Achieving clarity in Omnichannel Retail is no easy task. Retailers, especially large ones, need to get all departments, all sales channels, suppliers and fulfillment operations on the same page.
And that’s just the first step. Then comes the IT integration where legacy systems are connected to a central management tool that handles at least inventory transparency, CRM and order management across channels.
Omnichannel Retail is not mainstream right now. It is still in its infancy. Sure, some are more advanced than others and some companies are building the future faster than others. But the truth is omnichannel is a need to be fulfilled for most retailers.
And here come the knights in shiny digital armor to rescue the day. The following 5 vendors have built omnichannel retail capabilities ready to be plugged into existing retail ecosystems. They are now the go-to elite for large retailers in need of upgrading their IT infrastructure.
Shopatron was founded in September 2000 by Ed Stevens and Sean Collier. Since then, it has evolved into an integrated SaaS platform that connects offline and online orders management, making it easier for customers to purchase from retailers.
The company offers specific omnichannel solutions, most important being:
- in-store pick-up
- ship from store
- inventory lookup
- vendor dropship
Shopatron targets midsize retailers and its main benefit is the advanced order routing. The platform combines online and offline sales and claims inventory visibility across channels.
- great fit for midsize companies
- regular updates without setup costs (the platform runs as SaaS)
- good fit for larger retailers that look for a quick roll-out for the solutions listed above
- can connect multiple sales channels and direct orders to the right fulfillment point
- works with both retailers and brand manufacturers
- reduced costs and quick roll out
- the company is not known for its transparency in terms of product road map
- smallest entry on this list, making it a target for future acquisitions
- no clear option of on-premise setup
NetSuite was already rocking a great SaaS ERP product and a fully flavored ecommerce solution when it acquired OrderMotion in 2013. Now the company can provide inventory management across channels, a single customer view, business intelligence data and omnichannel order management.
The company, among the first to bet on SaaS platforms, is now one of the fastest growing companies in the field, closing 2013 with $414 million in revenue. The revenue is up 34%, which is a big win for the company initially backed by Larry Ellison.
NetSuite started as NetLedger, envisioned as an online accounting tool, that later turned to an wider array of company management tools.
The past two years have been very active for NetSuite in terms of omnichannel related acquisitions. In 2013 it acquired Retail Anywhere, a POS solutions company. In 2014 it acquired both Venda, an ecommerce SaaS company, and eBizNet Solutions, a company focused on WMS (warehouse management system) solutions.
Netsuite has decided omnichannel is a perfect mix when it connects companies focused o separate blocks in the retail chain.
- extensive know how of retail operations management
- integrated SaaS solutions
- great record of acquisitions
- single view of customer
- cross channel inventory view and order management
- extensive list of customers
- great uptime
- NetSuite is “broadly focused”: its solutions work with healthcare, finance, manufacturing and many, many others. That leaves little room for actual retail innovation
- the recent acquisition will probably work together but many steps have to be taken until full integration is achieved
- implementations aren’t always all that seamless
- complex pricing and licensing structure
3. eBay Enterprise
PayPal is not the only jewel in eBay’s pocket as it seems. eBay Enterprise (formerly known as GSI Commerce) is one of the fastest growing and biggest companies providing technology and consultancy for omnichannel retail.
The company delivers four big solutions to its customer base:
- commerce technologies
- retail order management
- marketing solutions
Unlike the other companies on the list, eBay Enterprise goes beyond software integration and into marketing and operations. In terms of retail solutions, eBay Enterprise provides support for commerce integration across channels. The company integrates the main sales touch points, with the help of its omnichannel tools:
- smartphones and tablets
- store associates
- interactive kiosks
- customer service
The omnichannel operations tools cover a lot of ground and can be used in fulfillment operations, customer care and store based fulfillment.
- provides great tools for online retail, offline retail, fulfillment as well as cross-channel operations
- best-of-breed order management solutions
- strong fulfillment and customer care solutions
- multiple sales interfaces to channels
- wide array of large retailers and vast experience
- flexible pricing structure, based on sales commission
- eBay Enterprise is pretty picky when it comes to customers. So unless you’re not a large retailer, chances are you won’t be working with their tools
IBM stands for a lot of things and among them it had to be omnichannel retail also. The tech giant offers technology to retailers in need of:
- content management,
- supply chain management,
- order management,
- inventory management,
- business intelligence,
- CRM and
- interactive kiosks.
Its Websphere Commerce solution connects both online and offline sales through its different versions. It handles cross-channels inventory visibility, distributed order management and scales as you would expect from IBM.
At the core of IBM’s order management and inventory tools you’ll find components IBM acquired in 2010, when it purchased Sterling commerce. The transaction cost IBM $1.4 billion but brought in 18.000 global customers.
The Websphere commerce is a great fit for large companies and powers some very well known brands, but it is somewhat a not so great fit or midsize retailers.
- scalable solution
- works across channels
- integrates all retail chain components
- great omnichannel inventory and order management
- large user base
- expensive setup
- complex setup process
- outdated interface controls and architecture
- hard to implement by midsize retailers
Hybris, now a part of SAP, is probably the best fit for omnichannel retailing. Hybris is a dynamic company focused on growth and delivers constantly on market needs.
The omnichannel solution is scalable and built on a modern and flexible architecture, that allows interaction with all interfaces. Its order management solution, inventory and commerce application are built to work together seamless and easily connect with other systems.
Hybris’ solutions work both B2B and B2C and can handle inputs from multiple inventory sources and outputs on multiple sales channels. Moreover, the solution features a central content management system that enables retailers to push content across a multitude of interfaces.
As of 2013, Hybris is a part of SAP, making it a global powerhouse connected to the world’s most popular (well, at least used) ERP.
- scalable solution
- feature packed
- fully integrated solutions
- works B2B and B2C
- modern architecture
- supports multiple interfaces
- works online, offline and on multiple other channels
- flexible enough to work with open source technologies
- training may be expensive
- professionals able to implement and train are hard to find, due to an increase of platform demand
- customization and setup can be time and resource consuming
So that’s it – these are the best of breed. Of course, there are more out there that deliver great products and I could name Intershop, Demandware or even Oracle. They, however are less inclined to omnichannel or have a really new found love for omnichannel retail. The vendors mentioned above are leading the pack in omnichannel retail implementation, especially for large customers.