Amazon moving into Brick and Mortar was inevitable (hopefully not a surprise). Amazon competes and beats retailers based upon three major pillars: 1) an item assortment (SKUs) that is one of the largest in the world, 2) visibility to inventory across an expansive fulfillment network and 3) operationally the ability to fulfill inventory and deliver orders within hours or days (time). Amazon executes and exceeds the customer expectation by taking order demand and the ability to source inventory from anywhere? At the center of their commerce universe is an order management system (OMS).
OMS foundationally has four pillars: 1) inventory visibility, 2) order routing (DOM), 3) store and vendor fulfillment and 4) customer call. However without an integration frame work and the ability to move commercially relevant data and the ability to integrate with disparate applications and providers…..is like an ATM not connected to a bank.
Amazon does not think in terms of channels nor should retailers. They think in terms of how to improve the customer experience and delight the customer first and foremost. Should we sunset the word “Omni-Channel”? This author believes the answer is Yes. Omni-Channel is dead and should be replaced with the following: Unify Commerce. What is Unify Commerce? Simply stated, it is the ability to capture demand from any source and form factor (physical or digital) and the ability to source inventory to meet the demand of the customer in the most optimal manner (cost and service). You may be asking is this a matter of semantics; Omni-Channel vs. Unified Commerce. No this is a mindset shift and distinction by which Retailers need to stop using the word “Channel” and think in terms of customer demand source and how demand is being fulfilled (supply source). Customers don’t use the word channel with respect to how they engage with retailers. Your customers don’t say “I bought this item via your ecommerce or brick and mortar channel.”
Think like a customer first…..and determine how to delight them.
To some it may be obvious but Amazon is taking down large retailers because of their ability to create demand (Prime) but more importantly their ability to source inventory to meet the demand utilizing and incredible network of self-fulfillment DCs and a vast vendor drop ship network. So if this is obvious then why are retailers so slow to catch on? What is impeding a retailers ability to expand their item assortment and fulfill demand?
The answer is Order Management built on an integration framework.