Omni-channel shopping has become an integral part of our lives. Gone are the days when the focus was solely on becoming omni-channel or providing omni-channel options to demanding customers. Now, the conversation has shifted to optimization. Retailers must enhance their inventory and fulfillment decisioning capabilities to thrive in this dynamic landscape. Here are five reasons why:

1. Increased Complexity

The proliferation of fulfillment channels, diverse locations, and various delivery options has made managing customer experience and margins more challenging. Retailers must strike a delicate balance between providing exceptional service and controlling costs. As logistics systems become more intricate, decision-making becomes critical. Efficiently allocating inventory across channels while minimizing costs is no small feat.

2. Rising Costs

Consumers increasingly begin their shopping journeys online. E-commerce, while convenient, comes with a price. Fulfilling online orders is the costliest channel due to factors like shipping, packaging and returns. Legacy systems, although reliable, can be expensive to maintain, upgrade and update. Retailers need to optimize their processes to reduce costs and remain competitive.

3. Tougher Competition

The bar has been raised. More players are excelling in the omni-channel game, offering seamless experiences, innovative technology, and extensive networks. Keeping up with this fast-paced competition is a daunting task. Retailers must continuously innovate, adopt new technologies, and deliver exceptional customer experiences to stay relevant.

4. Prior Investments in Omni-Channel

Retailers have already invested significantly in providing an omni-channel journey. However, not all investments were future-oriented. Many retailers find themselves executing expensive, sub-optimal customer experiences. Siloed processes, fragmented inventory visibility, and costly fulfillment practices plague their operations. Transportation costs continue to rise, putting additional pressure on profitability.

5. The Need for Decisioning Capabilities

To thrive in this challenging environment, retailers must enhance their decisioning capabilities. Here’s how:

a. Real-Time Inventory Visibility

  • Implement systems that provide real-time visibility into inventory levels across all channels.
  • Enable accurate demand forecasting to prevent stockouts or overstock situations.

b. Dynamic Order Routing

  • Optimize order routing based on factors like inventory availability, location and cost.
  • Balance customer expectations with cost-effective fulfillment strategies.

c. Intelligent Allocation

  • Use data-driven algorithms to allocate inventory efficiently.
  • Consider factors like demand patterns, seasonality, and shipping costs.

d. Unified Systems & Interoperability

  • Augment legacy systems with modern composable solutions.
  • Create a seamless flow of information across the entire supply chain.

e. Collaboration

  • Collaborate with suppliers, carriers, and partners.
  • Share data and insights to infuse artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and improve decision-making.


Enhancing inventory and fulfillment decisioning capabilities is no longer optional; it’s essential for survival. Retailers must adapt, innovate, and optimize to thrive in the ever-evolving world of omni-channel commerce. By making informed decisions, they can deliver exceptional experiences while maintaining cost efficiency.

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