October 13, 2016
Authored by: BCLP, Carol Osborne and Paula Levitan
Retailers are increasingly under pressure to evaluate their business models and, in particular, the mix of their in-store, online and mobile offerings. Just as there are few pure-play e-tailers, there are very few retailers solely operating a bricks & mortar strategy because today’s customer wants to access their favorite brands in an omnichannel way: browsing online to get a sense of trends, dropping into a store to check the fit and shopping via mobile for impulse or last minute buys. But how do retailers find balance within the omnichannel world?
In our experience working with national and international retailers, getting the online and mobile experience right requires critical focus and serious investment in the three Ds: Distribution, Delivery and Data.
Successful ecommerce platforms require well located (and well managed) distribution centers capable of handling the nearly 24-hour demand profile.
Careful consideration needs to be given to whether an existing distribution center supporting stores can also support online, or whether it would be better to invest in an expanded footprint of distribution centers while reducing the number of stores. Retailers prepared to serve an international online market also need to understand the logistics landscape and either partner with a logistics expert with a solid track record of supporting international online retailers or build in-house expertise to manage not only export and customs issues (so customers can enjoy a hassle free experience) but also local law compliance relating to product labeling and hazardous materials.
Retailers shouldn’t underestimate that customers want an instant