Collaboration – An Omnichannel Technique
In a previous post, I suggested that sharing Point-of-Sale (POS) data with your 3PL can increase and organization’s sales and there’s no better way to talk about it than in the context of a real-life example.
THE CONSUMER’S POWER
Looking out the window at the huge snowflakes falling to the ground, I am grimly reminded that my 20-year-old snow blower has finally died. Thankfully, my Google search for a new one returned 19 pages of links and more than two dozen different retail outlets to choose from. Perhaps I’ll just stop at the hardware store on the way home, see what they have, and then look online again to see where I can get it cheaper. I’ll just pay for it online and pick it up in the closest store that has stock or maybe have it delivered. Most places offer free shipping anyway.
Technology has made the consumer more powerful than ever before.
COMPLEXITY FOR THE RETAILER AND SUPPLIER
In light of the consumer’s ability to buy what, where and when they want, retailers and their vendor communities face the increasingly daunting task of capturing the consumer dollar. Multiple channels mean more choices and information available anytime, anywhere and on any device. This accessibility has leveled price-points. Retailers must find new ways to meet consumer demand that can change with touch of a screen. This raises some very interesting and very complex supply chain questions:
- How should I price the product?
- Where do I put it?
- When do I manufacture?
Not necessarily new questions, however, they are much more difficult to answer when trying to protect margin and increase sales.
THE SOLUTION: MORE COLLABORATION
Sharing POS data with 3PL’s is a good way to keep all parties in the supply chain locked in on consumer demand and allow all parties the ability to react to changes.
Consider my snow blower example: I’m looking for product information, value pricing and convenience. The “interwebs” provided everything about snow blowers I wanted to know and then some. Now the issue boils down to price and availability. Assuming price has been solved, the seller needs to have options for the buyer like paying for the product in the store or online and having it either delivered or available for pickup at the closest location for me. This is the new consumer.
How does sharing POS data with a 3PL increase sales? Even though the consumer experience is new, some things never change and the old adage in retail still applies: The RIGHT PRODUCT in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME. Sharing demand information with a 3PL allows all parties to both plan and react, keep in sync without sacrificing too much margin, and get the sale.
How do you think sharing this data can help your supply chain?