Consumer Electronics Fulfillment Solutions: Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions

consumer electronics fulfillment

The consumer electronics sector is growing with rapid developments in technology, product innovation and falling prices, it has become a more competitive industry than ever before.  In the United States, consumer electronics sales forecasted to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 6% between now and 2024. 

With a higher adoption rate of smartphones and advancements in appliance technology, many products are being purchased for the first time or being replaced, contributing to the growth in the industry.  Along with this growing consumer demand comes higher expectations on the consumer electronics supply chain.  E-commerce plays a tremendous role as more consumers are shopping online than ever.  Last year e-commerce sales accounted for 9% of retails sales in the U.S.; that number is expected to climb to 12.4% by 2020.  Furthermore, by 2021, over 53% of online orders are expected to be done from mobile devices. So, what challenges do these changes present to your fulfillment operations, and how can you solve them?

SKU Visibility and Management

Each component from wires and cables to consoles, devices and accessories has a unique SKU.  As new generations of products come out, the variety of these items grows exponentially.  Therefore, active SKU management is so important to ensure that the right product is in stock and correctly identified with bar codes to enable high order fill rates and picking accuracy.   This active SKU management enhances inventory management and order accuracy.

Returns and Reverse Logistics

Product returns constitute a significant part (and cost) of the consumer electronics purchase process.  This is magnified even more as online shopping increases.  Whether it’s a manufacturing defect or a side-effect of not making a physical purchase in a store, efficiently and effectively managing the reverse logistics process is essential from both an operations and customer experience standpoint.  

Inventory Visibility and Optimization

With the ability of a consumer to order online and pickup at store, or the ability of a retailer to ship from store, accurate inventory management is crucial.  With customers having so many channel options to purchase products, having the right product in stock has never been more critical or challenging. 

The supply chain challenges and opportunities in the consumer electronics industry are sure to create new opportunities for those brands that embrace multi-channel fulfillment strategies.  Creating a competitive advantage for their industries with a streamlined, efficient and lean supply chain will be key.  Barrett Distribution Centers creates customized supply chain and fulfillment solutions for consumer electronics and retail brands.