A woman (Linda) buys a pair of jeans from a store that will not be mentioned. After a bit she decides to buy another pair of jeans. Linda wants the same exact pair – same style, size, color, etc. Linda tries to go online and order the jeans but to no avail they are out of stock. There is no indicator on the web site to say if the jeans are available at a store nor any indication they will become available at a later date. Linda then goes into the store and attempts to find the same jeans. No success! So she goes up to the store associate and asks if these jeans can be ordered or if they are in the back room inventory. Instead of using a point of commerce or a mobile device to check inventory the associate goes into the back room for almost 10 minutes looking for these jeans. The associate comes out and claims there are no jeans in that size. Being a good employee the associate suggests she calls around to other stores to see if she can find this size of jeans. The associate brings out a list of stores and starts calling each store to see if this pair is available. In the mean time Linda continued shopping and 45 minutes goes by. The store associate then approaches Linda and says “I called four different stores and none of them have your size, I suggest you wait a week or two until we get in more inventory”.
This could have been a much better story for Linda and Linda would not have left frustrated. Let’s start with the web site. If there was an order management system that linked the site into store inventory Linda could have done this search herself. The web site could also have insight into distribution centers and warehouses and offer a time to promise for the delivery of the jeans.
Now for the store: the associate, while very nice and wanting to help, did not have the proper tools to really assist Linda. If a point of commerce was available in the store the associate could have quickly gotten a clear view of inventory and availability across all of the stores and not just stores within driving distance. A point of commerce would have allowed the jeans be ordered and delivered from any store – essentially saving the sale. So while Linda may not have left with the jeans the visit would have been less than five minutes and the jeans would be on their way! There could have been a possible cross sell also, since a point of commerce could potentially “know Linda”, there could have been promotions or other products that could compliment the jeans based on Linda’s tastes.
If you want to hear how some customers are doing omni-channel then you should make sure you attend the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville or Monaco!