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RECAP - Composable Inventory Management Blog
Devadas Pattathil

Webinar Recap: Composable Future of Omnichannel Inventory Management

We recently brought together a powerhouse panel at our Composable Future of Omnichannel Inventory Management webinar on May 16. Jordan Speer, Research Director at IDC Retail Insights, Scott Ross, EVP and CIO of O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Justin Swagler, AWS Worldwide Head of Physical Retail, explored the evolution and future landscape of omnichannel inventory management during the session. For those who missed it, the webinar recording is available here. In this recap, we'll break down key takeaways with actionable insights to help transform your inventory management strategy. 

We've transitioned from disjointed inventory systems for physical stores and e-commerce to a cohesive multi-channel experience, utilizing a unified inventory pool across various platforms. Remember when Best Buy’s buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) was a novel idea? Today, BOPIS is standard practice—over 40% of BBY online sales are BOPIS orders, showing just how much consumer expectations have shifted.

Retailers continually innovate to engage consumers, employing methods like live stream shopping. The number of selling channels has exploded too—some retailers host marketplaces for other brands, others sell on multiple marketplaces, and some do both!

Managing inventory availability across diverse channels presents a formidable challenge. To address this, we've developed a purpose-built inventory solution designed for ultimate composability, detailed in our accompanying whitepaper

Winning Customers and Skyrocketing Sales with an Inventory Edge 

Today, consumers expect a seamless, comprehensive shopping experience across all channels—a fact reinforced by the Consumer Sentiment Survey conducted by IDC Retail Insights.

Over 40% of consumers are inclined to switch brands if certain criteria aren't met:

  1. Pre-purchase Information: Customers seek visibility into pickup and delivery options, estimated delivery dates (EDD), and costs before making a purchase.
  2. Real-Time Inventory: Expectations include real-time inventory visibility, reservation capabilities, and convenient options like curbside pickup and ROPIS (Reserve Online, Pick Up In-Store).
  3. Seamless Experience: Shoppers desire a seamless transition between online and in-store shopping with the same retailer.
  4. Flexible Returns: The ability to return online purchases in-store is considered essential.
  5. Speedy Delivery: Nearly half of consumers prioritize retailers offering same-day delivery (SDD).
To cater to these evolving demands, maintaining real-time inventory is paramount. 

The Real-Time Inventory Dilemma: Why 45% of Retailers Are Struggling

Despite the retail industry's rapid advancements, a staggering 45% of retailers still grapple with maintaining a real-time view of their inventory across the network. Many retailers are stuck with old-school batch-based systems that just can't keep up. These systems fail to provide timely inventory updates. Modern retail is a beast with multiple selling channels and fulfillment nodes. This complexity makes real-time inventory management a tough nut to crack. 

Justin emphasized that many retailers are seeking modern solutions to replace or enhance their outdated monolithic systems. Jordan affirmed that inventory management solutions are highly sought after in the realm of retail tech modernization. The transition to modern systems is a marathon, not a sprint, and entails dismantling monolithic structures and adopting modular, composable services. This process involves aligning data management and business processes with technological upgrades and migrating incrementally to minimize disruptions. Although this journey demands careful planning and executive support, a composable microservices approach can reduce time-to-value, enabling retailers to choose the best-of-breed solutions and minimize disruptions. 

Unlocking the Power of Modern Inventory Management 

A modern inventory service starts with knowing exactly what you're solving for. Inventory management isn't one-size-fits-all—it varies across different verticals:

  • Grocers (e.g., BJ’s Wholesale, Kroger, Albertsons, HEB): Need real-time shelf inventory to handle store fulfillment and deal with perishable goods.
  • Fashion Retailers (e.g., Gap, H&M, Nordstrom): Focus on managing inventory turns and seasonality to minimize markdowns and keep the latest trends in stock.
  • Store-Based Fulfillment Retailers (e.g., Best Buy, Lowe’s, Dicks Sporting Goods): Prioritize in-store findability and rapid fulfillment to keep customers happy and coming back. 

Our comprehensive approach, backed by industry and domain experts, supports clients across the omni-fulfillment maturity curve. We provide a range of services, including assessments, scenario simulations, roadmap development, and technology evaluation, all tailored to meet each client's unique needs

Once your business case is clear, why should users switch to modern inventory services? The answer is simple: They’ve just got to be better. Nextuple's commitment to putting clients first, combined with our unparalleled expertise, makes the transition seamless. Our composable microservice based inventory service is a smart way to think about new inventory tech. Here’s a general recommended roadmap:

  1. Inventory Single Source of Truth (SSOT): Establish a centralized supply and demand service for accurate inventory data.
  2. Available to Promise (ATP): Implement an availability microservice to calculate ATP based on supply, demand, rules, segmentation, and safety stock.
  3. Audit Services: Invest in comprehensive audit services to identify and resolve discrepancies.
  4. Inventory Control Tower: Develop an inventory control tower to detect exceptions like overstock and out-of-stock probabilities and take corrective actions.
  5. AI/ML Integration: Enhance these services with AI/ML for real-time decision-making and customer support.

Discover how our solutions revolutionize inventory management for retailers and grocers alike!

The future of retail hinges on leveraging advanced technology to craft a unified, responsive inventory management system that surpasses consumer expectations. Join forces with Nextuple to shape this bright future together! 💪

Ready to embark on your inventory adventure? Claim your free value workshop here

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Devadas Pattathil

Devadas Pattathil Bio: Online Grocery and ecommerce expert helps retailers improve online operations with Nextuple's customizable microservices & strategy