Consumers are better informed than ever before, with access to product reviews and inventory at their fingertips. With an ever-growing population of individuals using smartphones and mobile devices, there’s no avoiding the escalated demand to meet consumers where they are with the precise product they want.

Consumers will continue to drive how retailers need to react in order to gain or maintain their loyalty, which will in turn drive the capabilities built by distributed order management (DOM) solutions providers. A new report from IDC Retail Insight, “PlanScape: Distributed Order Management”, offers practical guidance to help IT and business leaders in retail justify investment in this critical tool.

“By better tracking the point of origin of demand and inventory turns, as well as shifts in patterns of how and where consumers want their products, retailers can make more well-informed decisions that benefit their bottom line. Investing in a DOM can empower retailers to better meet the expectations of their consumers and in turn grow their sales and customer satisfaction,” says Victoria Brown, senior research analyst at IDC Retail Insights.

The new IDC PlanScape methodology helps IT professionals plan the evolution of the IT operations architecture to virtualized networks. It helps to assure business value from technology by establishing a business case, identifying risk factors, and outlining critical success factors.

When deciding to implement a DOM, there are several imperative steps for success. With this in mind, IDC Retail Insights offers the following guidance to consider:
* Identify your distribution network strategy. Sales distribution can completely change the dynamic of your system.
* Ensure proper education takes place with critical employees in retail locations and warehouse facilities.
* Institute product tracking mechanisms to better understand your inventory fluctuations.

To meet consumers where they are and serve them as efficiently as possible, retailers must be able to flex their inventory knowledge. Utilising a DOM service, retailers are able to provide consumers with knowledge about past product reviews, where the product is available for purchase, and the options for receiving that particular product. Information overload from the Internet isn’t going away, so adapting to an information-accessible world is essential to future success.