Building an Agile Strategy for Retail Supply Chain Management

Balance costs, improve customer experience through effective retail supply chain management.

How to transform
retail supply chain management

Investment in supply chain agility and resilience is a priority for 96% and 90% of retailers, respectively.

The COVID-19 global pandemic fundamentally shifted the retail landscape, accelerating the need for retail supply chain transformation. 

Download the report “Transforming Retail Supply Chain” to learn three action steps for reimagining retail supply chain strategies and operating models.

Report highlights

  • Top 3 barriers to retail supply chain transformation
  • Five ideas for influencing the consumer shopping experience
  • Two ways to redesign retail supply chain distribution

Download the retail supply
chain report

Explore three action steps for reimagining retail supply chain strategy.

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    Supply chain retail management:
    E-commerce shift

    Government lockdowns and concern about contracting COVID-19 led to reduced consumer traffic in stores during 2020. Now, most supply chain organizations (69%) expect a decrease in consumer willingness to visit stores over the next five years. Spending has shifted online, hurting organizations that have not integrated online and physical channels in their retail supply chain management strategy.

    Converge the physical and digital supply chain to transform your business.

    Increase the agility of your retail supply chain strategy

    The retail supply chain management strategy must balance cost control with improved customer experience. This includes fulfilling customer preferences like personalized, purpose-driven products and services delivered anywhere, at any time and in any supply condition.

    • Rearchitecting network design to enable a more profitable operating model that supports the shift to e-commerce
    • Following consumer trends and technology advancements
    • Building scalable capacity, including online order fulfillment and returns
    Bar graph displaying the Top 5 most common priorities for 2018 and 2019 based on percentage of retail respondents.

    Retail supply chain management insights
    you can use

    Gartner’s objective insights and expert guidance help supply chain leaders respond to the shift toward e-commerce by developing retail supply chain management strategies that balance cost control with improved customer experience.

    Maximizing the Effectiveness of Curbside Collection

    Learn about best practices in customer fulfillment for retail supply chain leaders.

    Driving Sustainability in Order Fulfillment

    Get to know three strategies to deliver a more sustainable, multispeed retail supply chain.

    Unlock the Potential of the Retail Supply Chain

    Watch the webinar to know what the top retail supply chains are doing to create a competitive advantage. 

    Questions about becoming a Gartner client?

    Gartner retail supply chain case studies

    The return we get from our partnership with Gartner is: making faster decisions on technology solutions, distilling external information about technology solutions, culling views from technology providers and the supply chain community.

    SVP, Transportation and Inventory, FMCG Discount Retailer

    Case Study

    Discover supply chain best practices from your peers

    During this on-demand panel discussion, you hear from supply chain leaders on how they are continuing to lead during times of disruption. 

    Watch Panel Discussion: Lead Through Times of Disruption in Supply Chain to hear:

    • Real-life examples of how companies leveraged Gartner insights and tools to navigate disruption
    • Supply chain innovation and agility during times of disruption
    • How to address your most pressing supply chain challenges

    Experience Supply Chain conferences

    Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.

    The Gartner Supply Chain Podcast

    The Gartner Supply Chain Podcast explores the latest ideas and innovations for driving sustainable supply chain success. Join your hosts Thomas O’Connor and Caroline Chumakov as they uncover strategic insights and tactical tips in conversation with global supply chain experts.

    Listen Now

    Retail supply chain management: FAQ

    Retail supply chain management is the process of managing the logistics of a product, from raw materials to delivering finished goods to a customer.

    A successful retail supply chain is based on mastering accurate and flexible inventory management and product assortments that appeal to in-store and online shoppers. 

    Retail supply chain management is important as it helps to offer products consumers will buy as part of the consumer experience they desire. It also helps to manage inventory levels and associated costs, build customer trust and gain a competitive advantage in the industry.

    Gartner recommends the following steps to improve your retail supply chain management:

    • Ensure that store product assortments are appropriate to meet the needs of walk-in and online shoppers by focusing on the role of the store in serving all members of its geographical community.
    • Increase order fulfillment flexibility and performance by holding inventory from distribution centers in a truly channel-agnostic manner.
    • Develop capabilities to improve product-level store inventory accuracy by amending counting processes and investing in RFID technologies.
    • Develop holistic order fulfillment by using a portfolio approach to measure the profitability of fulfillment services.
    • Optimize demand forecast accuracy by including data inputs to better represent the historical demand environment.
    • Obtain insight into consumers’ future fulfillment choices by developing forecasts at a more granular level than just where they purchase products.

    Merchandising, inventory and operations execution (MIOE), also referred to as supply chain execution, is focused on execution-oriented applications, including warehouse management systems (WMSs), transportation management systems (TMSs), global trade management (GTM) systems, and other execution applications, such as real-time decision support systems (for example, dynamic routing and dynamic sourcing systems) and supply chain visibility systems within the enterprise, as well as throughout the extended supply chain.

    The market for in-store logistics systems is emerging and growing. Increasingly, retailers are using store inventory to support online order fulfillment. The key benefits of in-store logistics systems are to manage the fulfillment (picking, packing and dispatch) of online orders at scale within a store environment so that consumers experience an optimal level of on-time and complete fulfillment of their orders, whether being collected in-store or shipped to them from the store. Gartner defines the scope of in-store logistics processes as consisting of seven key functional capabilities which are product receipt, product put-away, inventory management, sales floor replenishment, picking optimization, packing optimization and dispatch process.

    Support on retail supply chain management

    Retail supply chain leaders turn to Gartner for objective insights and expert guidance on retail supply chain management amid disruption.