/ Two Top Challenges for Every Retail COO (And How to Fix Them)

This blog post is an extraction from the report Conquering Retail’s 6 Biggest Cross-Channel Challenges, available for free here.

Retailers have an unending supply of potential software solutions built to solve business problems—especially for operations and supply chain. But managing all the disparate “solutions” can become a serious problem.

Let’s take a look at two of the six problems discussed in our white paper, Conquering Retail’s 6 Biggest Cross-Channel Challenges”:

Challenge 2: Optimizing Inventory Deployment Across All Channels

How can cross-channel retailers improve their omnichannel brand perception when 52 percent of them haven’t gotten cross-channel inventory deployment right? How long should it take—years into the age of e-commerce—to properly allocate inventory where it’s selling?

This widespread inventory deployment challenge demonstrates the crippling effect of siloed crosschannel data and reporting.

Illustrating the Challenge

Consider Google’s much-maligned release of its Nexus 4 smartphone; the entire launch event was besieged by problems. No presales meant zero visibility into demand. As consumers lined up at physical stores in hopes of being among the first to receive them, the majority were turned away when the phones sold out in minutes, an especially frustrating experience given that sales began 15 minutes ahead of the company’s stated 9:00 AM release. By the time the clock struck 9:00, the company’s Google Play site (where online orders could be placed) was rendered unusable, crushed by the stress of heavy traffic. At stores, the phones were gone. After a full two days of silence as Google recovered from the meltdown, hopeful buyers were told of an indefinite weeks-long wait for backordered units.

Addressing these challenges requires the ability to aggregate disparate sets of data to anticipate—or at least understand and respond to—the root causes of potential and in-process inventory problems.

Challenge 4: Cost Effective Shipping and Fulfillment

Even when inventory is allocated effectively enough to feed each channel, 44 percent of retailers struggle with shipping and/or fulfilling that inventory efficiently. Why? With the proliferation of retail sales channels available to consumers, the potential for inefficient fulfillment is exacerbated. It’s a problem that’s compounded by the siloed pockets of channel-specific inventory that remain prevalent among retailers.

Many retailers took a big leap toward cross-channel congruency by enabling consumers to do such things as buy merchandise online and return it to stores, or buy out-of-stock merchandise in stores and have it shipped to their homes. But, without the ability to view this fulfillment execution data across sales channels, or marry it with cross-channel customer and returns data, it’s difficult to identify problems, fraudulent order and returns activity, and areas for fulfillment improvement.

Illustrating the Challenge

Best Buy experienced a massive fulfillment problem when a holiday shipping error caused the company to ship as many as five new iPads to several customers who had only ordered one. The retailer made headlines by encouraging those consumers to keep the units and give them to those in need.

Problem was, Best Buy didn’t know about the error until it was reported in the news. What would the company’s response have been had it erroneously shipped thousands of the units? And in that event, how soon would it have recognized the error and corrected it? What ended up a public relations opportunity could have easily turned into an embarrassing and expensive problem, one that real-time analysis of multi-source data could have helped the company avoid.

How Domo offers a solution.

Every challenge enumerated in this report begins with data—either not having it in one place or not having it in real-time. And while it’s true that retailers have no shortage of tools to help them collect and analyze data, what they lack is a solution to bring all those disparate sources of data into a single view.

Until now.

Domo enables you to see siloed data from across your entire retail organization—whether offline or online—in one place, in real time, on any device. Domo connects directly to your data wherever it lives, then transforms it into a personalized, cloud-based dashboard that’s easy to consume and delightful to use.

See the full report, here.