By Stuart Aldridge, Maple Lake Ltd.
With online sales becoming so critical to growth strategies, retailers are focusing on how to best serve their customers, showcase products, and entice customers to buy. Equally important is to ask, "How do we ensure we profitably maintain availability across all customer touch points?" Boil it all down, and the real challenge centers on inventory management and online merchandising. So, should retailers buy separately per channel, fulfill customer orders from shared inventory or establish some type of virtual distribution center, or do something else? The multitude of options creates a lack of certainty when it comes to developing a strategy for buying and managing inventory beyond brick-and-mortar.