Investment Ability as an Antecedent to Omnichannel Supply Chain Integration: A Multimethod Qualitative Analysis

Proceedings of The 10th International Conference on Opportunities and Challenges in Management, Economics and Accounting

Year: 2023



Investment Ability as an Antecedent to Omnichannel Supply Chain Integration: A Multimethod Qualitative Analysis

Dr. Alicia Neva Weber and Prof Johanna Orpha Cilliers




The proliferation of digital devices and services has fundamentally altered customers’ shopping behaviour and has occasioned the rise of omnichannel retailing. Omnichannel retailing requires retailers to transform completely, moving away from managing processes in silos towards offering fully integrated and seamless shopping experiences across all the retailers’ physical and digital channels, touchpoints, and supply chain processes. High levels of supply chain integration (SCI) are necessary to achieve this integration. Investment ability, the ability to allocate resources (financial and human capital) towards developing new technologies and processes, plays a crucial role in facilitating omnichannel SCI. Additionally, investment in advanced technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) is required to manage the flow of information, goods and services throughout the omnichannel supply chain. However, investment in digital transformation still presents retailers with a conundrum. On the one hand, omnichannel SCI usually starts by detecting a new integration opportunity that requires significant investment in digital technologies. On the other hand, top management often has a mindset that demands an immediate return on any investment, which is difficult to achieve during the early stages of the digital transformation process. This paper investigates the role of investment ability in facilitating omnichannel SCI using a multimethod qualitative methodology. A literature review, content analysis of 40 integrated annual reports, and 17 semi-structured interviews were conducted with top managers employed at South African omnichannel retailers. The interview data were transcribed and analysed employing reflexive thematic analysis. The findings of the datasets were triangulated and showed that investment ability assists in expanding channel offerings, customising internal systems that better align with omnichannel processes, and facilitating retailers to hierarchise inventory pooling decisions. These results provide managers with valuable insight into investment strategies for improving omnichannel SCI and competitiveness in the ever-changing omnichannel landscape.

keywords: change management, digital transformation, investment capability, omnichannel retailing, retail supply chains, omnichannel retailing