Channels – not ruts to get stuck in

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Some say it started in 1993, while others argue that it was 1984 – and there is even a suggestion that it started in 1979. Whichever is correct, internet shopping has been with us for quite a long time now.

Over that time the buying process has got slicker and slicker:  goods can be bought with just a few clicks, web sites track your buying patterns and suggest other products that you might like, advertisements for products are tailored to your browsing patterns.

But no-one has truly perfected the process – a fact that was highlighted by three of the UK major retailers who made it clear that they are still working on their home shopping  concepts when they released their results last week

Tesco revealed that it is trialing a grocery home shopping hub concept at its Mansfield Tesco Extra store, using the large store capacity to fulfill a greater proportion of grocery home shopping orders, including picking some lines directly from its store warehouse.

The retailer has seen strong growth in home shopping and its expanding its click and collect network. It is also working on the design of its delivery vans.

Debenhams is also working on its range of premium delivery options, with next day click and collect services and later cut-off times. It is also looking at reducing the cost per unit of fulfilment. And B&Q recently said its priorities include delivering a seamless and efficient omni-channel experience for customers.

In many areas of supply chain there are tried and tested ways of managing particular operations – but in the omni-channel world there is still a lot of experimentation to be carried out. Not only that, the market is continuing to change as consumers find new ways to shop and look for new delivery options.

All these  issues will be up for discussion at the Supply Chain Standard Omni-Channel Conference in September. Find out more at:

Malory Davies FCILT

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