Some haulage companies might be tempted to take one glance at the term ‘Omni channel sales’ and immediately switch off. |
This though, might be a serious error.
What Are Omni-Channel Sales?
The technology industry has an unfortunate tendency to create very complex terminology to describe something that’s actually quite simple. Omni-channel sales might be another such example.
This essentially means than someone shopping electronically has the same buyer-experience, whichever electronic channel they have chosen to shop through. So, someone shopping on a PC should see the same screens and same user-interface as someone using say a tablet or smart phone.
That might sound easy and something of a no-brainer, but the IT gurus have struggled to ‘make it so’ for a long time. That’s largely due to the different natures of the various technical platforms being used but also, to some extent, due to confusion about sales strategies on the part of retailers.
However, all that is now changing. Technologically speaking, many of the challenges have been dealt with and Omni-channel proposition delivery is now more or less here.
This isn’t a question of aesthetics. The objective here for retailers and the IT industry is to make online shopping easier and more intuitive for the ecommerce world.
So far, this appears to be having a big impact and sales volumes through the net are increasing at a very high rate. That’s something that will have a big impact on haulage companies.
As the volumes sold in bricks-and-mortar outlets decline, it’s fairly clear that consumers are taking less and less home with them from the High Street.
The more they buy online, the more goods are required to be moved around the country by haulage companies and subsequently delivered to the consumer’s home address. As Omni-channel sales propositions increase, it will be ever easier for consumers to buy online, so the demands for the services of haulage companies should increase accordingly.
A Question of Hype?
Of course, explosions in ecommerce shopping and the consequent knock-on effects for the delivery sector have been forecasted for many years and, all too often, have been hugely over-estimated. It is an area that has been subject to much hype going back to the 1980s and some cynics will see the Omni-channel domain as yet another iteration of that process.
However, even conservative strategists believe that nothing other than a rapid increase in online shopping is likely in the immediate years ahead. Should those forecasts for the impact of Omni-channel platforms be correct, then the road transport industry is likely to be facing very real new demands for its services as part of the integrated supply chain.
This will inevitably call into question again the need for haulage companies to become integrated into an end-to-end, seamless process for supply chain management. The future looks challenging for the haulage business – but exciting too!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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