In June, PwC published a CFO Pulse Survey. They asked CFOs to identify their top areas of focus to make operations better in the long run.
The responses included:
the need for better resiliency and agility (72%)
technology investments (56%)
new ways to serve customers (53%)
leaner operations (50%)
As stores re-open, CFOs are naturally concerned about safety, including putting in social distancing measures to reduce exposure. Still, they are also seeking better ways to increase automation and to simplify store operations.
Due to the massive growth of in-store omnichannel operations fulfillment, it's no surprise this is a priority. Even within Oracle Retail's customer community, retailers like Perry Ellis, Nordstrom, and NEXCOM have been looking to enable curbside pick-up, outdoor collection, or ship from the store with their existing Store Inventory Management (SIM) solutions.
In April alone, there was a 208% year-on-year increase in online orders, and what's more, this behavior is going to likely continue. In mid-May, 56% of customers surveyed intended to continue to use BOPIS well after the health crisis eases.
McKinsey published a fascinating article noting that the COVID-19 crisis has "escalated the case for change for retail stores into a proverbial burning platform. We urge retailers to prepare for the new next by taking decisive action now. Forward-thinking retailers will redefine the role of their stores, streamline store operations, and re-evaluate their store networks." As retailers look to redefine their stores, they are doing so largely in the context of their customer journeys.
The one thing you must have to deliver on your customer journeys is accurate inventory. What inventory do you have? Where is it? And is it sellable? If you don't have inventory accuracy and visibility in real-time and at a granular level – especially for some verticals like Telco, for example, that require serialization - you don't have the ability to reserve and hold stock in your store locations. If you don't have an efficient order picking process and ship-from-store process, you simply cannot deliver on your customer journeys effectively and run the risk of losing loyal customers.