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Oracle Retail Blog helps retailers stay current on customer successes, hot retail trends and industry best practices.

What Does a Modern Inventory Model Look Like?

Carla Anderson
Senior Director, Merchandising Strategy

Today, the customer is unquestionably in the driver’s seat. Consumers now have unprecedented access to all the world’s information, including insight into every item they could ever want. There is so much knowledge about products and their cost, including up-to-the-minute competitive pricing,  found from a phone, that feeds into the instant gratification mindset.

Today’s consumers have steep demands: they want what they want, when and how they want it, and retailers must oblige. To keep up, retailers must have that goldilocks item to entice customers—that is, the right inventory. Having the right solutions in place to manage inventory makes all the difference.

A Solutions Toolkit For Retailer Success:

  • Order Capturing: Ensure each sale is captured accurately and processed efficiently for optimal customer experience and streamlined Oracle Retail Merchandisingfulfillment.
  • Inventory Management: To support new models, retailers need in-store and warehouse solutions to provide efficient pick, pack and ship functions as well as providing real-time inventory transactions to centralized Merchandising and Customer Order systems.
  • Inventory Forecasting: Better anticipate customer demand by putting your data to work. Maximize the value of your data with retail sciences that draw from machine learning, artificial intelligence and decision science disciplines.
  • Inventory Planning: In an industry where decisions are based on trend data and consumer preferences, a retailer’s supply chain cannot have any weak links. Leverage forecasted demand across all commerce channels to guide a constrained, time-phased inventory ordering, allocation, replenishment and delivery plan to all levels of the distribution network down to a by item, by location view.
  • Order Management: True omnichannel transparency is possible. By integrating all aspects of the transaction lifecycle across all channels and points of service, retailers can manage all aspects of direct commerce transactions including order management, fulfillment and customer service. This opens up a wealth of opportunities to increase revenue, enhance customer loyalty, streamline operations, reduce markdowns and cut costs.
  • Order BrokerIncorporate a retailer’s unique fulfillment rules—distance, inventory levels, profitability, type of product—to immediately identify the best fulfillment location. 
  • Superior Merchandise Operational Execution: Have a centralized system to consolidate all fulfillment execution, so all inventory transaction data flows into one system of record and accurately captures the corresponding financial records.
  • Retail Analytics: Work smarter by better understanding your retail business. Make informed decisions and execute with the confidence that you are positively impacting the top and bottom lines.
  • Solid Foundation: When all these elements share a common cloud platform, retailers gain efficiencies from real-time visibility into inventory and customer activity throughout the transaction lifecycle and access to information across all points of service including retail locations, the web, catalogs, the contact center, kiosks and mobile devices.

When implementing modern inventory models, successful retailers will keep these things in mind:

  1. Lay the foundation now. Even if new retail business models like subscriptions and delivery are still a ways away for your retail business, establish a foundation. Form a plan to move inventory management from best to next practices before diving headfirst into a new model.
     
  2. Accuracy is key. For any new model to work, retailers need a clear picture of what’s in stock and where—that calls for a solid system of record at the core of your tech stack.
     
  3. Understand your customer. Take note of their habits and wants and utilize the models—subscriptions, delivery, Retail-as-a-Service or others— that fit them best. Knowing if your shoppers are abroad or packed in city centers will help shape plans for quick-turn and subscription delivery and service offerings. 

 

Download this inventory strategies guide and get tips to keep up with changing consumer expectations.

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