Getting Stores and Distribution Centers on the Same Omnichannel Track

operations-summit-2014-300-65As more retailers are going omnichannel to address the “anywhere, anytime, anyhow” expectations of mobile and digital-savvy consumers, there are a lot of moving pieces to address to achieve success.

What needs to happen from a platform and process standpoint – on the store and the distribution center side – to make omnichannel a reality?

Kevin Gardiner
Kevin Gardiner

Kevin Gardiner, Director of Store Operations and Strategy at Macy’s, says the advantage of distribution centers is that they are built for storing, packing, and shipping merchandise. But the advantage of stores is that they exist in closer proximity to many customers.

[RELATED CONTENT: Managing Inventory in an Omnichannel World]

But how do you get store operations and distribution center operations on the same page?

“Your customers do not care where the merchandise is shipped from, as long as the merchandise arrives on time, in good condition and accurately,” says Gardiner, who will speak about omnichannel fulfillment trends at Operations Summit 2015 April 14-16 in Louisville, KY. “The picking processes in a store will often be less automated and less natural than they are in a distribution center, but you must hold distribution centers and stores to the same packing standards and timing standards.”

Walter Wallace
Walter Wallace

Walter Wallace, Senior Manager of Ecommerce and 3PL at Tory Burch, says omnichannel alignment for distribution center and store operations can be furthered when there is an overarching set of priorities, deliverables and goals. They are less about channel specifics or functional silos and all about giving the customer a great experience.

Wallace, who is also speaking at at Operations Summit 2015, says both stores and distribution centers can benefit greatly from taking a shared and collaborative approach in process and operations design to support omnichannel.

“In the ever-evolving world of omnichannel fulfillment, distribution center and store operations have to be aligned in order to ensure that a great customer experience is delivered in a seamless manner, regardless of where the customer chooses to engage in the purchase and/or return cycle,” Wallace says.

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