Upgrading delivery experience – Going beyond warehouses/ distribution centers
Until recently people hailed 5-day delivery as quick. Nowadays, consumers expect delivery to take no longer than 24 – 48 hours. With speed and agility spearheading order fulfillment, the time between booking an order and receiving it is decreasing. Retailers with digital presence have felt the need for a better supply chain to manage customer expectations.
Going by the statistics, an incompetent order fulfillment strategy can lead to business loss. Thus, it’s imperative for retailers and brands to bring their A-game.
E-commerce order fulfillment process: Examining the current situation
E-commerce order fulfillment was mostly carried out by centrally located warehouses or distribution centers far from customer locations. Since inventory allocation was solely based on rough estimates determined by past years’ sales patterns. Depending on where the fulfillment center is, shipping costs and delivery times would vary.
Let’s expand on them in detail.
Loopholes in this strategy
When fragmented data from multiple distribution centers and warehouses is combined, managing the high volume without an ideal omnichannel order management strategy becomes a mammoth task.
The current system has the following problems:
1. Inefficient warehouse management: Warehouses are intricate ecosystems where multiple processes work simultaneously. An improperly managed warehouse leads to inaccurate inventory information, inefficient space utilization, and mismanaged picking procedures, all impacting business productivity and employee efficiency at various levels.
2. Mismanagement of peak sales: Incorrectly assigned inventory is a surefire way to stockouts – every retailer’s nightmare. Its inefficient tracking and management lead to stockouts that not only impact profitability and sales but also cause customer dissatisfaction and reduce loyalty.
3. Delayed delivery: Longer delivery times have now become the quickest way to lose customer trust. Especially if they have paid extra for expedited shipping, they expect delivery within the promised timeframe. Delayed order fulfillment is often due to inefficient warehouse operations, inventory mismanagement, and inaccurate demand analysis.
4. High fulfillment costs: In order to meet the strict delivery timelines, brands opt for faster shipping options. Items when shipped from a centralized location far from customers, take longer to reach and cost more. High shipping and logistics cost reduces profit margins and overall brand revenue.
5. Lost sales opportunities: Inaccurate demand assessment leads to improper inventory distribution, overstocking, and stockout scenarios. Without timely replacement or replenishment, brands lose sales and revenue. If styles are available in stores but not exposed to online sales channels, their visibility reduces thus impacting total turnaround time and increasing chances of markdowns.
Using an omnichannel approach to enable faster order fulfillment
Growth in e-commerce and the need for instant gratification have met with unexpected challenges. Such bottlenecks in the supply chain prevent brands from reaching their full growth potential hence it’s critical to address them.
Increff omnichannel order management and merchandising solutions are designed to extend efficiency and visibility across all retail sales channels.
Let’s see how they can up your delivery game:
1. Boosting warehousing efficiency – Increff WMS is a web-based multi-channel order management system that provides a single view of inventory across all marketplaces with real-time order inventory sync. Inventory serialization enables digitization and automation to achieve 100% First-Time-Right operations. Order priority-wise picklist generation and optimized pick paths ensure ~99.9% order fulfillment within the promise-to-ship time.
2. Managing peak sales- Robust tech stack and real-time inventory order sync ensure complete synergy between the marketplace and warehouse. It prevents chances of excess order cancellations which lead to customer distrust. The auto-replenishment feature sends prompts when a fast-selling stock is getting exhausted so it can be reordered on time to avoid stockouts.
3. Enabling 24-48 hrs delivery – By conducting pin code level demand analysis with Increff Merchandising Software regional utilization module, brands can distribute inventory according to existing demand. This brings inventory closer to the customer and ensures faster order fulfillment from the nearest location.
4. Lower fulfillment costs – With Increff Cloud Warehousing service, brands can outsource inventory and order management to experts to reduce CapEx and improve operational efficiency.
5. Enable Omnichannel retailing– Increff O2O (Offline to Online) allows brands to expose store inventory to online sales channels for better visibility and faster order fulfillment from stores.
Omnichannel order fulfillment for the win
Undoubtedly, an omnichannel fulfillment system can augment and enhance your sales and revenue. In this day and age, where time equals money, businesses need to optimize their processes to enhance productivity. Intrigued to know how our suite of retail tech solutions can empower your business? Head to our website.
10 February, 2023
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