Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

Flexible Fulfillment Services: Developing an E-Commerce Strategy

flexible fulfillment servicesBusinesses used to mail out catalogs to consumers.  Each season, something new, bigger than a phonebook and full of glossy pages that featured every size and style you could imagine arrived on your doorstep. 

After calling the toll-free number, or mailing in the order form, your order would be on its way.  Things work a little differently today.  Instead of fanning through pages in a glossy paper catalog, there are countless online touchpoints from a multitude of destinations.  Websites, social media, and mobile apps have created the new omni-channel market that has made e-commerce the fastest growing sector in retail, each year claiming a bigger portion of consumer dollars.  This begs the question, how can you strategically implement a supply chain that will yield e-commerce success?

Distribution and Fulfillment Centers

The nature of e-commerce is centered on convenience.  Many orders are smaller than those placed or bought at traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.  Cost and speed of delivery are also key concerns for the consumer.  Statistics show that shoppers will opt for the lowest price.  This places a new importance on cost effective distribution and fulfillment services.  Having the network available to not only fulfill and deliver an order, but do it efficiently has never been more important to a retailer’s survival.

Adding and Changing Supply Chains

Direct-to-customer, ship-to-store, and ship-from-store are all new wrinkles that are now expected within traditional supply chains.  This places an increased importance on inventory visibility and transparency in each step of the direct-to-consumer supply chain.

An Online Presence that Connects Your Supply Chain

Of course the very nature of e-commerce is based on an on-line presence.  As this sector has grown and evolved, it is transitioning from desktop to mobile.  Smart phones and tablets have essentially created their own niche inside of online retail, conveniently named “m-commerce”.  Having the platforms available for consumers, as well as the necessary integrations to your supply chain is essential as consumers continue to change their behavior.

Inventory Automation

Efficiency is the name of the game for e-commerce.  Streamlined operations enable you to pass saving along to your customers, creating a competitive advantage.  Smoothly and accurately fulfilling and shipping orders, as well as returns can pay significant dividends.  Warehouse automation, robotics, mobile barcode readers, and wearable technology in the warehouse can not only increase fulfillment performance, but enhance the customer experience through faster order processing and package delivery.

As shoppers continue to change and more options become available, supply chains across all industries will need to adapt as well.  Barrett Distribution Centers provides customized supply chain solutions in the e-commerce sector.

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Topics: E-Commerce