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Selecting an Omnichannel Fulfillment System

When selecting an omnichannel fulfillment system, several functional aspects must be considered a high priority.

Booking time

Expectations have changed. Customers want the certainty of being able to choose narrow time slots for delivery. Alternatively, they may choose to collect their delivery from a convenient pre-determined location, such as a store or secure drop box. Using an omnichannel fulfillment system that allows you to offer time slots for deliveries means that shoppers can be confident about when their goods are going to arrive. Offering narrow time slots is best for customer satisfaction. Having orders delivered exactly when and where the consumers choose in a cost-efficient way is the ideal.

Continuous optimization of orders

Customers place orders throughout an entire day, so you need an omnichannel fulfillment system that continually re-optimizes the transport schedules as new orders are added. Systems must take into account delivery areas, available resources and existing deliveries already confirmed, then analyze and evaluate possible delivery times for new orders within the customer’s requested time frame. By planning customer collection and home delivery service in the same system, users can maximize the efficiency of their operation and offer a consistent, reliable service to their customers.

Advanced algorithms

Omnichannel fulfillment systems must use highly developed algorithms designed specifically for optimizing last-mile, road-based transport operations. Your system should use digital mapping to calculate the most effective delivery and collection sequences with accurate journey times, allocating loads to appropriate vehicles and drivers accordingly. This ensures that the schedules are geographically feasible to meet promised arrival time windows, while improving fleet utilization and productivity through efficient routes with minimal total mileage incurred and empty running reduced.

Links to order processing

For improved customer satisfaction, look for a system that links seamlessly with omnichannel order management systems. This allows you to offer customers the ability to choose cost-effective home delivery or customer collection time slots when placing their order whether in store, via mobile, through customer services or online.

Order tracking, communication and confirmation

It is important to be able to track the order from placement to delivery, ensuring all required components are progressing in a timely manner to meet the customer promise. Proactive messaging enables automated communication to keep the customer informed throughout this process.

On the day of delivery, keeping real-time tabs on drivers to know their exact location allows automated updates to be provided to the customer. Alternatively, the customer can track their order status via an online portal.

Electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) is a key requirement in completing the entire end-to-end order fulfillment process. This ensures confirmation of successful deliveries and the required information, such as photographs, notes and signatures, to manage delivery issues in a timely manner.

Any omnichannel fulfillment system needs to be able to support the end-to-end omnichannel fulfillment process, as well as offer a modular approach. This enables businesses to select a system to either complement their current technology investments or introduce a solution to manage the entire last-mile fulfillment process.

In our experience, businesses want to offer their customers what we refer to as the Paragon Seven Cs:

  • Choice – enabling customers to choose how, where and when they receive their delivery.
  • Certainty – making sure that the customer’s choice and your promise to the customer is achievable.
  • Communication – keeping the customer informed of progress throughout the order lifecycle and managing the customer’s expectation (from order to delivery).
  • Control – putting the customer in control and enabling the customer to make changes to delivery requirements throughout the order lifecycle.
  • Convenience – the ability to provide choice, communication, control and certainty that deliver convenience to the customer throughout the lifecycle of an order.
  • Confidence – confidence that the whole process delivers the customer offer.
  • Cost – achieving all previous six Cs in a cost-efficient manner.

Focusing on the Paragon Seven Cs enables you to:

  • Offer the highest standards of customer service.
  • Maximize the utilization of your resources.
  • Reduce the amount of failed deliveries.
  • Reduce the cost of customer contact.

In short, the right omnichannel fulfillment system should help you improve service and the choice you offer your customers while reducing costs and increasing margins.

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