Opportunities and Challenges in Footwear Fulfillment

Logistics operations, like many other things, are constantly evolving.  This is especially true for the footwear industry.  As technology creates new opportunities for consumers and new efficiencies for companies, it can also introduce new challenges. 

Take the National Football League for example.  Athletes are bigger, faster and stronger than ever and the sport has never been more popular.  Star players are earning astronomical salaries and outlets are covering teams around the clock.  However, strategies that worked 20, 10 or even five years ago may not be effective today.  Changes in rules, player discipline and coaching have made this quite a different game.  The footwear fulfillment game has also changed, creating these opportunities and challenges:

Opportunities

  •          E-Commerce: E-Commerce has become a premier platform for shoes.  Its strength over traditional brick and mortar is that it can offer selection, convenience and value.  These three elements are prime factors for the footwear industry.  Where the restraints of a physical store limit the amount of styles and sizes available at any given time, e-commerce can virtually make any and every shoe available, often at a better price, without the hassle of shopping in person. In 2012, online shoe sales increased to over $7.8 billion, according to Daily Deal Media . As more companies embrace this technology, the opportunity for more revenue is there.
  •          Omni-Channel Fulfillment: With more and more options for customers as it pertains to not only shoes, but also ordering and delivery preferences, omni-channel capabilities are becoming more important.  The ability to offer “ship-to-store” or fulfill product orders from store inventory can meet new consumer demands and present a better overall experience.

Challenges

  •          Limited Fulfillment Capabilities:  Just as yesterday’s playbook doesn’t work in today’s football game, the technology and processes of heritage systems and operations are quickly becoming ineffective.  Upgrades to warehouse management systems, inventory controls and the development, or optimization, of an e-commerce platform are essential.    
  •          Supply Chain Visibility: As the channels to generate revenue increase, so does the complexity of the supply chain.  Tracking inventory and creating efficiencies can be key differentiators in the footwear sector.  The more streamlined your supply chain, the greater impact it can have on your bottom line.

While the landscape of the footwear industry is changing, the supply chain is playing a larger role.  Consumers are demanding more options and lower prices.; sound supply chain management can meet both of these criteria.  With the proper resources and management, the challenges facing footwear brands can become opportunities to increase efficiency and, in turn, business.  A 3PL can provide the necessary resources and skills to meet these demands and produce these results.  Barrett Distribution Centers, with a focus on technology and transparency, specializes in footwear fulfillment, warehousing and logistics.  For more information, click here.