Creating a harmonious customer experience across channels requires alignment and integration within back-of-house operations. Often, departments that should be working together towards the same goals are functioning in silos and relying on spreadsheets without a single source of truth. Curating this experience means planning to set yourself up for success by implementing a strategy for, and tools to, execute integrated planning.
In this instalment of our omnichannel blog series, we will highlight executable strategies and insights on achieving customer harmony across omnichannel, with a focus on Planning Solutions. Integrated Planning allows for enhanced ways of working, keeping the customer at the forefront by catering to specific business requirements. Integration sets the stage for many benefits, driven by centralized data, transparency, and a single source of truth across planning segments throughout the organization.
By establishing a comprehensive and seamless planning structure, effective communication between sales channels is facilitated, resulting in a seamless customer experience in the omnichannel world.
How to navigate the course towards Omnichannel Integrated Planning
Generally, most do not look forward to the difficulty that comes with onboarding a new solution or tool. Often, Planners already have their ways of working set, and they repeat as needed for each season. The pitfall of this method is that the tool(s) and methodology are localized to one person, are not being utilized by the broader business and can result in conflict, confusion, and increased potential for mistakes.
However, by implementing intuitive tools that align with current processes, solutions can be customized to the needs of Planners and the business.
How can it be designed to metrics valuable to you?
What does each planning silo foundationally have in common?
Intelligent platforms create time and space for merchandising teams to do what they do best and leave the manual and tedious work to automated systems.
Discovery work is the first step in truly understanding the current approach. This works best by first understanding the technical bits, such as data quality and availability. Where are the opportunities and what gaps need to be filled?
On a recent project, a client wanted to integrate merchandise and financial plans with marketing plans. There needed to be a deep dive into the data and the process that supports each silo. Following data assessment, the tools and processes currently used to support planning are evaluated.
What is the purpose of the spreadsheet utilised?
What calculations are at the core?
What is the output – where does it go, and what is it used for?
In this example, there was an underlying connection between each plan – the product. The marketing team can enhance their messaging if product availability and pricing are readily available for viewing. Additionally, financial plans can be updated as they tie back to promotional plans and marketing, to have visibility of available cost, margin impact and inventory movement. After gaining a thorough understanding, Thought Provoking Consulting pairs business nuances and approaches with best practice models for platform design specifically curated to your needs.
There are numerous benefits to integrating an intelligent planning solution. Integration allows for transparency and accountability across silos. By identifying gaps in the customer journey, integrated planning can capitalise on these opportunities. With support from an end-to-end solution, teams can focus on product availability while considering forecasted margins in a master plan. Streamlined processes paired with automation, and data science capability will provide a thorough planning experience. By curating solutions strategically for an omnichannel experience, both the business and the customer are set up for a win-win scenario.
Simply working in Excel keeps businesses, processes, products, and customer base in the past. Why not take a strategic jump into opportunity?
The thought-provoking 360 approach
To us, omnichannel is not a buzzword, it is a strategic integration of internal silos, where each person plays their part while collaborating, using a single source of truth. At TPC, we help achieve the goal of a seamless customer experience with a 360 view. All our consultants have previously worked in retail buying and planning/merchandising. They can easily translate high-level strategy into practical tactics and approaches. While we have legacy knowledge, we use leading-edge tools including data science and AI techniques to provide significant progress without heavy investment.