by Keean Persaud
Published on 8 June 2010
(Originally published by Eval-Source)
In today's economic climate companies are asked to do more with less. Companies that have an online presence and engage in cross channel retailing must have the back office systems to support the multiple avenues in which the business engages its customers. The traditional model of a bricks and mortar store are just the front end of what the customer sees.
The processes of stocking, inventory control, financials, supply and demand forecasting, transportation, supply chain execution, storage, procurement, labor management, web commerce, hosting, security all of which must integrate the front end and include either the POS and/or the web front-end provided to customers.
Customer's expectations have increased due to the efficiency provided by leading retailers such as Amazon, Macy's, Walmart, BestBuy and others that have treated customers to real-time inventory levels when ordering. Consumers expect to see what is in stock, how many, when it is available, what delivery is possible, if any are on order, what are the expected shipping costs, how long it will take to be delivered, by what means, possible price comparisons among other retailers for the same item and the final cost to you are now expected as standard customer information for customers to buy.
As retailers spend more money on appeasing customers either through better and more efficient delivery or even using social media for customer engagement have increased the costs of doing business for retailers. Whether companies spend money on RFID for inventory accuracy or increase their web presence the pressure to unite systems and unite all channels are proving more difficult and costly each passing day. Systems seem to be more complicated than ever and vendors that unite systems to support growth for retailers and make it easier for organizations to offer on-line products and services.
Vendors whether in-house or cloud vendors that bring together the complex supply chain that ties in with financials and to close the cycle of collection of cash can capitalize on the growing market opportunity to leverage a platform to unite all systems and aid in the optimization and automation of tasks. If social media is thrown into the mix the market opportunity becomes even greater to control the content generated, enhance the security of information from customers, product configurations that require multiple parts that must be sourced individually that will affect lead times are all concerns that are being handled by vendors more and more. They are combining PaaS, SaaS, DaaS, IaaS, Storage as a Service, web commerce 2.0, eCommerce payment gateways, money collection portals and payment methods are just some systems to bring together for cross platform retailing. The vendors that can bring together all the products and services to retailers can capitalize on the opportunity for cross retailing vendors. Industries that are non traditional cross sellers are moving towards this such as the 3PL industry where all of these are concerns follow a self service system to even track where your shipments are. This is definitely a cross retailing model that allows visibility for suppliers and consumers using all the tools that a cross platform retailer would need. Now the problem is to convince them to go with you rather than your competitor. Vendors let the games begin!!!