Is your supply chain ready to support mobile commerce? If not, you'd better get a move on. Based on what we heard at two software user conferences—RedPrairie's RedShift and Manhattan's Momentum—you're already behind the times.
Mobile commerce was a white-hot topic at both events. The term refers to technology that allows consumers to shop on the move, using devices such as smart phones to research and even purchase items. This increasingly popular technology is already affecting retailers' supply chains, according to speakers at the two conferences.
The growth of mobile commerce has major implications for inventory management, particularly replenishment. Consumers who visit a retail store and don't find what they want on the shelf are apt to use their smart phones to check on those items' availability and pricing at other retail outlets—which could result in their making their purchases elsewhere. That means out-of-stocks are more likely than ever to lead to lost sales. To prevent this, retailers may need to invest in more inventory in order to retain customers. That, in turn, will affect logistics organizations, which will have to change their delivery systems to satisfy consumers seeking instant gratification.