How to Create a Modern Retail Supply Chain

Ensure your supply chain supports omnichannel selling.

Written by

Sarah Ash, Content Marketing Manager @ Anvyl

Edited by

Madeleine Anderson, Partner Manager @ Endear


Modern retailers have increasingly adopted an omnichannel approach, selling online and in brick-and-mortar stores even among whispers of the death of in-store shopping.  

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of brick-and-mortar stores outpaced e-commerce in 2022. And while some consumer spending habits are changing in response to inflation, consumers still plan to shop online in 2024. 

Nearly half (42%) of 1,000 U.S. respondents in a Bank of America survey say they plan to spend more online over the next 12 months. Forbes reports that by 2026, the e-commerce market is expected to total over $8.1 trillion, with 24% of retail purchases expected to take place online. 

Social media commerce, where consumers purchase goods through Instagram Shops or TikTok Shop, is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026. Omnichannel retailers need to not only meet customers where they are with their marketing. They need to meet them where they are with the product itself. 

This more consumer-centric approach to sales means meeting more demand across more channels than ever before. 

What is an omnichannel supply chain?

Omnichannel supply chains differ from multichannel supply chains. 

Initially created due to the rise of the internet, multi-channel supply chains respond to consumers’ need for more flexibility, allowing them to purchase an item online but return it in-store, for example. 

However, multichannel supply chains are prone to silos that reduce visibility and often increase costs throughout the supply chain. This can look like separate teams using separate systems or processes to track the flow of goods. The result is a disconnected, inefficient supply chain that wastes time, money, and other resources. 

In contrast, an omnichannel supply chain connects teams, workflows, and other processes by integrating or centralizing data with technology.

The result is not only better visibility. It’s also a distinctly consumer-centric model from ideation to warehouse to delivery, allowing brands to meet the demand for more flexibility and create a better customer experience while keeping resources in check. 

Use technology to create an omnichannel supply chain:

Anvyl recently conducted a State of Supply Chain survey, which surveyed consumer brands ranging from $15 million to $750 million in annual revenue on how they plan to manage supply chain operations in 2024. 

The results highlight technology's critical role in automating the supply chain from pre-purchase order issuance to delivery. 40% of brands surveyed plan to invest in new supply chain technology in 2024. 

Here are three ways retailers can use technology to create an omnichannel supply chain: 

1. Integrate supply chain data

Inaccurate product, pricing, and shipping data, for example, is usually the result of relying on manual processes to track things like order status, shipping rates, and payment due dates.

Errors in this data can ultimately lead to scenarios where a customer adds an item to their cart based on a specific price, only to discover discrepancies during check-out. This results in abandoned shopping carts and negatively impacts the overall customer experience.

To increase data accuracy, brands need to integrate their various data sources and access real-time information about costs and the movement of goods, materials, and shipments in their supply chain. 

Supply chain management software captures and integrates this data in real time. It centralizes it in one spot so supply chain teams maintain accuracy and make faster, data-driven decisions to get their products to the right channels and consumers at the right time. 

2. Increase inventory visibility

Increased supply chain visibility is crucial for omnichannel retailers, especially when it comes to inventory. 

Forrester found that “66% of U.S. online adults think it’s important that websites indicate product availability in stores, and 72% want to see the estimated date and time of arrival on retailers’ websites.” 

To meet this demand, retailers need to bring complex inventory, lead time, and customer data into the front end. Without complete visibility into the supply chain, this can be almost impossible.

Supply chain management software lets you see the location and status of inventory and orders. It also provides insights into other important factors like raw materials, suppliers, distribution, and logistic operations.

This granular insight helps retailers receive information about changes in their supply chain in real time, making it easier for teams to be proactive vs. reactive, especially regarding risks or disruptions that ultimately impact product availability. 

Get our guide to the Current Retail Landscape for 2024

Get insights and actionable business outcomes from our free guide.

3. Centralize communication to navigate risk and disruptions

Disruptions like natural disasters, geopolitical events, or unexpected market changes will continue into 2024. This results in supply shortages, transportation delays, labor disputes, and regulatory changes affecting retailers’ ability to keep shipping costs low and products on the shelves. 

Supplier shipping delays, strained supplier relationships, and diminished productivity are just some of the impacts disruptions can have on brands outside of inventory shortages and holding costs. 

More importantly, shortages lead to missed sales opportunities and force retailers to waste money on expedited shipping or emergency sourcing. 


Retailers that adopt technology to increase data accuracy, increase visibility, and navigate risks and disruptions set themselves up to build a thriving supply chain that supports omnichannel sales, no matter how markets and consumer spending habits continue to evolve. 

About Anvyl

Anvyl connects global supply chain teams, systems, and suppliers to improve collaboration and decision-making from pre-PO issuance through to warehouse delivery. This flexible tool facilitates real-time collaboration, automates key tasks and processes, and empowers teams with deeper insights that allow them to make smarter decisions, faster. 

To learn more, visit www.anvyl.com

Beyond ROI: Elevating Brick-and-Mortar with an Omnichannel Approach