of mind for retailers but to really revolutionise this particular process, changes to the supply chain must be made.

Fundamental to achieving a streamlined supply chain is ensuring retailers collect the right sales data from point-of-sale and process it quickly and correctly through their core systems to ensure customer expectations are met, and the right products are delivered and made available to the right places across available shopping channels. However, the transition from one system in the supply chain to the other creates multiple potential points of failure. Processes can experience frequent delays and errors that will impact the customer, potentially resulting in lost sales or customers.

What can be done?

Streamlining the supply chain can help by removing unnecessary steps from the process that can cause delays and errors. Retailers can achieve a competitive advantage by utilizing one process, from point-of-sale data to replenishment, allowing all retail processes to flow smoothly. This directly impacts the customer who will benefit from improved experiences, quicker turnaround times and increased product availability.

An example of this is Morrisons, one of the UK’s largest supermarkets who recently announced it is automating its processes to make them more coherent and consistent across its supply chain. Morrisons is a unique supermarket, in that it manufactures, sorts, grades and packs its own produce. In-store sales data is used for replenishment and manufacturing processes, making IT a crucial requirement, with multiple systems responsible for keeping distinct parts of the supply chain connected. By automating the supply chain, disparate systems can be connected to ensure the business runs smoothly, and the IT department has visibility of the status of the supply chain.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

The supply chain is the lifeblood that keeps a retailer ticking and customers satisfied. Retailers and brands are now realizing they will need to reformulate their supply chain strategies to adjust to increased consumer demand and expectations. Those who do not manage their supply chains and processes effectively will find that, in time, the systems running them become part of the problem and increase the risk of losing customers.

Hyper competitiveness and accelerating customer expectations will continue to drive retailers and the IT behind them in order to improve the running of the business and become more agile. In this changing digital world, agility and flexibility are key.


Craig Beddis is CMO at Automic