Online shopping is witnessing explosive growth. In the past, online sales have not always been consistent and large volumes have often focussed around peak periods. However many retailers are now seeing, as a result of the pandemic, consumer shopping directed predominantly towards online purchases. It still remains to be seen if this spells the end of peak periods… However, many retailers are telling us that they expect to see further substantial growth in their online sales over the next five years, but feel that their bricks-and-motar retail will standstill, if not move completely online. One leading high-street retailer told us they would be shifting their retail offer from 50% online and 50% store-led, to 80% online and 20% store-led. Coronavirus has served to intensify and accelerate disruption in the retail industry that has long been underway.
Many leading retailers are also now using the huge outreach marketplace of Amazon to do business, some clients even telling us that they cant cope with the volumes this is generating. We have provided a software product, which speeds up the processing of dealing with Amazon Direct orders, enabling large increases in potential revenues for our clients. If you’re faced with processing issues in fulfilment and difficult to manage legacy systems then give us a call.
With an increase in order volumes online, many retailers now feel the pressure to shorten delivery times to ensure customer satisfaction. In particular, clothes and sports goods are amongst the most popular purchases online and customers are becoming increasingly demanding in their purchase expectations. Dealing with increasing customer demands requires considerable flexibility on part of the retailer. Utilising data is key to understanding what is important to buyers and how they behave and map processes to match. There is no doubt that automation will also continuously improve the customer experience as it speeds up throughput rates.
Don’t forget about returns…
The cost of returns is an increasing burden for the retailer. Ecommerce is not just about despatching products, our research tells us that up to 25% of goods delivered are returned. Whether through delivery errors or customer over ordering, the cost of returns is a factor in the retail supply chain. What’s key here is that warehouses are utilising the most effective returns management processes and technologies.
Just under a third of these returned goods are caused by incorrect orders. High-level packing software will enable retailers to track and record movement of goods and optimisation of routes to ensure accuracy and precision. Consideration should also be given to addressing packaging concerns to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Automation solutions that can meet the complex requirements of returned goods packaging, to ensure a quality control process before shipping to another customer is also vital. From auto-inserting returns notes, to re-bagging returned products, integrated scanners and shipping label creation, you must ensure your packing operations can manage a wide range of products quickly, flexibly and sustainably.