Going into Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM 2020), everyone knew it would be unusual. The retail industry is a lot more dynamic than ever before. Consumers are clear that they want to shop when they want, how they want and where they want. While that shift was already underway over the last few years, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital commerce options and made it a lot harder to compete for retailers unwilling to diversify their fulfillment mix.
The predictions of many industry analysts proved to be true with physical store sales on Black Friday decreasing 29.6% and foot traffic declining 48% over last year, as reported by RetailNext. However, the weekend ended on a high note in the U.S. with a 15.1% increase over last year coming in at a record $10.8 billion for Cyber Monday, according to Adobe’s shopping data.
For Tecsys and our retail customers, we also set a series of new records over the course of the BFCM 2020 weekend. From peak order processing to order ingestion volume, we were able to prove that a platform that scales and adapts to a shifting retail landscape is a powerful tool in the post-pandemic economy. Retailers fulfilling orders with Tecsys’ omnichannel order management platform outperformed last year by more than double across two key measures: year-over-year order volume increased by 113% and order revenue increased year-over-year by 140%.
Upon reflection, the BFCM 2020 weekend results underscores the critical role of omnichannel digital commerce.
BFCM 2020 Lessons Learned
Looking into the future, what insights should retailers take from BFCM 2020 results in order to be successful for 2021? As the upward trend in online ordering continues to grow, retailers should review their order management system (OMS) to ensure the technology can support omnichannel order fulfillment and increasing volumes. While choosing to upgrade your existing OMS to one more suited for omnichannel retail is not a task to be taken lightly, I’ve prepared some basic requirements every retailer needs to compete.
Below are three tips for your consideration.
1. Ensure Your Order Management System Can Manage High Order Levels
The last thing you want to happen on BFCM weekend – or any weekend for that matter – is for your system to crash. Every minute you are down is lost dollars. You need an order management system that will give your business scalability and unparalleled power. While other systems stall below half a million order lines per hour, the Tecsys order management system surpasses 1.6 million single line orders per hour. Our cloud-native SaaS OMS on the Azure platform is proven to handle record ordering levels.
2. Deliver on Your Inventory Promise
Accepting orders when the inventory is not available is a customer satisfaction killer. Even worse is showing the product is out of stock online, when the inventory is really available at another location or on the way, but you don’t have the capability to display this information to the customer. Tecsys’ distributed order management (DOM) system unifies disparate inventory pools across many channels to provide a single enterprise view of stock in real time. We can integrate with your existing ERP, POS, WMS, TMS, and SCM systems to let our DOM system recognize in-transit, work-in-progress, and available-to promise goods. The system also accounts for safety stock, stock utilization, and available-to-sell inventory while pushing real-time updates to all commerce channels.
3. Handle Returns Management Seamlessly
When online sales hit record numbers, that inevitably comes with record returns. Therefore, dealing with them in the most effective and efficient manner is important to maintain customer satisfaction while keeping an eye on profitability. Retailers should be looking for an OMS that can enable return label printing, handle cross-channel returns (e.g. bought online but returned in-store), exchanges, has fraud detection capabilities, updates inventory and makes it easy to restock returned items so they can be resold.
Start Planning Now for 2021
Operational agility and resiliency became the cornerstones for successful retailers this year. Brands operating omnichannel fulfillment vs. single-channel retailers were certainly in a better position going into BFCM 2020 weekend. If you want to learn something from these retailers, it’s time to start building your omnichannel foundation now. That means in 2021, you need to review your OMS and get your retail fulfillment channel integrated. Your customers expect your operations to keep up with them. That means taking their order regardless of channel. It also means providing real-time information, online and mobile — when they want it.