As a retailer you could argue that success is ultimately defined by your ability to get desired goods into your customers’ hands in a timely fashion. But how can you satisfy your customers in the face of supply chain disruption? How can you ensure that you're managing your inventory efficiently and cost effectively?
According to a March 2022 survey from McKinsey, 74 percent of retailers ranked increasing fragility in the supply chain (raw materials, transportation, warehousing) as the top trend shaping the industry in the next 12 months to 18 months. On top of this, consumers and retailers are dealing with rising inflation and the continuing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the pandemic affected the supply chain, but it also permanently changed shopper behavior and expectations.
For example, thanks to the increased demand for various order fulfillment models during the pandemic, such as curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), accurate inventory tracking and related insights have become crucial in keeping customers happy.
So, with these ongoing supply chain issues and ever-changing customer expectations, what's the secret to success?
A robust order management system (OMS) gives retailers critical insights into their available inventory and allows them to accurately manage customer expectations and build the shopping experiences that customers demand, regardless of ongoing supply chain issues. Furthermore, when the order management solution is built with headless technology, retailers gain even more opportunities to impress shoppers.
What is Headless Order Management?
Headless order management means that the front-end (i.e., what your customers and store associates see) and the back-end (i.e., where the data lives and transactions occur) of your OMS are separate, or decoupled.
This decoupling improves agility for retailers, but also allows developers the freedom to create custom experiences. By going headless with OMS, retailers can customize what inventory and order management data is presented and how, while the back-end engine continues to run without any disruption to the data and transactions.
While agility and flexibility are always important, a headless OMS also has practical applications for retailers regarding managing inventory, order routing, fulfillment, customer satisfaction, subscriptions, and more.
The 3 Main Benefits of Headless Order Management
Besides offering retailers improved agility and flexibility, headless order management also provides three primary benefits for retailers:
- Improved visibility: Inventory can be managed at macro and micro levels across all sources within the organization, from manufacturers to fulfillment partners. This gives retailers as accurate of a picture as possible of available merchandise and where it resides within the supply chain.
- Enhanced communication: Shoppers can trust that the items they find on a retailer’s e-commerce site are available regardless of what channel they shop through. As a result, the retailer can better match supply and demand on a regional basis, mitigate supply chain issues, and relocate inventory available to certain locations based on need.
- Increased profitability: With a greater understanding of inventory, retailers can strategically merchandise products with bundles, collections and promotions based on which items are most readily available.
So, what's the real secret to supply chain success? The answer lies in having a headless OMS in place that offers accurate information and visibility throughout the supply chain to better manage customer expectations.
Meyar Sheik is the president and CCO at Kibo, the only extensible, unified commerce platform that delivers personalized, omnichannel experiences..