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New Study Reveals the Exceptionally High Cost Retailers Bear in Meeting Todays Omni-Channel Retail Customer Expectations

ATLANTA, March 9, 2016 Retailers spend a staggering 18 cents of every dollar to satisfy today's customer expectations of buy anywhere, pick up anywhere. This is just one of the key insights stemming from a new omni-channel order management study conducted by EKN Research in partnership with Aptos, Inc. (formerly Epicor Retail), a recognized market leader in retail technology solutions.

The study reveals the true costs associated with the order management lifecycle as retailers struggle to meet customer expectations in the current omni-channel retail era. The complete findings can be in found a new eBook "Threat... or Opportunity: Seven Steps to Overcoming the Shockingly High Costs of the Order Management Lifecycle."

"This study is a huge wakeup call to retailers," said Noel Goggin, CEO and culture leader of Aptos. "As traditional store-based purchases continue to decrease and omni-channel transactions continue to increase, 'runaway' order management and fulfillment costs have the potential to devastate the bottom line of retailers in virtually every category."

As an example, if the reported fulfillment costs of 18% per order were applied to the estimated $3.07 billion online sales from Cyber Monday 2015, then US retailers would have spent $540,000,000 on that one single day to get their products into customers' hands.

According to the study, 8 in 10 retailers surveyed reported an increase in order management and fulfillment costs compared to last year, with an average year-on-year increase of 5.07%. Devising sustainable fulfillment strategies in the wake of consumers' expectations for free shipping was cited as the biggest order management-related business challenge by nearly half of all retailers surveyed.

The research also serves as a call to action for retailers to make a commitment to process optimization to provide the requisite foundation for new and emerging fulfillment services and options. According to EKN, by proactively adding efficient, scalable and repeatable processes throughout the order management lifecycle, retailers can gain competitive advantage through lower costs, higher margins, higher earnings, and more consistent service experiences.

Retailers say the process of managing order management systems and fulfillment processes has become more multi-faceted and complex. The need to improve order cycle time, the lack of visibility across order functions and processes, and a lack of alignment between inventory, order and supply chain operations were all cited as the greatest order management process-related struggles.

EKN found that many retailers struggle with a lack of defined/streamlined workflows for each order type, which leads to inconsistencies in order processing and management across the entire order value chain. "A lack of end-to-end order management visibility severely inhibits effective decision making, productivity and enterprise effectiveness," said EKN VP Research & Principal Analyst Sahir Anand. "Many of the retailers surveyed recognize this must quickly become a priority investment, with almost half of respondents (48%) identifying improvements to end-to-end order management visibility as a key area of focus in 2016."

As part of their focus on order management, EKN and Aptos have made the EKN QuickScan interactive tool available to retailers to help them assess the maturity of their order management systems.

"Today's omni-channel retail realities are putting tremendous stress and strain on disparate order capture and fulfillment systems, as well as retailer margins," said Goggin. "Real-time inventory visibility from across the enterprise, combined with powerful order brokering and sourcing logic, ensures that every order is sourced from the most profitable location. This also enables powerful competitive advantage through lower prices, improved margins and consumer service."

Aptos Enterprise Order Management supports singular commerce on an integrated platform to manage orders across multiple channels and locations, to meet today's ever-increasing consumer expectations for order delivery/pick-up flexibility, options and speed. Aptos Enterprise Order Management combines a single view of inventory and the order to profitably manage all orders throughout their lifecycle, from initiation to fulfillment and back (RMAs).

Aptos: Engaging Customers Differently

In an era of virtually limitless choice, sustained competitive advantage only comes to retailers who engage customers differently by truly understanding who they are, what they want and why they buy. At Aptos, we too, believe that engaging customers differently is critical to our success. We are committed to a deep understanding of each of our clients, to fulfilling their needs with the retail industrys most comprehensive omni-channel solutions, and to fostering long-term relationships built on tangible value and trust. More than 500 retail brands rely upon our Singular Commerce platform to deliver every shopper a personalized, empowered and seamless experienceno matter when, where or how they shop. Learn more:

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Tila Pacheco
Lutz PR for Aptos
+1 714 256 8452