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"The Kiva warehouse automation solution is the only way we found that would enable us to build our company quickly, yet preserve the flexibility we need for an unpredictable future," says John James, CEO and co-founder of Acumen. "It speeds our transformation from an emerging player into a leading Internet player."
Technology systems, of course, are only as effective as the personnel who manage them, experts say. And effective cross-channel operations must have the support of personnel from senior executives and managers on down. Marketing and merchandising managers, for example, must share with one another as well as with warehouse managers information on product promotions and expected demand. "They have to be working in synch," Rosenblum says. "They have to be aware of what each other is doing."
The payoff of effective cross-channel operations comes in gaining an edge in the market, as consumers respond to retailers who provide better service whether through one or several retailing channels. "This absolutely brings a significant business advantage to retailers from a customer growth standpoint," Anand says. "The minute a customer realizes a retailer is consistent across all channels, she realizes the retailer cares about her no matter what channel she shops in. And that's a win for the retailer."