Never say never. For all those who thought e-commerce would crush brick-and-mortar stores, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, shoppers are spending more money online and in stores, and consumers are enjoying the speed and convenience of online shopping. Contrary to the predictions of many retail pundits, brick-and-mortar stores have not gone away. In March 2022, e-commerce growth was 27% year-over-year, while in-store spending grew 8% year-over-year. Delivering seamless customer-centric experiences across channels is now table-stakes.

So how can retailers succeed in 2022? They not only need to deliver excellent experiences across channels, but they also need to navigate macro-economic issues such as rising labor and transportation costs that decrease margins, as well as rising inflation, which is forcing consumers to think long and hard about what and how much they buy.

Retailers can drive success by managing their supply chain and having the right technologies to help them understand where they can drive operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and deliver more insights to customers while delivering great experiences. Let’s start with order management systems (OMS). Most large retailers utilize OMS capabilities to better manage customer orders from click-to-collect. In our omni-channel world, retailers need to provide seamless experiences to meet expectations, as we mentioned earlier. This means giving consumers more information as they begin their shopping journey. For example, if a shopper is searching for a product, knowing what products are available, where they are available, and when they can be delivered or picked up can make all the difference when it comes to clicking “buy” versus searching another retailer.

If you’re throwing a BBQ, you want your outdoor space ready to go well before your guests arrive. Hardline retailers are being challenged now more than ever before. Larger items cannot be shipped internationally by plane to quickly meet consumer demand. This makes it more difficult for retailers to have the right inventory at the right place to meet customer demand. With home improvement retailers offering similar products, consumer experience becomes a differentiator.

Beyond the lack of products this summer disappointing customers, retailers are under margin pressure due to higher transportation and labor costs. The right technologies can’t eliminate all the hardships, but they can give retailers more control. With order optimization, retailers can quickly determine the best location to ship products from by considering several criteria, including inventory, labor costs, transportation costs, etc.  With supply chain issues continuing, retailers need to be able to operate effectively in our “new normal” – shipping delays, product shortages, high consumer demand, high labor and transportation costs, and now inflation. Blue Yonder’s Luminate Commerce order management (OMS) microservices help top retailers deliver the right product, at the right time, through the customer’s channel of choice.