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Omnichannel order fulfillment makes every retail channel’s inventory fully available from any location, and provides consumers with the freedom to purchase from anywhere (online, in-store, from their mobile devices, from digital displays, etc.) and get their orders fulfilled from anywhere (store pickup, home delivery, pickup locker, etc.). By having complete inventory visibility and powerful order orchestration and routing capabilities, retailers sell more, fulfill orders faster, reduce the cost of unsold inventory and ensure customers find exactly what they are looking for.

Order From Anywhere, Fulfill From Anywhere

No matter the customers’ purchase path, to achieve a consistent experience all fulfillment scenarios should be integrated as part of a single unified solution:

  1. Ship-from-store: Ship products from store inventory directly to online shoppers.
  2. In-store pickup: Allow shoppers to pick-up products from stores that have the inventory.
  3. Ship-to-store: Ship products from the distribution center to a specific store for pickup.
  4. Store transfer: Transfer products from one store to another for pickup.
  5. Endless aisle (Buy in-store ship to home): Try it in store and have it delivered to your home.  Can’t find the exact color you want, no problem it can be shipped to you from another location.
  6. Drop shipping: Transfer orders to a partner who then ships the goods directly to your customers.

Omnichannel order fulfillment strategy empowers retailers with the flexibility they need to meet their customers’ rising expectations, including flexible order splitting and the ability to accept returns across all channels. In addition, retailers can improve their margins by bridging the gap between online and traditional brick-and-mortar operations. The solution determines the most cost-efficient and fastest way to fulfill an order from the most appropriate fulfillment location.

5 Omnichannel Fulfillment Must-Haves

Seamless Integration and Unified Inventory

An API-first omnichannel order fulfillment solution allows for simple external data integration that helps you easily import/export and synchronize products, inventory, prices, and orders. It also enables you to unify inventory visibility across all your stores and distribution centers, making all products available to customers wherever they shop.

In-store inventory can be accessed online, which reduces the risk of cart abandonment and increases the range of products available for online purchase. This contributes to higher conversion rates and a significant increase in online sales.

Advanced Order Routing and Orchestration Capabilities

Advanced order routing and orchestration capabilities ensure that retailers use inventory from the best location and manage orders as efficiently as possible. Configurable order routing and workflows can be defined based on store inventory, location, hours of the day, and more. Fully customizable workflows help you put the proper rules and process in place, ensuring the most appropriate store fulfills every order.

Omnichannel order fulfillment also provides retailers with the ability to split orders between two or more stores or between stores and distribution centers when no store can fulfill them completely. Through configurable service level agreements (SLAs), retailers are able to design scenarios and control how store must fulfill each order. For example, a time limit may be set for stores to acknowledge and complete an order before it is routed to the next best fulfillment location.

Easy Product Return Management

The way returns are handled also plays a crucial role in the overall satisfaction of customers. According to a study by Supply Chain Dive, 56% of online shoppers surveyed said knowing an online retailer provides fast, easy and free returns would incentivize them to shop there1. An omnichannel order fulfillment solution allows retailers to accept returns using their existing returns management process by integrating with the systems that are already in place. For example, customers can easily return their online purchase in-store, and store associates can leverage their internal POS to process an online return as they would a return for an item that was sold in-store. In a world where returns weigh substantially in the shopper’s decision to select your brand, a simple omnichannel returns process is an important success factor.

Productivity Enhancing Tools for In-Store Execution

As part of an omnichannel order fulfillment solution, mobile apps and tools are available to simplify the fulfillment process for store associates. For example, a fulfillment app makes it easy for your store staff to acknowledge and process online orders in-store, ensuring accurate and timely order preparation. Stores receive order details directly into the app and are guided through the fulfillment process with all the relevant order information, including high-resolution product images. Status notifications should also be available to alert and guide staff through the fulfillment process and also, to provide visibility for the management team.

Actionable Reporting and Analytics

Fulfillment analytics is also a key component of omnichannel order fulfillment. Retailers must leverage detailed fulfillment data to get the visibility they need to optimize their operations. Retailers should capture all the key fulfillment events tied to every order, providing them with insights on the types of orders being sent for store fulfillment, the performance of different stores in fulfilling those orders, and the performance of the overall store fulfillment program. They can then dive directly into any specific order to troubleshoot problems more deeply.

In Conclusion

For more information about omnichannel order fulfillment and to discover tips and insights on how to implement an omnichannel order fulfillment strategy in your organisation, download our eBook or contact our experts at Orckestra.

How to Sucessfully Implement Your Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy


1 Patrick, K. (October 26, 2017). Study: Online shoppers prefer easy in-store returns Retrieved from https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/study-shoppers-in-store-returns-reverselogistics-XPO/508053/