How to Maintain a Resilient Fulfillment OperationC
ustomers are demanding ever-faster fulfillment and have become accustomed to receiving products they order online in two days, one day, the same day, and even, within hours. Retailers must be able to meet those expectations or risk losing sales and customer loyalty. Sixty-one percent of consumers continued shopping with brands that could deliver goods the fastest, according to a new research report from SOTI.
Retailers need to be fast and flexible to maintain a resilient and successful fulfillment operation. Demands fluctuate throughout the day and retailers must be able to seamlessly shift people throughout the day to focus on the necessary and urgent tasks. Fulfillment is becoming more complex as online shopping continues to grow. Retailers that leverage automated solutions and broaden their offerings will gain a competitive advantage.
Here’s a look at how retailers can maintain a resilient and flexible fulfillment operation, capable of adapting to fluctuating demands and evolving expectations.
Optimize Your Space
As online shopping continues to grow, the need for space to fulfill orders has grown with it. Warehouse demand remains strong this year, according to logistics warehouse owner Prologis. Occupancy across its portfolio was 98.2% in the fourth quarter of 2022, with more than 99% of available space either leased or in negotiation. With warehouse space in limited supply, some retailers are taking matters into their own hands by opening new warehouses and transforming their stores in order to maintain and expand their customer base.
Sam’s Club has big plans for the next several years, including opening several stores and modernizing its supply chain through new distribution and fulfillment centers. Omnichannel fulfillment will also be built into the new stores, with a dedicated space for curbside pickup, delivery to home and ship-from-club orders. Even if you don’t have millions of dollars to expand your fulfillment network, transforming the space you do have can provide the capabilities to increase fulfillment capacity and speed up service times.
Offer Multiple Options
Retailers are diversifying their fulfillment offerings to accommodate customer preferences. Demand for multiple options including home delivery, buy online pickup in-store, in-home delivery, and autonomous delivery is increasing this year with most increases averaging up to 10% points globally, according to SOTI.
Retailers must strive for flexibility to keep up with evolving customer expectations, minimize delays, and easily adapt to real-time demand. Businesses are expanding their in-store fulfillment and delivery options enabling them to consistently provide fast and reliable service. Autonomous vehicles enable goods to be delivered in spite of staffing shortages. While in-store pickup provides a convenient option to customers already on the road.
Update Fulfillment Management
With 83% of customers considering home delivery for their purchases in 2023, retailers should be investing in solutions and software partnerships that ensure smooth logistics and fulfillment operations. Delivery and fulfillment management solutions offer shippers tools to manage their operations efficiently, while minimizing operational costs. Cloud-based solutions allow businesses to easily scale their fulfillment operations without compromising the customer experience.
Close to two-thirds of U.S. consumers expect to know where their order is within the delivery process at all times. Digital solutions provide customers with real-time tracking throughout the entire process. Customers are updated with accurate ETAs and status notifications, keeping them constantly informed of where their orders are and when they will be ready for store pickup or delivery.
The growth of eCommerce has increased the need for speedy and reliable fulfillment. Offering customers multiple fulfillment options and managing them effectively enables retailers to remain resilient and competitive in the face of fluctuating demands.
For more information about how our delivery and fulfillment management solution can help you manage your omnichannel fulfillment operations more efficiently, please contact email@example.com.