Multi-channel retailing facing challenges in APAC

By : |August 2, 2010 0

 MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Technology has a vital role in enabling the multi-channel retailing supply chains that retailers seek.

Multi-channel retailing is a business imperative for all retailers in Asia-Pacific and globally. However, there still remains much confusion about how to actually implement a multi-channel operation that’s efficient, effective, and most importantly, focused on the total customer experience, said a new analysis from Ovum in its Asia-Pacific focused report “Enabling the multi-channel retail supply chain”.

The supply chain, or back-end, plays a major role in ensuring that customer satisfaction is maximized while profitability targets are met but too often the associated business processes remain fragmented and perform poorly.

“For retailers to succeed in their multi-channel operations, they must have a properly implemented end-to-end supply chain”, said Jura, Senior Analyst in Sydney.

To meet the challenges of the various supply chain dynamics associated with different retail channels and ensure that the customer experience is maximized, retailers need to focus on what Ovum defines as the composite-channel: a unifying view of multi-channel retailing that provides for a seamless customer experience across multiple channels.

Visibility into multi-channel supply chains and associated operations has been hampered by a siloed approach to both organizational structure and IT capabilities.

“In Ovum’s opinion retailers should therefore focus their attention on improving data quality across multiple channels through a master data management (MDM) strategy”, added Jura.

Similarly, ensuring that enterprise applications are well integrated to support multi-disciplinary business processes is of critical importance. Retailers need to view their application environments as an integrated solution to supporting the business needs of composite-channel retailing.

Internet penetration has been a key indicator within the retail industry for several years now, as it is considered a feed-in driver for investment in multi-channel retail strategies that include an online operation.

It clearly illustrates the dual Internet economies within the APAC region. There is a clear demarcation between the more mature economies, such as Australia, and those still seen as emerging, such as Vietnam. What is important, however, is the rate of growth in adoption overall. This is understandably rising at a faster rate for those economies in the bottom half of the graph, while countries like New Zealand have hit what appears to be a limit.

“These results have important implications for retailers within the region, as consumer demand for the online channel is only going to increase”, noted Jura. E-commerce in countries like Australia, South Korea and Japan has already established a strong foothold, although there is still someway to go from the retail supply side, in terms of meeting customers’ demands.

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