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Top 20 Omni Channel Best Practices

By . 23 May 2014 . in Uncategorized
  1. Align everyone in the organization – financially, expectations wise, structurally. Agree (from top to bottom) on what you want to do. Omni-channel is not a Supply chain or Store or Ecommerce project, it’s an enterprise level transformation – without a completely alignment it cannot take off the ground.
  2. Start small and demonstrate quick wins. It’s a multi-year journey. Be Patient. Anticipate changes to the plan. Connect the dots and plan out a roadmap. Example, leading sports apparel retailer completed smaller business transformation before core businesses, men’s apparel retailer enabled reserve online pickup in store for select stores before all stores, and fashion retailer started with select ship from store capability.
  3. Technology needs to be near real time in Omni-channel world – real time inventory, real-time demand, real time sales info etc.
  4. Start with foundational business blocks, do not try to rush to the end of omni channel. Define Channel Priorities, allocate Capital, on-board resources with net new skill-sets (often overlooked), and understand timeframes. Example of fundamental supply chain capabilities – Seamless movement of inventory across channels.
  5. It’s the order and not the source. Work on order alignment especially for stores for whom an order should be on order regardless of where it originated and how it will be fulfilled.
  6. The transformation has to be championed by a senior executive who can sit above the departmental and channel boundaries. Only senior exec at that level can champion the capital, time, resources, devotion, across organization for successful execution of Omni-channel transformation.
  7. Resolve inter-channel conflicts and gain alignment top to bottom and across functions. Work out adoption challenges – who gets the credit for sale? “Incentivize Positive behavior”.
  8. Adopt a “release strategy” for body of work and for each release define a “minimum viable product”.
  9. More planning ahead of execution – be honest about amount of work ahead of yourself. After body of work is established follow tight change management. Engage exec sponsors to manage conflicts such as scope creep.
  10. Spend time with cross functional teams to understand role of new omni-channel systems vis-à-vis ERP and other legacy systems.
  11. Develop guiding principles such as design philosophy, integration standards for each solution with team, business SMEs, and other solution partners
  12. Plan for “Proof of concept” with real test data used to prove viability.
  13. Omni-channel starts with data consistency across channels – same product should not have different names in the same organization.
  14. Adoption and realization is key after delivery. Business Sponsor Adoption and transition to core business unit
  15. Omni-channel is very new and the concepts and systems may not be intuitive to the business. Allow flexibility for business experimentation, and tweaking of business rules
  16. Work on store inventory accuracy. Assume that inventory will be inaccurate and build that fact into your user experience. Address low hanging fruits to improve inventory accuracy
  17. Buy online pickup in Store can be complex for some organizations implement, consider Reserve Online pickup in store instead as the starting cross channel fulfillment capability.
  18. No pilot is long enough – rubber meets the road during pilot, process issues are much easily managed in a controlled environment.
  19. There is no single way to do omni-channel, customize the transformation to suit your business. Leading youth apparel retailer decided that not all departments, items, and product classes need to be fulfilled by store.
  20. Test, test, and test…longer User and Performance test windows help minimize system bugs/glitches later, which means lower risk/impact to operations.

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