RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • As the retail supply chain becomes more complex, the strategy must shift from global to local to serve customers and control costs.
  • Local omnichannel fulfillment is how retailers differentiate themselves—and it’s becoming the new competitive battleground.
  • Getting results means constantly resetting strategies across insights, networks, inventory, delivery and the ecosystem.
  • The pressure is on—retail fulfillment is no longer in the background, and customers have high expectations.


Retail omnichannel fulfillment gets closer to home

Getting products to customers is at the heart of the retail promise. But there is massive change happening in the retail supply chain—and it’s part of retail’s responsible reset. Not only has the supply chain become more costly and complex, the center of gravity is rapidly shifting from global to local. So much so that the local level is the new battleground for competitiveness.

The pandemic was a shot in the arm to the retail supply chain that accelerated market and consumer trends already in motion. Retailers rapidly expanded omnichannel options to address demand. Consumers now want transparency, speed and convenience delivered responsibly.

This creates new complexity that makes it more challenging for retailers to know where to place products and how best to get them to customers. Truly supporting customers requires flexibility and scalability at the local level. This is local omnichannel fulfillment.

The retail shift from global to local

Local omnichannel fulfillment can help retailers drive value and build consumer relationships at the local level:

Driving value

Retailers deliver the customer value proposition profitably while strengthening customer relationships and the brand.

Thinking local

Retailers focus on local dynamics at regional, community, neighborhood, street and individual customer levels.

Making connections

Retailers drive transparency, sustainability and involve customers to create connections and empathy.

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There is huge change happening in the retail supply chain and it’s part of retail’s responsible reset. The center of gravity is shifting from global to local—the new battleground for competitiveness.

Five fundamentals to fulfill the retail promise

By focusing on five supply chain fundamentals, retailers can begin the journey to local omnichannel fulfillment. This is not a one-and-done exercise. Retailers need to constantly reset and revisit to stay ahead of change as new opportunities and challenges arise.

Use granular data to predict the future

Instead of backward-looking, generic analysis, retailers need to get granular. They can use advanced, predictive analytics to forecast demand.

Reconfigure supply chain and retail store network

Network structure analysis helps configure the mix of nodes and the size, location and capability of each, and where investments should be made.

Microtarget inventory placement

Order management solutions that use logic and business rules to govern inventory placement are key to align stock availability with customer demand.

Reinvent last mile fulfillment

There are many options for retailers to make last mile fulfillment—the most visible customer touchpoint—more cost effective, agile and sustainable.

Pursue creative partnerships

With partners’ expertise and networks, retailers can stand-up new capabilities quickly with less time and investment to build them themselves.

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An opportunity to reset retail fulfillment

To deliver for customers without all the costs, retailers need to reset and center fulfillment practices in the local area. It requires new ways of understanding future demand, configuring the network, placing inventory, enabling the last mile and working with partners. And driving change here is a continual process.



Mark Johnson

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy, Retail


Christina Shiminsky

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy, Retail

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