Wearables provide the missing piece in omnichannel success
Today, inconsistent inventory visibility across enterprise divisions is a major barrier to omnichannel success. Workforce wearables can change that.
45% of consumers expect sales associates to be experts on products offered both in-store and online
44% of consumers expect sales associates to be able to check additional store inventory when the shelf is empty
Today, 72% of retailers are working toward enterprise-wide inventory visibility
But only 17% of distribution-center inventory is viewable to executives manning sales channels.
In a recent warehouse study, wearables increased efficiency by 25% by enabling hands-free work and digital context.
Much has been written in the last few years about the importance of offering consumers an omnichannel experience, meaning a seamlessly integrated shopping experience across web, mobile and brick-and-mortar channels. Yet, as even retailers leading in this area acknowledge, solutions are far from settled. The logistical issues in delivering omnichannel success are many, and customer expectations are only accelerating.
One such fundamental expectation is the ability to buy at the most convenient time, place and price. Nearly half (45%) of consumers in one study expected sales associates to be experts on both in-store and online offerings, and about half (44%) expected sales associates to be able to locate an item by searching in another location. Retailers realize what’s at stake, which is why 72% in one survey said they are working toward enterprise-wide inventory visibility that will give sales associates much-needed flexibility in fulfilling customer requests. But they still haven’t found the solution: only 17% of distribution-center inventory is visible to executives manning sales channels.
Succeeding at omnichannel execution requires a strategy that brings together inventory centers and sales executives in a shared data system. Wearables can provide the key connective links in this new enterprise vision. Already, wearables such as the Samsung Gear S equipped with CRM systems provide sales executives with a convenient means of accessing inventory data. The next step is integrating such systems into the warehouse. It may seem like a tall order, but the evidence is there that wearables improve data-driven operations for employees who must work with their hands. In a recent Dutch warehouse trial, wearables increased the efficiency of identifying and picking orders by a full 25%. By equipping staff on the back-end with a means of entering data that fits the pace of the warehouse floor, retailers can set up a system that overcomes a major hurdle to omnichannel success.