GreyOrange, a global software provider that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize fulfillment operations, today released research from a survey of more than 2,000 consumers across the US, UK, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg that reveals how product fulfillment impacts retail buying decisions and buyer loyalty across omnichannel retail.
The survey also captured buyers’ experience with buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), their anticipated shopping behaviors post-pandemic, the role easy returns play in buying decisions and the importance of operating socially responsible fulfillment centers that protect workers and improve their work lives by equipping them with software, robots and other advanced technology.
Key takeaways of the research include:
- Buyers shifted a majority of 2020 purchases to online due to COVID-19
- More than half of buyers expect to resume pre-COVID buying patterns when possible
- Two-thirds of buyers have tried buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS)
- BOPIS has room for improvement: 62% report a mixed or generally bad experience
- A small number of delivery misses impacts buyer loyalty
- A challenging return process negatively impacts the buying decision
- 90% of consumers revealed their buying decisions are “very much” or “somewhat” influenced positively when they know a company has invested in technology (such as software and robots) to protect workers, with more than one-third “very much” impacted by that knowledge
“The takeaway from these survey results is that uncertainty persists in both the minds of the buyer and in the market, which makes resiliency in product fulfillment operations even more critical to retailers’ success so they can quickly adapt to changing market demands and consumer expectations,” said Jeff Cashman, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, GreyOrange. “Retailers must be able to seamlessly pivot among channels so they can satisfy consumer demand wherever it is – in the store, online, or mixed with buy online, pick up in store. In order to accomplish this, retailers need abundant data to drive fulfillment decisions that offer them the greatest payoffs, especially when it comes to fulfillment that promotes customer loyalty and retention. And they have to accomplish all of this while effectively managing costs and providing a safe work environment for employees.”
GreyOrange provides intelligent fulfillment to retailers through its GreyMatter fulfillment operating system, which applies advanced science to smartly evaluate performance and drive decisions that efficiently orchestrate people, process, and robots across a distribution center. Real-time data flows between GreyMatter and Ranger robots, feeding into always-solving algorithms that calculate and recalibrate each next-best decision, whether that’s prioritizing to deliver peak demand fulfillment or managing every-day fulfillment. The GreyMatter operating system optimizes how inventory is picked, packed and shipped from a facility, dynamically adjusting to protect Service Level Agreements (SLAs), avoid bottlenecks, increase throughput and protect the safety of people and materials.
GreyOrange solutions improve the work lives and safety of warehouse associates with socially distanced workstations to which robots bring inventory for workers to pick and pack or to execute special handling tasks such as personalization or custom packaging. Robots also transport inventory items and packages among various workstations to minimize the areas people must move through to prepare items and fulfill orders. This assistance minimizes labor intensive tasks as well as exposure points for workers throughout the day to protect their health and safety. It also frees time for workers to apply to higher value skilled tasks.
“With more than one-third of respondents indicating their purchase decisions are ‘very much’ influenced by companies that invest in advanced technology that protects worker safety and conditions, and fully 90 percent saying there are at least “somewhat” positively influenced by this factor, the time for companies to invest is now,” Cashman noted. “The spotlight on worker safety and socially responsible work environments has never been brighter. This creates an added bonus value to the fulfillment resilience and speed advantages of investing in software and robots to modernize fulfillment,” he added.