When shoppers talk about their favorite stores, they talk about the quality of the merchandise, the delightful packaging, and the helpful sales associates. While they may not explicitly cite the supply chain as a reason for shopping with a retailer, the supply chain’s ability to meet demands remains a huge factor in deciding whether to complete a purchase.

Here are a few examples of the code words and phrases that customers may use to describe a company’s supply chain capabilities or shortcomings:

  • “I’ll only shop where I can get free shipping.” In fact, a comScore study found that 68%of shoppers said they would only complete an online purchase if free shipping were an option.
  • “If a store doesn’t send me the right order, I might not shop there again.” Indeed: Voxware research found that repeated inaccuracies led customers to take their business away from offending retailers.
  • “That store always has what I need in stock.” Out-of-stocks are frustrating for retailers and customers alike—they cause over $600 billion in losses globally ever year.

The supply chain is far more visible to customers in the omnichannel world, which means unified data-driven supply chains have the potential to be huge drivers of revenue—and that disparate supply chains will contribute to ever-growing losses.

Smart retailers will respond by making the supply chain more visible to stakeholders throughout the enterprise. One way to achieve this goal is to deploy predictive analytics tools like Intellestra™ to unify the supply chain and tie data from multiple sources into a single platform. Armed with data, supply chain leaders will be able to reroute orders to distribution centers or brick and mortar stores located closer to customers, which makes offering free shipping more cost effective. By tracking returns from the moment they’re shipped back to the retailer, companies can immediately offer returned merchandise to new customers, which helps prevent losses from out of stocks.

On the other hand, companies which fail to dig deeper into the performance of their supply chains and allow channels to remain separate risk disappointing customers. While shoppers may not complain about a retailer’s disparate supply chain, they’ll certainly complain about a negative experience. Smart companies will make sure they don’t lose sales or margin by taking steps to unify their supply chains with predictive analytics.