In the omnichannel era, shoppers expect to always receive the products they want, at the right price and through the channel of their choosing. Having a 360-degree view of inventory levels across all channels is imperative and empowers retailers to truly walk the omnichannel walk. Currently, up to 66% of retailers agree with this sentiment, according to Retail Systems Research (RSR).
However, brands and retailers have struggled for years to capture a comprehensive view of inventory levels throughout the entire enterprise. For example, disparate inventory systems plagued shoe brand and retailer Chinese Laundry, forcing the company to cancel e-Commerce orders due to out-of-stock inventory. Potential sales were left on the table and customers were forced to go elsewhere to fulfill their footwear needs.
“We used to cancel more than 10% of our orders due to inventory issues,” noted Scott Cohn, VP of e-Commerce at Chinese Laundry. “You just can’t function that way as a business.”
“The conversion rate and revenue increases we’ve been seeing since re-launch has been tremendous,” Cohn said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We have the ability to move in a much more agile way. Celerant provides an experience our brand needs to compete with others out there. It’s about the face the customer sees and the experience that we can deliver based on that.”
In order to bring e-Commerce into the store, Chinese Laundry is piloting tablets in a select number of boutiques. Although associates have had the ability to complete online orders in stores, “we feel the customer expectation is that they want an assisted service with an iPad,” Cohn said. Although the in-store technology aligns nicely with consumer behaviors, “the challenge becomes how do we incentivize the store to sell inventory that isn’t there. We want associates to get as much credit and want them to feel incentivized to sell all products — even if it’s not in their store.”