If you’ve got your own retail business you know it’s hard work. From managing employees, inventory and vendors along with shipping and delivery, the tasks surrounding retail supply chain logistics are seemingly endless.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel like there’s no time to actually grow your ecommerce business. It’s a time-consuming process.
If you’re at the point where you’re juggling too many aspects of your business it’s time to figure out how to adapt so you can survive by enlisting the help of fulfillment services.
As online retail has grown exponentially in the past two years causing a major shift in buying behavior, it’s also created more opportunity in the ecommerce order fulfillment industry.
With this growth comes changes in consumer demand and direct effects (sometimes negative) to the supply chain, impacting your company’s logistics.
All this makes it more difficult for ecommerce owners to manage and operate their online businesses, while trying to keep up with competitors using the latest infrastructure and technology in the marketplace.
If you feel like you’re running out of bandwidth, don’t worry. There are various ways for you to streamline your supply chain so you can focus on growing your business.
This blog outlines various aspects of the retail supply chain and why it’s a good idea to outsource this type of management to order fulfillment providers so you can best adapt your ecommerce business to survive.
THE RETAIL SUPPLY CHAIN DEFINED
The retail supply chain is made up of the processes used to get your products to consumers. It includes ordering and storing as well as pick, packing and shipping and even returns.
Sound management of the retail supply chain focuses on streamlining those processes to optimize business speed and efficiency.
Ecommerce retail supply chain management for 2021 includes strategizing how to stay ahead of your online retail game.
Depending on your ecommerce store and business strategy, there are a variety of different supply chain models that your business can adopt to keep inventory moving. Some of these supply chain models include omnichannel, multichannel and dropshipping, with several parts of the supply chain often outsourced to a 3PL like Fulex.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the traditional retail supply chain model for good. Namely, efficiency is key, incorporating automation and technology to meet high consumer expectations. Below are some key strategies to help optimize your retail supply chain.
Automate for efficiency
Automating for efficiency is another way to provide valuable data that influences a strategy for inventory allocation. Implementing technology to automatically track and view inventory levels in real time all from a single dashboard is the best way to stay on top of your supply chain.
In addition, automating product allocation removes the need to track inventory manually using spreadsheets, which also decreases human error. Inventory automation software allows you to create, manage and merge SKUs and more easily forecast demand.
However, real-time inventory tracking and forecasting requires the integration of an inventory tracking system such as inventory management software or other type of tool that lets you monitor real-time inventory levels of each SKU for better inventory control. This includes tracking inventory from your supplier, to tracking current inventory levels in each warehouse.
This is a business strategy that includes consumer-based prediction to understand through analyzing customer demand ahead of time and shift supply chain management accordingly.
Demand forecasting involves using historical sales data and helps in making the right decisions about market spending, production, staffing and warehousing, among other things. Essentially it’s used to assess future capacity requirements or in making decisions on whether to enter a new market.
Improving retail supply chain management
To better adapt to the ever-evolving ecommerce landscape, many direct to consumer (DTC) online retailers choose to partner with a third-party logistics provider of 3PL, to optimize the supply chain.
A successful 3PL is one that helps you grow your business in a reliable way by supporting your company’s business strategy goals in better managing your retail supply chain. Outsourcing warehouse management for ecommerce retailers is critical in optimizing the supply chain.
Third Party Logistics providers like Fulex offer a lot more than just storage space. Rather, they specialize in picking, packing, and shipping your orders from their warehouses in a way that helps you better manage your retail supply chain.
When you partner with an experienced 3PL, your business can expand across other fulfillment center locations as your business grows. Doing this means being able to offer a reduction in shipping costs and quicken last-mile delivery by fulfilling orders closer to your customers.
Quick, convenient and reliable fulfillment
Offering same day or 2-day shipping, higher order accuracy rates, splitting inventory across warehouses, or incorporating fulfillment software are all ways to focus on customer satisfaction.
As your business grows and your monthly order volume increases, it’s crucial to have an effective system in place that tracks inventory in real time to meet customer demand and expectations surrounding shipping.
If you’re storing inventory across multiple fulfillment center locations, having control of stock will help you fulfill orders on time while providing insights regarding how much inventory to keep in each geographic location.
Continuous improvement to stay competitive
Remaining competitive in a wildly growing industry puts emphasis on the need to consistently improve and optimize your retail supply chain.
Good news! With the right 3PL partner, your business will naturally use the latest in automation and software so you stay competitive in growth while the industry continues to evolve.
Outsourcing supply chain management to ecommerce order fulfillment centers save you money, resources, time and alleviate much of the stress involved with running an online retail business.
Help your business adapt to consumer needs by offering a customer experience that lets the experts focus on logistics and won’t just survive but thrive! Get a quote today from your end-to-end outsourced supply chain solution.