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With all the big-name retailers now offering some version of:

•  Ship to home and return in-store
•  Order online and pickup  in-store
•  Store-based online inventory availability

If you’re not, you’re going to be left behind as consumers become increasingly less tolerant of disconnected retail channels.

Now we’re seeing companies like Restoration Hardware turning stores into product showrooms (a place where customers can explore physical products while shopping their vast online catalogs), and Staples is opening new, smaller stores, complete with in-store kiosks and tablets for expanded online catalog shopping.


What does the future of retail hold?

•  Can orders be ready for pick up in 30 minutes?
•  Do you offer designated parking spaces for people who bought online to pick up in-store? Or drive-through pickup?
•  Can customers place orders while in-store for items that are out of stock? From their smartphone? By scanning a barcode?
•  Can customers checkout via smartphone or tablet?
•  Can customers change their pickup location without having to cancel and replace an order?
•  Can they place an order from an advertisement? On a billboard? On the television? Via text message? From a social media post?
•  Can customers order from multiple retailers using a single checkout process? Or will they have to ‘check out’ at all?


Whatever the future may bring, the key to delivering a true omni-channel experience lies in a centralized, flexible, robust order management system that enables you to provide a seamless customer experience while leveraging your existing ERP and legacy systems, one that:

• Provides global inventory visibility, enabling you to leverage your stores (which are often closer to your customers than distribution centers), to provide additional inventory to fulfill online sales.

• Is customizable so it can accurately reflect your business processes, both now and in the future, without compromising your ability to upgrade the system.

• Standardizes your business processes to ensure consistent, high-quality customer interactions across all channels and devices and happy customers.

To learn more about how IBM Sterling Order Management System can help you achieve your omni-channel goals click here.