The peak season is the busiest time of year for retail. Depending on the industry, you can expect anything from 40 to 90 percent of your total yearly earnings during this period. How well you handle inventory management during this period can make or break you – I’ve seen both many times throughout my career.
However, even if you get the most out of the peak season, don’t grow complacent. Immediately afterwards you will encounter a whole new set of problems, and of a much less pleasant variety than too many orders. I am speaking, of course, about post-season returns. Customers start returning goods they don’t need or want, and processing them will be your primary concern right after your peak season. A poorly integrated order management system/process can turn this period into a nightmare. So what are the signs that your order management system is not up to the task?
- Lack of visibility. Your system doesn’t track how many items are returned and to which stores. You either have no way to check, or it’s a long and complicated process;
- Poor forecasting. Your OMS doesn’t provide you with the information necessary to identify patterns and better prepare your business for similar challenges in the future;
- Lack of real-time visibility. If your staff don’t get updates in real time, they cannot react to changing situations quickly.
The best way to deal with these issues is to introduce an order management system that can meet the following requirements and more:
- Real-time inventory visibility. Your staff will know when an item has been returned as soon as it happens, allowing you to put it back in inventory as soon as possible, thus making sure it can be resold quickly;
- All the information you need should be accessible from any point in the system; there shouldn’t be multiple disconnected systems.
- Customer experience. By using the right tools you can turn the return process into a positive experience for the customer. Through this positive experience you can convert returns into exchanges, up-sell returns and build loyalty resulting in repeat business.
By the right tools I mean the right order management system – without having to transition from your legacy system – many capable OMs like GLOVIA® OM support integration with legacy systems and can be deployed at short notice – just in time to catch the tide of post-season returns.
Stop by Fujitsu America booth #3907 at NRF 2018 to see how GLOVIA OM can help you receive and disposition returned products easily.