23 Jul, 2018 By Wayne Wang

Back in the days when buying online was more a novelty than it was necessity, you might have imagined a store owner manually pulling a product off the shelf, packing and booking a courier (probably by telephone). But how times have changed!

Today, we hear all about “omnichannel order fulfilment” and it’s not just a trendy buzzword; it’s actually a real thing in this exploding world of ecommerce. This is because modern consumers’ demand to receive goods faster, when they want and how they want has simultaneously turned the field of logistics and fulfilment into a tech-driven science.

What’s omnichannel fulfilment?

Put simply, omnichannel order fulfilment comprises five main processes involved in handling bulk orders for (demanding) consumers including; warehouse organisation and inventory management, order processing, packing, shipping and returns and customer communication. Throughout each stage, technology solutions are implemented to create one cohesive fulfilment process which allows retailers to simplify, automate and speed up their online orders – from the moment a customer clicks “pay” right through to the final “your item has been delivered” email. Very unlike “back in the day!”

But, just because we know what omnichannel order fulfilment is and how it can benefit retailers, that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal and everyone is onboard – yet! A study into the future of fulfilment by Zebra which surveyed 2,700 professionals in retail and logistics found that while consumers’ omnichannel expectations are impacting respondents’ operations in fulfilment, they are aware of the need to further enhance efficiency with more investment in tech.

Not all retailers are omnichannel capable – yet…

According to the study, the majority of survey respondents agreed e-commerce is giving consumers faster delivery expectations, but only a minority think they have actually attained omnichannel fulfilment capability.

So, what are the current challenges so many retailers are experiencing? As consumers expect more free and fast deliveries, it’s no surprise this has also resulted in an increase in product returns. The Zebra survey found most retailers are struggling to manage returns processes across numerous purchasing models but nearly half expect to outsource returns management to a third party.

Taking every opportunity to work with tech

The cost of investing in and implementing tech-enabled solutions to drive efficiency around delivery and returns can be a huge challenge for many retailers – especially for the smaller half! This is why Go People offers a great third-party delivery solution for retailers seeking to benefit from omnichannel capabilities cost-effectively.

Go People’s integrated delivery solutions enable retailers to upload and manage bulk orders, access on-demand delivery runners or manage their own fleet of vehicles and even book bespoke delivery “shifts” using Go People runners – all while offering customers the benefit of state-of-the art GPS tracking technology throughout the point-to-point delivery process. The Zebra survey found many executives think emerging disruptive technologies will help organisations to build supply chains of the future with increased speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness.

Jim Hilton, Manufacturing and T&L Global Principal, Zebra said “Zebra’s Future of Fulfillment Vision Study shows that companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.”

Getting ahead of the game with the fastest deliveries

And so, why wait? Over three-quarters of logistics companies say they don’t expect to provide same-day delivery until 2022 and more than a third are hoping for a two-hour delivery window by 2032 – but Go People is already doing it! Using the Go People platform, you can choose a variety of delivery options to impress every customer from under 3 hours, to same day and next day.