Strategies for Supply Chain Resilience for the Holiday Season
Many retailers are heading into the holiday season facing low stock and a reduced workforce, increasing the need for supply chain resilience.
Investments in technology may be the fastest way for retailers to meet the needs of shoppers, particularly as stores are facing a shortage of labor as well as products.
Omnichannel POS systems like Retail Pro Prism help fill the gaps created by these problems.
Supply Chain Resilience Fills the Shelves
Once a customer is in the store, keeping them there with a breadth of products is the key to sales and repeat business.
Empty shelves are the enemy of the retailer.
Spotty selection often equates to no sales and the customer is lost, perhaps permanently, to the competition.
In addition, today’s shoppers may not be as brand loyal as they may have been previously.
Customers being ready to entertain brands they haven’t been loyal to also demands that retailers stay abreast of trends to conduct successful merchandising.
Retailers wishing to capitalize on increased desire for brick & mortar shopping would do well to heavily curate their selection.
A recent study found that 80% of retailers believe customers will prioritize stock immediacy over brands, so having a selection of similar products is more important than focusing on a top brand.
Product visibility, from the vendor through the delivery dock, helps ensure retailers have stock when they need it.
Product visibility encourages consumers to shop in-store – seeing products they desire and wish to see in-person in stock across channels – regardless of any loyalty or lack thereof to that particular retailer.
Omnichannel systems account for both online and in-store purchases and help customers as well as sales associates understand where inventory is located.
To derive the most thorough data, they should be integrated with other technologies, such as point-of-sale technology, inventory tracking, and customer relationship management systems across all in-person locations as well as online stores.
Customer data is also necessary to inform retailers’ decisions about what to buy and when to buy it. Managers use SKU-level sales and warehouse inventory insights to gear up for holidays as well as to predict the next “big thing.”
During times of supply-chain uncertainty, getting stuck with unwanted products is a luxury that retailers can’t afford. Planning can be more accurate and efficient by sharing inventory, sales and order data with vendor partners.
In addition, accurate demand forecasting cuts waste in production, leading to more sustainable consumption and production.
When demand is predicted more precisely, items can be manufactured and ordered according to customer demand.
Fill the Job Roster
Business analytics can also maximize efficiency by providing instant access to store staffing data and order volumes. That helps managers plan work shifts and also improves employee productivity.
Some retailers are automating more tasks‑‑for example, increasing self-checkout‑‑to accommodate a shrinking workforce.
Others are looking to software that can help accurately target the timing of store visits so retailers can provide the personal touch when it’s needed.
Mobility tracking data provides retailers insights about what’s attracting customers to shop in-store.
Additionally, it offers information about where shoppers may linger, avoid and pass through. That data can be used to reorganize stock, change department layouts and set staff schedules.
Anonymized tracking doesn’t compromise customer privacy, but offers managers the ability to draw more meaning from analytics, and to understand customer behavior with greater accuracy and detail.
COVID-19 taught retailers that they can’t control major disruptions that impact the global supply chain.
However, with proper planning and implementation of software tools they can increase visibility into their supply chains, which will lead to better resilience through the holiday season — and beyond. With Retail Pro Prism POS associates have visibility across stores and channels, and are able to quickly determine any weaknesses within their supply chain and possible solutions.