Thanks to companies like Amazon, the e-commerce business model is growing at a phenomenal rate. Powered by the top trends in e-commerce logistics, shippers have an amazing opportunity to increase efficiency and profitability while reducing freight costs. Innovations within the logistics and manufacturing industries, ranging from 3D printing to active RFID tracking, will help shippers stay competitive in this new logistics reality. The ability to adapt to these trends in e-commerce logistics will be the difference between those who can survive the threats of Amazon and the Big Box retailers, and those who will be swallowed up by them.
The success of a retailer has always depended on its relationship with consumers, driving brand loyalty, repeat store visits and increased sales. For this reason, retailers have always aimed to provide optimal customer service. In today’s increasingly e-commerce-driven and multichannel environment, retailers are shifting their strategies. The ultimate goal of providing optimal service and value for customers remains the same, but the approach changes.
As consumers increasingly opt for purchasing online, supply chain management and logistics without the face-to-face interaction and merchandise display of brick-and-mortar, a retailer’s ability to retain customers is at the mercy of its logistics elements, including product quality control, inventory levels, timing and expenses.
- Fulfillment Strategy
Prioritizing fulfillment strategy is increasingly important for retailers with an e-commerce platform. With the understanding of who your customers are, their purchasing habits, and where they are located, you can create a fulfillment strategy to get goods closer to your customers. To meet rising e-commerce demand, fulfillment strategy is paramount.
- Selecting the Right Warehouse
With warehouse capacity constrained, it remains imperative that companies choose the right type of warehouse for their business. While it can be challenging, companies need to consider the fundamental requirements regarding their business warehousing needs. There are numerous factors companies must evaluate before making a final decision, including technology, corporate culture, labor force availability, storage capacity requirements, location and lease considerations.
A fulfillment strategy addressing consumers’ increasing preference for e-commerce is no longer enough. Retailers now need to address consumers’ increasing preference, and even expectation, for same-day delivery. Ninety-six percent of consumers consider “fast delivery” to mean same-day delivery. Having the inventory positioned close to consumers, either with a distribution center or retail store, is an important part of the supply chain which offers the retailer options for same-day or two-hour delivery.
Data and Analytics
E-commerce ecosystems are complex and, with heightened consumer expectations around delivery options and experience, the interchange of data and the required connectivity is increasing exponentially between the different players involved, such as marketplaces, payments, logistics providers, carriers and “last mile” delivery services. This has and will only continue to require more real-time data than ever before, including the analytics that can help companies make meaningful sense of the data and inform decision making to drive ongoing success.
Augmented Reality (AR) in Warehouses
AR is growing in the warehouse and helping to support intra-logistics workflows and make work processes more productive and decision making more intelligent. Leveraging AR for warehouse management activities such as order allocation, inventory control management, order picking, and material handling can simplify and improve complex warehouse operations, thereby better controlling costs, improving productivity and bolstering supply chain processes.
Automation and Robotics
While some may fear that automation and robotics will replace humans altogether, the opposite is actually true — at least for the near future. Rather, the application of these types of technologies in the supply chain are meant to assist associates, drive faster shipping times, and maximize inventory, not completely eliminate the need for human effort. The warehouse robotics industry includes several types of warehouse robots, serving a variety of purposes and functions such as order picking and moving inventory throughout the warehouse.
The FLEX Logistics Team is Here to Help!
The potential for companies to capitalize on this burgeoning market is high. It is imperative that companies consider the trends that will continue to influence the industry and the technologies that will help address them. With the right technology and approach, brands and retailers can stay ahead of competition, win consumer loyalty, and drive ongoing business success for years to come.
Our team understands the importance of getting your products to the market. That is why we aim to understand your business and build lasting relationships with you and your team. Whether you are looking to add a new warehouse to your existing operations, growing and need to increase your distribution efforts, or starting a new company, FLEX has the solutions to meet your supply chain needs.
Contact us today to discuss your current and future warehousing and logistics needs. We will work together with you to understand your requirements and develop a solution that will set you up for future success.