3 Priorities for Adopting a Customer-Centric Retail Supply Chain

We’re spoiled. With unlimited access to products and more ways to receive purchases whenever and wherever we want, shopping has never been easier – or more challenging for retailers.

Online retail sales growth has outpaced in-stores sales. ShopperTrak reported a 5% drop in in-stores sales while comScore reported a 23% increase in online shopping during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared to 2015. Most established retail brands have been attempting an omnichannel balancing act, but the fact is that e-commerce is now the sales growth engine.

Addressing the needs of an always-on consumer and maintaining relevance in today’s highly competitive market, retailers need to put the customer at the center of everything they do. That means adopting a customer-centric supply chain to support online shopping and streamline fulfillment.

Smart retail trading networks support customer-centricity

Retailers can’t deliver on customer-centric initiatives alone. They need trading partners to support their efforts. Using predictive analytics to harness supply chain network data, retailers will develop more sophisticated relationships to serve customers across channels. Smart retail trading networks combine data to monitor, analyze, and report on consumer demand, inventory availability, and supply chain performance.

Our new report, Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success, identifies three priorities to support customer-centric supply chain adoption: E-commerce–ready item management, dynamic supply chain collaboration, and customer-centric inventory orchestration.

Customer-centric retail

With smart trading networks, everyone wins. Customers can find what they want easily and get it fast. Retailers can be more responsive to customer needs, increase service excellence, and lower fulfillment costs.

3 Priorities for adopting a customer-centric supply chain

Priority 1: E-commerce–ready item management

Using manual processes like spreadsheets, email, and manual data entry results in slower time-to-market and inaccurate product information for consumers. E-commerce content management is streamlined by adding extended attributes to existing product information integration and synchronization processes.

Retailers who have integrated extended attributes into their e-commerce content management processes have seen website item setup time cut in half.

Priority 2: Dynamic supply-chain collaboration

Existing collaboration processes won’t ensure inventory availability to consumers. Retail trading partners need to support more dynamic collaboration to service customers directly, such as with drop-ship fulfillment, meeting retailers’ higher compliance and lead-time standards. To guarantee service level execution, retailers should leverage automated communication and standards compliance processes available from smart trading networks.

Retailers using automated compliance processes have dramatically increased violation identification and reduced resolution time from months to a few days.

Priority 3: Customer-centric inventory orchestration

To capture more sales, retailers need to better position inventory to match consumer demand using a greater level of sales and inventory visibility across the entire supply chain. They can gain universal inventory visibility by accessing data that’s readily available in smart trading networks.

Customer-centric inventory orchestration helps retailers locate inventory closer to consumer demand to fulfill orders quickly, manage shipping costs effectively, and reduce markdowns.

Embrace the future of customer-centric retail

The success of any retailer in today’s e-commerce–driven environment depends on their ability to orchestrate a customer-centric supply chain. Smart trading networks offer analytic and collaborative capabilities to ensure better inventory visibility and supply-chain excellence – supporting fast, reliable, and cost-effective fulfillment.

To learn how you can implement a customer-centric supply chain, download Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success.

More blog posts in this series:

  1. 3 Priorities for Adopting a Customer-Centric Retail Supply Chain
  2. 5 Tips for E-commerce–Ready Item Management
  3. 3 Steps to Retail Supply Chain Excellence Using Dynamic Collaboration
  4. Next up for retail supply chain: Inventory orchestration


OpenText is the leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM). Our EIM products enable businesses to grow faster, lower operational costs, and reduce information governance and security risks by improving business insight, impact and process speed.

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