Deliver great customer experiences with omnichannel fulfillment

A picture containing text, pinwheel, vector graphics Description automatically generated Over the past decade, retailers have experienced rapid shifts in consumer shopping behavior. To drive growth, retailers have had to invest in quickly improving both their physical and ecommerce experiences. Customers expect easy access to everything a retailer offers while also enjoying fast pickup and delivery and without being charged extra fees. While these shopping trends started in retail, we’re seeing these behaviors quickly extend into traditional B2B domains like manufacturing and consumer package goods (CPG) where wholesalers and distributors often need to get products to their customers quickly and cost effectively.

Adapting to these new models of commerce and fulfillment requires an omnichannel approach so that businesses can meet demand regardless of how and where consumers shop. Omnichannel fulfillment is critical for retailers as they look to leverage their local store footprint to lower their fulfillment costs and manage supply chain challenges while also unlocking experiences like store pickup, last-mile delivery, and returns. At Walmart, we’ve been through this journey and have invested in technologies and capabilities that have helped us drive omnichannel commerce and fulfillment.

3 ways to unlock omnichannel commerce and fulfillment

Offering omnichannel fulfillment to power experiences like store pickup can appear deceptively simple to setup and execute. The challenge here lies in scaling this experience across multiple locations, store associates, and shifts so that each associate can fulfill every order accurately and effectively while providing a great customer experience every single time.

1. Store operations

Retail associates are key to delivering great pickup and delivery experiences, and they serve as the most important customer touchpoint. Retailers must define clear roles and standard operating procedures around omnichannel fulfillment. As experiences like pickup and delivery scale, it’s important for retailers to reinforce omnichannel fulfillment procedures with training across multiple shifts so that store associates are clear on roles and expectations. Additionally, retailers may need to rethink store layouts so that pickup and delivery orders are staged in a particular area and customers and couriers understand exactly where they need to go and what they need to do when they arrive to pick up an order.

2. Technology

Supply chain challenges are placing a lot of pressure on businesses, and they must drive inventory leverage regardless of whether that inventory sits at an eCommerce fulfillment center or at a local store. Platforms must bring together and surface this inventory to help drive sales while also ensuring that associates can fulfil the correct items and not disappoint the customer due to item unavailability or a wrong pick. Developing mobile optimized experiences and integrated workflows are critical to ensuring that orders are fulfilled quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively while providing a consistently great customer experience.

3. Integrated experiences

Increasingly, third-party fulfillment platforms provide retailers with the option to outsource their store pickup, curbside pickup, and delivery experiences. Providing a seamless and integrated omnichannel fulfillment allows retailers to own the end-to-end fulfillment experience, which is critical to understanding cross-channel customer behavior and building loyalty.

However, providing seamless and integrated experiences that work across ecommerce storefronts, retail technology platforms, mobile devices, and communication channels isn’t easy. Retailers must build capabilities that provide integrated experiences for both customers and store associates. Customers need to understand exactly what’s going on with the order and when their order is ready for pickup. Associates need clarity around fulfillment queues, customer arrival, and order status. Management needs visibility to fulfilment rates and customer wait times. Developing an integrated experience allows for an omnichannel fulfillment that is seamless for both customers and associates and can scale by improving the accuracy and efficiency of fulfillment.

Over the past 15 years, Walmart has developed an integrated set of technologies that have allowed us to power world class store pickup, curbside, and delivery experiences for our customers and associates. These technologies have helped Walmart expand pickup and delivery across thousands of stores worldwide while driving digital adoption, reducing wait times, and improving Net Promoter Score. Walmart Commerce Technologies now offers retailers these same innovative and scalable solutions that power the world’s largest retailer. From cloud-powered checkout solutions to turn-key fulfillment capabilities customized for your business, Walmart Commerce Technologies helps retailers transform how they operate and serve their customers both online and in-store.

Walmart Commerce Technologies has partnered with Adobe Commerce to bring Store Fulfillment capabilities to market so that retailers, CPG manufacturers who sell direct to consumer, and distributors can turn their locations into micro-fulfillment centers while also driving fast and seamless pickup for customers and associates. Our Store Fulfillment extension is deeply integrated within Adobe Commerce and will be available in Q2 2022 for all businesses to use.