Omni-Channel Fulfillment Microservice

E-commerce made its mark in 2020, with digital trends accelerating two to five years due to COVID-19. Savvy retailers worked quickly to expand shopping options from the beginning of the shopping journey. They implemented buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and ship from local store, and many manufacturers moved to a direct-to-consumer model through online stores to support the needs of consumers and stay relevant as shopping patterns changed. While businesses pivoted quickly last year, they didn’t necessarily focus on improving profitability, lowering costs, or improving margins. 2020 was about delivering quick wins for customers and keeping the lights on. With the pandemic continuing to shift expectations, 2021 is the perfect time to leverage supply chain technologies that can create a huge financial upside for businesses.

Blue Yonder’s omni-channel fulfillment microservice gives businesses the ability to deliver customer-facing features such as fulfillment options and order by/get by while they are still shopping and enables businesses on the back end to conduct post- order sourcing and optimization. This microservice helps businesses provide speed and convenience options to shoppers even before they place an order. To frame why leading retailers are using this service, let’s start with today’s business requirement to provide accurate delivery dates. With many businesses able to offer in-store pick up in two hours, same day delivery as well as one- and two-day shipping, competition is fierce to provide consumers what, where and when they want it. Consumers today expect definite delivery dates and it’s no longer acceptable to offer an 8-10 business day delivery window. With expectations changing, and customers trying out new stores based on product availability, offering accurate commitments and multiple fulfillment options from the beginning of the shopping journey presents businesses with an opportunity to gain new repeat customers, minimize cart abandonment, and increase conversion rates. The microservice enables businesses to present firm order by/get dates from click to collect.

The second component of this microservice is the ability to do post- order sourcing and optimization.  Post-order optimization enables businesses to determine the most profitable and/or optimal way to fulfill orders based on customer location, inventory levels, cost of merchandise, cost of shipping, transit times, supply chain costs, and many other criteria. The solution can help determine if it makes sense to split orders or send everything to consumers in one go. Blue Yonder’s microservice empowers businesses to determine the factors to consider and weightages for each. For example, some retailers may be more focused on the fastest shipping time than shipping costs, while others may weigh shipping costs higher than the speed at which merchandise is delivered to end-customers. This microservice also considers resource capacity and costs to make sure the promise retailers make to their customers are profitable and executable. Only Blue Yonder provides both pre- and post-order optimization in a single engine with the help of machine learning (ML) to help organizations find the most profitable way to fulfill orders.

Delivering on the promise to consumers and achieving financial success doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. By partnering with Blue Yonder, leading retailers and direct to consumer manufacturers can deliver merchandise to consumers when promised without compromising on financial metrics. In the past year since the pandemic began, Blue Yonder has helped a number of retailers to optimize merchandise fulfillment. One retailer in particular used this microservice to source e-commerce orders from their own physical stores using inventory that wasn’t expected to move quickly and was predicted for markdown. This creative approach resulted in higher margins for the retailer and delighted customers who never had to leave their homes.

In 2021, profitable order optimization holds the key to financial success. While consumers today demand order by/get by dates and multiple fulfillment options from the beginning of the shopping journey, Wall Street still looks to companies to deliver profits. The acceleration of e-commerce has forced businesses to contend with rising shipping and labor costs, as well as the cost to maintain robust online stores.  Companies that are able to balance the needs of consumers while keeping an eye on the bottom line have seen huge financial windfalls.  To learn more about how Blue Yonder Commerce solutions help businesses optimally fulfill orders, visit us here