The next generation of omnichannel retail – including “webrooming,” showrooming, and no-line commerce concepts – requires logistics networks to be not just present but also proficient in tailoring to the needs of customers in all channels. Dynamic delivery, fulfillment, and return options necessitate seamless technological integration, data sharing, and collaboration among manufacturers, retailers, and logistics providers.
Key Developments & Implications
Traditionally, omnichannel activities have focused on using multiple discreet, separate channels for a better customer shopping experience through the integration of supply chains. This required players to coordinate points and channels of retail, inventory, distribution, and returns on a single platform. However, progress has been limited by many hurdles, such as the use of legacy systems with custom interfaces and siloed cultures, as well as poor inventory visibility.
The term “Omnichannel 2.0” has recently surfaced, emphasizing not just the mere existence of a business across all channels, but with an emphasis of cross-channel quality and proficiency, bringing entire enterprises together and personalizing customers’ shopping experiences consistently across channel. To profit from the benefits of omnichannel and provide a seamless customer experience, companies must break down channel silos within the organization and make it easier to share data and information both internally and with partners and service providers.
As COVID-19 forces businesses globally to migrate online in a bid for survival, the rate of omnichannel adoption will accelerate in the coming years, with the global omnichannel retail commerce platform market anticipated to hit $11 billion by 2023. As economies gradually reopen, businesses are expected to maintain and improve existing digital channels, as well as adopt new channels across platforms, instead of reverting to pre-pandemic models.
Cross-channel, omnichannel platforms shared between manufacturers, retailers, and logistics providers are critical enablers of omnichannel business models and ensure a seamless customer experience. As customers today make purchases in-store, on retailer websites, and through third-party online marketplaces including social media, retailers must integrate their systems with those of their partners and service providers, replacing legacy systems with cloud-based systems that provide accurate, real-time data (see Cloud & APIs).
“Anytime, anywhere” delivery models continue to be a huge focus for omnichannel businesses, driven by customer expectations and behavior. The continual rise of e-commerce has normalized two-day delivery services, with supply chains now striving for same-day or even same-hour delivery. Retailers aim to expand the number of physical touchpoints, offering customer pick-up and return services for online orders in stores or at no-contact neighborhood smart lockers similar to DHL Packstations.
This reduces the distance to customers while securing the brand experience. Furthermore, in the more distant future, omnichannel will be able to accommodate customers with last-mile delivery changes, permitting last-minute modifications to where and when they may receive their order. This added flexibility and customer accommodation, however, will require a significantly more robust and agile supply chain for fulfillment.
Questions answered in this report:
- What is omni-channel?
- What are the best practices in omni-channel?
- What are the implications of omni-channel on the logistics industry?
- What are the omni-channel trends in Asia?
Talk to an Expert
Head of Innovation Americas
DHL Americas Innovation Center
Gina Chung leads the research and innovation activities of DHL and is in charge of the DHL Americas Innovation Center: a state-of-the-art platform to engage startups and industries on the future of logistics. Since 2012, she has shaped DHL’s global innovation agenda by driving a portfolio of projects focused on the rapid testing and adoption of technologies such as collaborative robotics and artificial intelligence across DHL’s operations.
Prior to her current role, she also led the development of DHL’s trend research series including co-authoring publications such as IoT in Logistics together with Cisco and the DHL Logistics Trend Radar. Gina is based in Chicago and holds two degrees from the University of Auckland.