Omnichannel Supply Chain Demand Picks Up For Holiday Season

Having a strong omnichannel supply chain is becoming more necessary for retailers, as consumers are increasingly demanding more purchase and shipping options. This will prove even more essential for retailers as the holidays approach.

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation showed consumers will spend more than ever before on decorations, gifts, food and other holiday items this holiday season. Additionally, about half of consumers surveyed said they will take advantage of being able to order items online and pick them up in a store.

Conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, the NRF’s “Holiday Consumer Spending Survey” stated consumers will spend an average of $805.65 this year, up from $802.45 from last year. Consumers will spend an average of $462.95 on gifts alone, the survey stated.

Nearly 47% of consumers also said they will take advantage of retailers’ buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) offerings. And, 93% will use free shipping offers. Free shipping remains a major attractor for consumers when deciding where to shop. Just under 47% of consumers said free shipping or other shipping promotions were important factors when deciding where to shop.

Missed Opportunities

While linking brick-and-mortar and e-commerce operations continues to be important for retailers, many are failing to do so, another industry report shows. HRC Advisory’s annual chief executive officer and chief financial officer study and survey found just 20% of retailers that were surveyed are investing in proper growth strategies to link physical store and online operations. It appears retailers are struggling to find the right balance of how to invest wisely across physical stores, e-commerce and fulfillment centers.

“In fact, 80 percent of the retailers surveyed are spending approximately the same total amount of capital as in prior years, using internally generated cash flow,” Antony Karabus, CEO of HRC Advisory, said in a press release. “Of the 80 percent of retailers that are spending approximately the same capital as in prior years, the vast majority of their total sales and profits are generated from brick-and-mortar stores, yet 40 percent are prioritizing e-commerce and omnichannel investments as their top capital spend.”

NRF data also showed that while BOPIS is becoming more popular, just 23% of retailers surveyed are providing the service. However, other offers are more popular. For instance, half of retailers offer free shipping, half allow customers to see in-store availability on product pages and half offer an option to view that data on mobile devices.

Omnichannel education is also becoming more popular, with about 50% of retailers posting signage in their stores to let customers know about omnichannel offerings, such as the ability to reserve items online.

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