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Order Broker White Paper

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Want to execute seamless Omni-channel experience for your customers in your retail business?

Read how order broker cloud service can provide you scalable and reliable capability to execute a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

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How a brick and mortar retailer has competed successfully against online rivals by implementing a customer centric omni channel strategy.

 

“Customers today expect a level of convenience that brick and mortar retailers do not meet easily”

 

THE CHALLENGE:

Target has been one of the largest US large format brick and mortar retailers present in every state with thousands of brick and mortar stores since the early 20th century, initially struggling to keep up with competition of Amazon. Like many other retailers, Target had a hard time keeping pace with Amazon’s home delivery service and the convenience of the Amazon Prime Pantry functionality, that allowed customers to shop for groceries online with Amazon conveniently, quickly, and getting their orders delivered within 2 hour for free. Customers stopped shopping in stores because shopping in stores meant spending at least 2-3 hours on a weekly basis with a repetitive task that people did not enjoy and preferred to spend that time with their families, friends and not in a store shopping every Saturday.

THE SOLUTION:

Target, like many of its peers (K-Mart, Rainbow Foods, Cub Foods), started struggling competing against online competitors such as Amazon. A radical change had to be implemented quickly to avoid going bankrupt.

In 2014, the company has faced multiple challenges: an aggressive over expansion in Canada has strained the company’s financial resources while a highly publicized data security breach has also created negative impact for the retailer’s online business. As a result both CIO and CEO resigned and new leadership has taken over the company.
To tackle financial challenges and aggressive online competition, Target has initiated a bold and radical series of steps to change its business model to be fully immersed in an omni channel engagement with its customers.

As a result, Target’s revenues have increased, contributing to Target being named retailer of the year in 2018 and over performing both expected revenue and target profit figures. Current stock prices reflect well on Target’s performance, especially when comparing the prices to its peers.

What exactly has Target done to implement a seamlessly omni channel strategy that has allowed it to compete so effectively against online competitors such as Amazon? Multiple initiatives all focused on the customer.


Radical change in its stores: Target has chosen to implement a radical change in its stores by essentially converting them into a fulfillment center and a showroom style shopping experience. By doing this Target has gained a warehouse network more extensive than its online competitors, allowing it to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently. By performing this change, Target gained the capacity and ability to fulfill customer demand on multiple channels seamlessly and quickly (home deliver in 2 hours or less, like Amazon, in addition to in-store options as described below), which in turn brought a level of convenience to its customers unparalleled even among online retailers.


Online orders home delivered: Relying on its extensive network of fulfillment centers, Target gained the ability to fulfill and deliver to customers’ homes online orders quickly and efficiently, allowing the retailer to compete with online competitors effectively.
Online orders picked up in store: Customers not only have the choice of ordering online and getting the order delivered to their homes but can also pick the online order up in a store. This is a great choice to people on the road and driving by the store, allowing them to immediately or in very short time pick their order up. The warehouse in the store picks the online order just the same way as home delivery but places the completed pick for pickup. Process does not involve additional complexity but allowed Target to offer something to its customers online retailers never could, effectively out competing its online rivals with a differentiated service.


In store shopping delivered to the car: Customers also have the ability to shop in the store and scan, using their mobile phone or a scanner provided in the store, each item they wish to purchase but not actually carry the scanned items to the cash register. When ready to leave, the shopper checks out on the handheld device and goods purchased are ready to be picked up by car. For the store, the process is not more complex than picking an online order for car pickup, yet for the customer Target offers a new service for convenience not available at its online rivals. Families choose this convenient option to avoid lines at the cash registers but still be able to see and touch and try what they buy, saving time and the effort of pushing a cart through the store.


Traditional in store shopping: Customers still have the ability to shop like they used to: go through the store with a shopping cart, collect goods for purchase and check out at an automated or traditional cash register. Target is opening smaller stores closer to urban centers to reach traditional customers better.

To help customers, Target has also made available real time product availability information for its customers. Target’s website and mobile interface both allow customers to check real-time availability of searched products at stores within a defined range of distance from the customers’ location. Target has also added a cartwheel app designed to make omni channel shopping and communicating with the customer easier by providing a convenient access to weekly ads, coupons, discounts and updates.


CONCLUSION:
By applying innovative ideas and processes supported by technology to deliver on new engagement channels to customers, Target has effectively out-competed its online rivals and has come to dominate the retail space in its markets in its own segment successfully.
To implement such an omni channel customer focused strategy Target had to make radical changes quickly, however the initiatives paid off and have proven that brick and mortar retailers can compete effectively against online competitors, to the degree that online competition has felt the loss of advantage on the online side of retailing and has begun investing in brick and mortar stores (Amazon bought Whole Foods).

 

SOURCES:
1. https://finance.yahoo.com/chart/TGT
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_Corporation
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Target_Corporation
4. https://www.target.com/
5. https://corporate.target.com/about
6. https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/targets-small-format-stores-are-its-biggest-weapon-against-amazon-walmart.html
7. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/23/target-opens-100-mini-stores-remodels-500-bigger-ones.html
8. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/25/disney-and-target-are-teaming-up-to-open-stores-with-each-others-help.html
9. https://www.retaildive.com/news/retailer-of-the-year-target/541905/
10. https://www.insider-trends.com/a-store-in-every-state-inside-targets-retail-strategy/

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Environmental protection is one of the most important issue of today. Simply looking around, everyone can see and feel the impact we have on our environment.

We believe that by making thinking green a key part of our company culture, we can reduce our environmental footprint.

Quickborn is committed to support sustainability and as first step established a comprehensive recycling program within each of our offices in collaboration with facilities management and city council. Our employees are not only able to extensively recycle waste in our offices but can also collect recyclables from their homes and communities for disposal by facilities that are collaborators for our green initiative.

  • As part of our recycle–reuse–reduce program, Quickborn has provided our teams with reusable products such as water canisters and durable shopping bags to reduce single use plastic waste.
  • Donation of old computer parts and other items to a local partner organization supporting the ethical recycling of electronics has been organized and is accessible for our teams directly.
  • Encouraging green commuting reduces our carbon footprint. By supporting team members to commute using bicycles or electric transportation methods is also part of our program. We provide facilities to park bikes securely and support transportation costs for our team members preferring a green option wherever available.
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Retailers today must have the ability to execute marketing campaigns, communication and loyalty programs efficiently and effectively to engage with a hyper-connected, hyper-informed and very impatient customer. To execute customer engagement successfully, retailers need to centralize and analyze customer data and purchasing history at a mass scale and in a short time.
 
A good Customer Relationship Management tool will identify prospects and opportunities for driving additional value for the customer and also the retailer by processing and analyzing customer behaviour information and ultimately help retailers retain customers by recommending the most relevant offers. The main objective for the retailer is to better understand the customers, and to involve them in the relationship with the retailer at all stages of their interaction with one another by serving them better: with more relevant offers, timely information and help, but only when appropriate and useful.
https://youtu.be/z0MVy130z1Q

You can read our article on Modern Day Customer Engagement here.

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In 2018, we conducted a survey of our customers and a global analysis of the retail market. Our experts have highlighted customer engagement as a key differentiating factor for success among retailers.

Retailers today must have the ability to execute marketing campaigns, communication and loyalty programs efficiently and effectively to engage with a hyper connected, hyper informed and very impatient customer. To execute customer engagement successfully, retailers need to centralize and analyze customer data and purchasing history at mass scale and in short time.

A good Customer Relationship Management tool will identify prospects and opportunities for driving additional value for the customer and also the retailer by processing and analyzing customer behavior information and ultimately help retailers retain customers by recommending the most relevant offers. The main objective for the retailer is to better understand the customers, and to involve them in the relationship with the retailer at all stages of their interaction with one another by serving them better: with more relevant offers, timely information and help, but only when appropriate and useful.

Prospecting
Remember that attracting a new customer costs ten times more effort than keeping an existing customer.
Analysis

  1. Do we know the target customers accurately and efficiently?
  2. What are current trends?
  3. What are marketing campaigns that work?

These are all questions that need to be analyzed in detail to achieve good client engagement.

Networks
Engage social networks to work for retailers: What if satisfied customers talked about their experience to their friends? A retailer's job at this stage will be to provide maximum satisfaction in customer experiences by encouraging and enabling the concept of ambassadors:

  1. To identify and reward the engagement of customers on social networks
  2. To identify and engage the entourage of these customers

Customer Relationship
Means the recording of customer data and their interactions with the brand, for example through

  • their purchases,
  • their returns,
  • their interest in campaigns and promotions,
  • their calls and the resolution of their problems
  • their comments on social networks

All of this data must be recorded, sorted, and stored for analysis and insight.

Marketing
The management of offers and promotions, personalized or not, the creation of coupons, or simply advertising; can now be targeted smartly, if CRM data is correctly used.
A great novelty is to bring marketing teams into symbiosis with customer relation teams, for example sales teams, customer service teams or digital teams; ideally this is accompanied by a specialized tool that allows a 360° vision of the customer.
The tasks are then simplified and made more reliable by following best practice patterns. The creation of customer segments, through analysis of customer behavior, make it possible to precisely target groups of people for specific messages and campaigns.

Loyalty
Customers must feel engaged. This is mainly done through loyalty programs, with or without a card or other identifying mechanism, which is usually accompanied by rewards of different kinds.
Loyalty options are the "visible and official" part of customer loyalty. Point calculations, loyalty levels, discounts or associated gifts are tracked and appreciated over time.
There are other factors of loyalty:
The customer can also associate with a brand, in the long-term or for a particular event; this is the case when a couple chooses a brand to build their list of wedding gifts.
The customer will also have a feeling of loyalty when their experience is fully omni-channel enabled, allowing them to keep their wish list or shopping basket created on the internet when they enter a brick & mortar store.
Customer loyalty can also be rewarded by social media posts as a brand ambassador.


For each of these functionalities, Data is at the heart of analysis and decision support; a good tool should be powerful and stable and the data should be organized efficiently and the user interface should be easy to navigate, so that teams can easily access the right information at a glance for all channels of engagement.

How can a retailer best select the right tool and easily integrate it into business processes and the existing application environment?

To answer this question one option is the Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Solution.

Beyond the standard features offered by CRM tools, including visualization of customer records and purchase history; this solution draws our attention to key points:

The business features associated with:

  • Marketing functionalities: offers and promotions, campaigns, coupon management are accessible through targeting by smart lists of customer segments, whether dynamic or static.
  • Loyalty: via management of loyalty cards, gift cards, reward programs and management of wish lists
  • Omni-channel customer journey: the tool makes it possible to coordinate all customer data regardless of channel (store, e-commerce, mobile) and to identify the trends.
  • Analysis: of results by intelligent reporting tools that enable buyers to adapt their offer and further improve the company's turnover.

We also want to highlight the ability to manage franchise operations which enables and manages access to customer information for franchisees based on their store or group of stores.

Other features simplify daily operations such as currency management, duplicate entry management, order and status management, role and privilege management.

Social media features are available to identify customer profiles and gather insights on social networks.

Technical and integration features available on cloud-based solution, along with other features such as the Web service approach, ergonomic configuration, and pre-integrated Oracle Commerce cloud suite for easy combination of payment tools (X-store), e-commerce (OCC), order management (OMS), BI (Retail Insight), make the cloud an ideal technology to deploy quickly with minimal effort and high reliability both for the users and the technical integration into the existing solution landscape.I

If you are interested in seeing or learning more about how a modern customer engagement can improve your retail business results, contact us for a presentation and demonstration of our approach here.

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Introduction

Based on the recent trends of the retail industry, it has become increasingly important for retailers to provide flexible and reliable solutions to their customers and to find innovative ways to increase satisfaction with the services provided. The Oracle Retail Order Broker Cloud service does not only offer a software solution that enables omnichannel transaction capabilities in order to increase convenience for consumers regardless of their preferred way of shopping but also allows retailers to optimize their day-to-day supply chain operation and inventory distribution.
In this white paper, the various features and benefits of using the Oracle Retail Order Broker Cloud service will be introduced as well as a brief demonstration of the capabilities of the module will be described through a specific omnichannel scenario. The aim of presenting the in-store collection case is to provide an understanding of the possible impacts and improvement having the Order Broker Cloud Service integrated into a retailers’ ecosystem.
Quickborn Consulting is a Gold level Oracle partner integrator and retail consulting company. Our company implements scalable, modern, best practice and future-proof merchandise solutions for retail businesses. If you are looking for the best practices in cloud service implementation or other types of merchandising solutions we are here to help your business. Relying on our expertise and experience, secure delivery on time and on a budget is our primary implementation objective, while at the same time securing high degree and long-lasting user adoption.
If you wish to learn more about omnichannel capabilities within the Oracle suite, please find a video we have created demonstrating omnichannel capabilities, which is accessible here.

 

Features and Benefits

Oracle Retail Order Broker Cloud service provides a powerful tool for retailers to increase the number of successful transactions captured by their available channels. The ultimate goal is to efficiently process transactions that would otherwise be lost due to merchandise unavailability or out-of-sync information. The module ensures that the users are able to access real-time inventory information across all locations within the enterprise, at the same time it contributes towards an effective way for processing captured sales as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

 

Structure of a typical omnichannel enterprise:

CWLocate location system hierarchy

Source: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E68433_01/orob/pdf/160/locate_help/index.htm

From the retailer’s point of view, apart from enabling omnichannel fulfilment of orders, one of the biggest benefits of using Oracle Retail Order Broker Cloud Service is that the module assists the retailer in decision-making regarding the optimal source of inventory and tracks the movement of the inventory among the supply chain. Having an optimal fulfilment proposed by the module, retailers are able to reduce inventory carrying and shipping costs, as well as they are capable of eliminating manual send sale and inter-store transfers that would be required otherwise. Related to these functions, Oracle Retail Order Broker Service has two extensions – the Supplier Direct Fulfillment extension allows retailers to provide a web-based vendor portal to share purchase orders and shipping information for drop shipment fulfillments with suppliers, while the Store Connect extension enables store associates to process and fulfill omnichannel orders.

 

Main Menu of the Order Broker Cloud Service:

order broker main screen

The benefits are numerous for the customers as well – the increasing demand for flexible solutions and the efforts to improve customer satisfaction requires that retailers provide alternative ways for hassle-free shopping and maximize their customers’ convenience for a better overall shopping experience. Retailers are able to leverage the real-time inventory information provided by the module and the can ensure that the orders would get completed through the various cross-channel fulfillment methods based on customers, stores, prices and merchandising decisions. Order shopping rules identifying the fulfilling locations are configurable and can be based on various criteria such as highest inventory levels or closest store.
If needed, the module is able to automatically select the best location to fulfill orders based on pre-defined criteria in its Routing Engine, which holds advanced business rule for selecting ideal locations to fulfill each eligible order. It is also possible to track inventory disbursement to ensure appropriate stock levels in each location based on previously collected statistical data. The Routing Engine would either automatically calculate optimal source for the fulfilment based on the pre-defined business rules or provides a list of possible locations for fulfillment to be evaluated by users. By having a list of eligible locations, the customer is able to select a store for collecting an order form and the information would be then shared with the whole enterprise, while the responsible location gets notified that there are orders requiring attention.

 

Location Selection Diagram:

split order flow

Source: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E68433_01/orob/pdf/160/locate_help/index.htm

The Routing Engine can use either the standard brokering or weighted brokering criteria when selecting a fulfillment or sourcing location – upon selecting standard brokering the Routing Engine selects fulfilling locations based on criteria including proximity, on-hand count, location priority, last order assigned and sales velocity rank. If weighted brokering has been chosen, then the Routing engine filters the list of eligible fulfilling locations for processing the order and submits the list depending on availability along with information on the order line(s) and configuration data. This procedure takes the percentage weights assigned for Labor Cost, Gross Margin, Proximity, On Hand Quantity, and Sales Velocity into consideration, as well as the Priority for evaluating sales velocity. The Routing Engine is also able to be configured to allow order splitting and to find multiple locations for fulfilment if there is not a single location that could fill the entire order by itself.

The module can easily be integrated with existing retail inventory applications and Oracle omnichannel solutions such as Xstore, SIM, eCOM and Customer Engagement, providing a view for the customer, inventory and order movements among the enterprise for a complete omnichannel solution. Apart from the ease of integration within the Oracle suite, existing store environments ideally would not have to undergo major changes to their POS applications in order to perform transactions involving multiple channels.

Order Types Supported:

  • Delivery (ship an order to the customer when the inventory is back ordered in the originating location)
  • Pickup (enable the customer to pick up the order at a nearby store that already has the inventory on-hand rather than waits for shipment)
  • Retail Pickup (enable the customer to place the order at a nearby store and return there to pick up the order after the merchandise has been transferred there from another location)
  • Ship-to-Store (enable the customer to pick up the order at a nearby store once the merchandise has been transferred there from the originating location)
  • Ship-for-Pickup (enable the customer to pick up the order at a nearby store, and source the inventory from the placing location, the pickup location, or a different location)

 

Store Pickup Scenario

Once a customer has finished placing an order using the online storefront and decided to collect their order in-store instead of waiting for delivery, a submit order message has been sent to the Order Broker. The submit order message for a pickup order needs to specify the fulfilling location and system while a separate, locate items message requests a listing of locations that should be able to fulfil an order for one or more products in a specified area.

 

Selecting the Location for a Pickup Order

Locate Items PICKUP fulfillment type

Source: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E68433_01/orob/pdf/160/locate_help/index.htm

Before placing the order, the customer is able to check the availability of a particular product for collection – the web storefront sends an inquiry to the Order Broker Cloud Service to locate the item.

 

Example product as seen in the storefront:

order broker spaces online order

The customer is able to press the ‘Check Local Availability’ button available on the storefront, which initiates the inventory location check in the Order Broker Cloud Service module. Once the customer presses on ‘Check Local Availability’ the inventory status of retail stores within a specific distance from the zip code provided by the customer would come up showing exact real-time updated stock quantities.

 

Checking item availability in the storefront:

order broker local availability

The ‘Local Availability’ screen on the storefront helps the customer in determining the most convenient and accessible retail store that is eligible and able to fulfil their order.

The back office process upon the customer initiated availability check is the following:

  1. The Order Broker Cloud Service database indicates that the product is stocked in the warehouse for your Oracle Retail Order Management System Cloud Service company and in several Oracle Retail Xstore locations.
  2. Order Broker Cloud Service calls a stored procedure in the Oracle Retail Order Management System Cloud Service database and one in the Oracle Retail Xstore database to check the current inventory for the requested product in the locations where the ordered item is actually stocked.
  3. The stored procedure retrieves the product’s current available quantity in each eligible location. Oracle Retail Order Management System Cloud Service also provides information about any open purchase orders.
  4. Order Broker Cloud Service retrieves the availability information for any off-line locations from its own database.
  5. Order Broker Cloud Service sends the availability information back to the web storefront using the related response message. The customer then provided the option to create a store pickup request at one of the locations where the product is available. If the customer has finished browsing and initiated the checkout process, they are able to select in-store pickup as the method of delivery for their order.

 

 

Delivery selection screen:

order broker product location (system existence and location)

 

Once an order has been placed and the transaction has been completed, the order would appear in Order Broker Cloud Service module as a new order ready to be viewed or modified on the user interface. The order details showing on the ‘Product Location Screen’ indicate the availability as well as other attributes of the item(s) contained in the order.

 

Product location screen in OBCS:

order broker product location (system existence and location)

The workings of the Routing Engine calculations are not visible to Order Broker users and can only be checked through the Probability Rules defined by the business users. The rules either contain ‘If’ or ‘Always’ components, which are enforced depending on the conditions specified and corresponding tasks are generated for each instance afterwards. The Probability Rule Wizard provides an intuitive, user-friendly platform for creating and modifying business rules depending on the retailers’ needs and business processes.

 

Probability Rule Wizard screen:

order broker probability rules

Once the order has been placed on the storefront, the location selected by the customer for the collection would also get the notification that there is a new order that requires the attention of the store staff – at this point the sales associates are able to access the information related to the order and depending on their evaluation they are able to accept or refuse to have this particular order be treated at their store using their POS system (in this case the POS system being Xstore).

 

New Order message on the Oracle Xstore main menu:

order broker xstore notif

 

Order details in the Oracle Xstore POS module:

 

Key Takeaway Points

  • Order Broker Cloud Service enables real-time inventory visibility across the whole enterprise
  • Various order types are supported such as delivery, pickup, retail pickup, ship-to-store, ship-to-pickup
  • The module contributes toward an optimized daily supply chain operation and inventory distribution

 

About Quickborn Consulting

Quickborn Consulting is an Oracle Gold Level partner company, providing business consulting, IT systems integration, solutions development and support services for the global retail industry. Quickborn supports retailers on their business and IT transformation programs that improve performance and increase competitive efficiency. Quickborn Consulting has a local presence in USA, France, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Tunisia and India, and is present globally through its international network. For more information contact us here.

About Oracle Retail

Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of best-of-breed business applications, cloud services, and hardware that are engineered to work together and empower commerce. Leading fashion, grocery, and specialty retailers use Oracle solutions to anticipate market changes, simplify operations and inspire authentic brand interactions. For more information, visit our website at www.oracle.com/retail.

About Oracle

Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications and platform services. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.

Trademarks
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

 

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