The Digitization of Retail Supply Chains

Digitization of Retail Supply Chain univers Retail Blog

Issues and forecast trends in an Omnichannel era

The consuming process has changed and is now mainly Omnichannel (physical and digital). This is why the Omnichannel transformation needs to be operated in Retail.

The objectives of an Omnichannel approach is to provide a smooth and easy shopping experience to consumers, whether they are shopping online from a desktop or a mobile device, or in a store.

This approach has huge impacts on retailer organizations because they need to unify harmoniously the physical and digital dimensions and this implies more and more integration between sales, marketing, channels, supply chain, and all other back-office services.

To be able to answer consumer needs with reactivity, sales forecasts must be taken into account in retailers’ strategy.

Univers Retail has built a forecast maturity grid based on what they experienced with their B2B and B2C retailers. The results were that retail B2B and Cosmetics are the Best In Class among Retail sector because they take into account that forecast is a core capability where they invest in by developing the skills among their organizations (in empowering and recruiting people) and implementing process and tools. This can be explained by the fact that Retail B2B and Cosmetics are closer to industrial logic. In less mature Retail organizations as Pure Players, we observe that the replenishment team is also responsible for the tactical forecasts just to manage stocks and logistics capacity.

As consumers’ expectations have increased and the way to consume is fully related to Omnichannel, retailers have no choice to go up their value chain and deploy a predictive Supply Chain in order to anticipate in medium and long term, in collaboration with all the departments of the company to deal with flows complexity and also with suppliers to manage product availability.

And this can be done by implementing a sales forecasting strategy that will guarantee the transversality among the entire organization and the ecosystem. Sales forecasting is mandatory to be “Omni-Supply”.

Omni-Supply is the ability of a brand to rethink its End-to-End Supply Chain in an omnichannel approach, to optimize product availability regardless of the purchasing channel used by the consumer and to guarantee the customer’s promise. The future of Retail will be Omni-Supply to improve customer promise and the ability of retailers to guarantee it.

Implementing an S&OP process is the answer to that need but retailers must anticipate on mid and long term and not only on the short-term planning and decision-making process. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence considerably increase forecast accuracy and thus improve and address the Omnichannel challenges.

About Univers Retail

Univers Retail is an independent management and operational strategy consultancy specializing in the BtoB and BtoC distribution sector.

We support our customers to face the new challenges of omnichannel. Continuous optimization of customer knowledge, the transition from personalization to hyper-personalization, the improvement of the customer experience, while taking into account the Phygital mechanics, are now essential to simplify the purchasing process and thus better target and sustainably engage consumers.

In this context, our consultants are involved in topics around CRM, e-Commerce, PIM, Digital-in-Store, digital marketing and also Omni-Supply.