Retailers using a multi-channel eBay order management system have achieved more than $1 billion sales, the online marketplace has announced.
The explosion in multi-channel shopping over recent years has created new fulfillment dilemmas for retailers that have both an online and bricks and mortar presence – known as omni-channel.
Ebay’s order management solution enables retailers to allocate stock not only from their online resources, but also fulfill from stores in order to meet customer demand. Leading retailers including Ace Hardware and Shoe Carnival are among those businesses already using eBay’s multi-channel platform with great success.
The growth in ship from store
While stock earmarked for ecommerce orders can be reassigned from the distribution center to stores in a relatively straightforward manner, ship from store capabilities are still in their early stages among omni-channel retailers.
One of the reasons for this slow development is the necessity for a 360-degree picture of consumer activity, in order to establish where inventory can be moved.
Only over the past 12-18 months have omni-channel retailers begun to move from treating online and offline shopping as separate strands of business, and start combining activity to gain a full picture of supply and demand across their business. This transition has been driven by organizations realizing the cost and complexity of managing these channels separately.
Complete integration means more than eBay order management
However, uniting store inventory and warehouse inventory via eBay order management software is only part of the challenge solved. Most retailers are trading via a much greater number of channels – other online marketplaces such as Amazon and Rakuten, for example, and through direct website traffic.
eBay’s solution only enables cross-channel order management via its own platform, meaning businesses could still be treating much retail activity as a separate entity.
This creates logistical challenges in terms of allocating items to, and fulfilling from, the most profitable location. For many retailers, eBay might only be a minor contributing source to overall profits, and managing orders separately could increase the risk of starving supply in more profitable channels.
Equally, a lack of holistic overview could be shielding retailers from new online opportunities, facilitated by supplying unwanted eBay stock to another, more active, ecommerce channel.
The rising challenge of returns
Omni-channel retailers not only require complete customer activity visibility for outgoing order management; it is also essential for the efficient processing and reallocation of returned stock.
Returns are a major battleground for all multiple channel retailers, even those who are leading the market. Without a holistic overview, it can be easy for goods to be sent back to a channel or location that they’re not needed, perhaps at a greater cost than allocating the item to an area of high demand.
Some retailers also prevent shoppers from returning goods in a different channel to where the original purchase was made, which can be incredibly frustrating to the consumer – and lead to customer defection.
How to optimize stock in every channel
While it is wonderful news for eBay that its order management system is helping leading retailers, it is worth these organizations bearing in mind that optimizing one channel is only solving part of the problem.
Complete network integration is the key to successful allocation and fulfillment.