The adoption of the internet has influenced our lives in many ways, not least in how we shop. The development of e-Commerce as a multi-billion pound industry is a clear indication of the move towards multi-channel retailing, where organisations strive to create a seamless customer shopping experience regardless of whether buying in the physical store, online shopping or other purchasing channels.
Despite the opportunity that online shopping presents to retailers, it does create new business challenges in terms of supply chain complexity, with multiple instances and higher volumes of stock being delivered to different places. With the need to locate and subsequently deliver orders to the customer within an acceptable lead time, the pressure placed on the supply chain to be responsive and flexible to changing customer demands is greater than ever.
The scope of the supply chain is becoming wider; with
additional warehousing, extended delivery and returns functions. Supply chains operated on legacy ERP systems are inhibited by inefficient technology that cannot adapt to fluctuations in demand will restrict businesses from creating an efficient online sales channel. Unless businesses are willing to invest in modern ERP to create a resilient supply chain that can operate with the growing demand for online shopping, they face a real danger of being left behind by those who have fully embraced a multi-channel retail approach.
Businesses can gain new found clarity over their full operational landscape, including the supply chain by utilising modern ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) software such as Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail. By connecting disparate systems and collating information from across the business, Dynamics AX creates a clear picture of stock availability and supply chain operation, allowing for businesses to operate with insight to make more informed decisions, becoming more efficient to satisfy online shopping demand.
By empowering the online sales function with Dynamics AX and operating a flexible supply chain, retailers can maximise the capacity that e-Commerce technologies can offer to become a truly multi-channel retailer.