For many brick-and-mortar retailers, meeting their order fulfillment through the internet and phone is a great opportunity to make additional sales. It’s also a challenge. And unfortunately can cause clients to never want to shop with you again if they have a bad experience. All too often, purchases aren’t accurately recorded in the retail product management system. Nor are they accounted for when restocking. This can result in the customer having trouble picking up the items they purchased. They may have to wait while your staff searched for the products. Or because the product simply wasn’t available.
And If It Is?
Maybe the staff can find enough of the product to fulfill the order. But there’s a chance they didn’t account for the order in their restocking efforts. This can cause the purchase to leave a product out of stock. And that prevents the in-store shoppers from buying it. If your orders aren’t adequately accounted for and prepared for by your in-store staff, you could be permanently losing as much as 25% of your customers.
What Causes Retailers to Have Trouble Fulfilling Orders?
There are several factors that can cause complications in retailers’ order fulfillment.
1. Not Accounting for Orders in Their Restocking System
When an order is placed, items included in the order may not be marked as sold. The item can go out of stock without your staff becoming aware of the problem before it hurts your sales. Your staff might be unable to fulfill an order because they can’t find enough of an ordered item. Or they might be forced to take the entire contents of a low-stock shelf, leaving that shelf out of stock.
It’s important to have your online/phone order system closely tied to your inventory management system. This is so your staff can make sure there are enough units on hand to both fulfill the order and keep the shelves stocked. This is especially vital now that competitors like Amazon are making competitive offers. This includes free same-day shipping, in certain markets. With your competition setting such a high bar, shoppers are becoming increasingly intolerant of service mistakes.
2. Not Having Enough Staff on Hand When the Order is to Be Picked Up or Delivered
Your associates are often busy serving in-store customers. And this can cause frustrating delays for the customer. The customer expects to just drive up to the store, pick up their order, and leave. In streamlined warehouses, staff can focus on managing, packaging and delivering inventory. But stores, on the other hand, can be chaotic. First and foremost, your customers need help. But also, items get picked up and abandoned elsewhere in the store, and spills must be cleaned up.
3. Increased Cost of Fulfillment
In the case of orders that are delivered or shipped to the client’s house, retailers must account for additional expenses, such as gas for delivery and postage for shipping. These costs get even higher when one branch doesn’t have enough inventory, and different parts of the order must be sent from different buildings. Many retailers have a high-volume of big discounts with delivery companies. But even so, the director of modal optimization strategy for Shipware LLC reportsthat shipping fees to deliver clothing can cost as much as $4 to $10 per package.
4. Delivery Speed Expectations
The CEO of Celect predictsthat within the next 10 years, the table stakes for delivery times will be a mere two hours. The statistics support this claim: when deciding whether or not to make an online purchase, 72% of consumers factor in whether or not the provider offers two-day delivery. And for 45%, one to two hourdelivery is a significant factor in their decision. As expectations and competition rise, it will become increasingly important to consistently keep the required items in stock. Plus you have to free up your staff to respond to these high-speed demands.
How to Improve Order Fulfillment and Customer Support, While Keeping Costs Down:
Our quest is to provide the best agile product management tools for retail businesses. And we’ve come up with an innovative solution: a robotic customer service and inventory management device. This robot helps you serve clients, prevent stockouts, increase your staff’s efficiency, and boost your reputation.
Here are a Few of the Things this Device Can Do to Improve Your Store’s Functioning and Your Customers’ Experience:
1. It Detects and Reports Stockouts, Misplaced Items and Price Mismatches
Your employees are often too busy to detect out-of-stock items. Especially before they cost you sales and customer loyalty. Incorrect price tags can go unnoticed for even longer, because they aren’t as obvious at a glance. Items that are stocked in a place that isn’t congruent with your planogram can be difficult for customers to find. And products that were picked up by a shopper and subsequently abandoned elsewhere in the store will be missing from their home shelves. But that will not be recorded in your inventory management system.
This robot addresses all of these problems. It is constantly scanning your store and alerting your staff to current and impending stockouts, misplaced items, inaccurate price tags, and other stocking errors. It tells them exactly which item is affected by the error. Plus where it is, so they can address the problem quickly.
2. It Helps Staff and Customers to Find Items
Often, when customers are having trouble finding an item, there are no associates nearby to help them locate it. This can result in them canceling the purchase or buying a cheaper alternative. Or they could postpone the purchase or going to another store. Even if an associate is available, many customers are more comfortable interacting with technology than with people. Some shoppers are willing to ask a robotic assistant for help. When normally they would just leave, rather than ask a human to guide them to it.
Our robot can interact with customers. It can receive voice commands and offer a selection of items that match the customer’s product description. It will then guide them to the exact product they select. The robot will also provide further information about the item en route. Not to mention, it will save time as employees no longer have to search for products. Customers have been seen posting about the robot on their phones while they followed it to the product. This boosts the store’s reputation as they shared this unique and novel experience.
Are You Ready to Increase Efficiency, Reduce Costs, and Increase Your Sales and Customer Loyalty?
You can maximize your existing staff’s efficiency by having a robot perform inventory management tasks. Plus increase your customer loyalty. It will also ensure that your shoppers can find all the items they want to buy, without increasing labor costs. Early adopters can also impress their customers by offering them a cutting-edge experience almost no one else provides.
If you want to learn more about this device and how to get it in your stores, contact us today!