How bad is your inventory system?
As a quick foundation for this conversation, what is your inventory system costing you per year? This question is probably less looked at than it ought to be. Why? because while there are a whole lot of options, retailers rarely if ever choose to simplify their systems. Often times it’s because the task feels labor intense and cumbersome. However, it may be easier than what you are thinking. Let’s explore a hypothetical scenario to see how much you could save in operations and boost in sales…
So your current processes look something like this. You are using an inventory system such as MI9, or Oracle Retail to run operations. It has incredible power but is outdated in that it is rigid and doesn’t adapt to modern or new systems you may want to implement. Let’s assume the current system is costing you $15–20k per year (which could be significantly higher or lower depending on inventory counts/functionality etc.). At this amount you are running both back-end warehouse operations for picking/packing/vendor management and front end operations like handling sales through POS, eCommerce sales, and other channels which you sell through. At your current level of inventory processing, it would be nearly impossible to update and integrate with easier, more modern systems as they require huge integrations and costly infrastructure to support. Herein lies the problem! When you are caught in a trap of legacy systems, outdated infrastructure, and inability to move quickly, this puts a strain on how fast you can adapt and innovate.
Commerce now is much different than even 5 years ago, as payment processing, order management, shipping and other aspects of the process have advanced to a good degree. Now, it’s time to think about commerce 2.0 where customers expect easier, faster, and better service than the last time they shopped. Customers expect everything to be integrated seamlessly between online and offline while keeping it simple and efficient to accomplish their task of purchasing the right thing at the right time.
Even with some of the best omnichannel providers out there, the problem is they aren’t automated or “smart” enough to streamline the inventory funnel with easier methods of delivery and better service for customers. There are ways to streamline this, however.
See what the onboarding process looks like- It may actually be quite an easy onboarding process to get your inventory placed within a new system. At least in Orkiv, there is a multi-product import, with the ability to map all the fields out to what they represent in the system. See here how easy it is to import your inventory. This is your first step, and probably one you thought was going to be ridiculously hard to accomplish, and it’s done in 5 minutes.
Muli-Store/Omnichannel Options?- Additionally, you may have location specific data, and omnichannel preferences like where you can ship from store, order online, pickup in store etc. This data can be synced to individual locations upon import. You can also use Proximo to add your locations for real-time, location-relevant, personalized offers. This data can easily be tied together. In this way, you will see now that you have inventory, locations, and automated marketing service, all tied together in a matter of probably half an hour.
Integration Nation- A big challenge with large-scale (or even small-scale) retail/eCommerce operations, is that they oftentimes need to customize integrations with vendor partners, back-office inventory systems, POS systems etc. This is the hardest part of the migration, but something that can be planned out and “implemented” ahead of time. In this instance, we are going to create the “connections” between the central inventory system, and the in store endpoints, as well as the back-office, starting points for the inventory. A modern eCommerce engine will have a complete API, which enables connection with any modernized platform. For Orkiv, we’ve got this covered, with an API that can communicate in any programming language (so… nearly any platform out there). If you use in-house developers they will absolutely love this! If not, consult with a firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can integrate it for you.
That’s about it, folks. Now the fun part comes, you’ll be able to extend your offerings, entice customers, and drive more sales. While I know this post seems a bit wordy/self-serving, it’s because we went ahead and made something we knew would be easy, modern, scalable, and more efficient for retailers of all types. So, the natural thing is to explain how a retailer could accomplish a move to our system, as personally, I know it is the best one out there. However, I do know it’s quite a busy market, and there are others. If you choose something else, be sure you are getting at least the level of simplicity as you will get with Orkiv.
That’s all! My hope is that you have a new sense of confidence when looking to change out your systems, knowing it will make your job and life easier while creating a more profitable company at the same time.