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AI's Impact on Holiday Shopping and Warehouses

UNEX peak season prep for warehousing

In the ever-evolving world of retail, the buzzword of the moment - Artificial Intelligence (AI) - is poised to redefine holiday shopping behavior this season. As consumers become increasingly tech-savvy, AI-powered technologies are shaping buying habits and preferences. With AI influencing buying decisions, warehouse leaders are preparing for new and unexpected peak season warehouse fulfillment challenges.

The changing landscape of holiday shopping puts the responsibility on supply chain professionals and leaders to adapt accordingly. Let's look at the transformative potential of AI and its overarching implications for peak season warehouse fulfillment.

Understanding Changing Consumer Behavior

AI may seem like an overnight sensation, but did you know researchers have used it to predict demand, analyze consumer behaviors, and identify audience preferences since the 1960s? Since then, AI tools have steadily enhanced and expanded companies' understanding of their audiences, allowing them to create strategies that capitalize on expectations and demand peaks. Now, recent advancements have taken AI's impact to new heights, empowering companies to boost sales through hyper-personalized product suggestions, innovative customer segmentation, and refined trend analysis. 

However, when coupled with the increasing demand for speedy deliveries and straightforward returns, these changes introduce fresh challenges and pressures for the warehousing sector. As AI continues to mold consumer behavior, warehouses everywhere are investing in maximizing speed and accuracy while optimizing adaptability and efficiency to prepare for unpredictable order volumes, diverse product demands, and larger order sizes.

How AI Advances Impact Warehousing and Fulfillment

If you've been wondering how to adapt your warehouse to prepare for AI’s impact ahead of peak season, you’re not alone. Warehousing has always been a dynamic industry, constantly adjusting to the ebbs and flows of consumer preferences and behaviors. But as AI reshapes businesses' understanding of buying patterns, warehouses are finding themselves facing unfamiliar terrain. 

Demand trends, buying patterns, and inventory strategies that have remained consistent for years are suddenly being called into question by warehouse leaders in every industry. While plenty of unknowns remain, experts agree these three tips will be essential for navigating AI's impact on peak season warehouse fulfillment this year. 

  1. Expect the Unexpected
    AI's precise, ultra-personalized product suggestions are creating a surge in spontaneous purchases and last-minute orders. This uptick, coupled with the pressures of tighter delivery schedules and relaxed holiday return policies, means warehouses should expect a dynamic and unpredictable peak season environment. Adaptability, agile processes, and strong staffing will be essential for meeting demand. 
  2. Prepare for Larger Order Sizes
    When AI recommends, consumers buy – often in larger quantities. DTC average package sizes increased by 50% in 2021 alone. This pattern reveals the urgent need for warehouse layouts to be optimized to accommodate more units per order than in previous holiday seasons. 
  3. Brace for Viral Product Spikes
    A product going viral because of AI-driven campaigns can mean a sudden explosion in demand. With little to no way of predicting virality, warehouses must be prepared to accommodate these demand rushes at a moment's notice. Temporary or overflow facilities are expected to go from a warehousing advantage to a vital necessity. 


Warehouse Optimization Strategies with AI in Mind

As AI becomes more entwined with shopping behaviors, warehouses and distribution centers are exploring new approaches and strategies to confront emerging challenges. Let's look at four of the most effective warehouse optimization strategies to adopt ahead of this year's rapidly approaching peak season.

1: Embrace Flexible, Dynamic Warehouse Storage Solutions:
In an era marked by the unpredictability of AI-driven demand, weaving adaptability into the fabric of your warehouse is essential. Consider leveraging solutions like carton flow beds to ensure you’re prepared for demand spikes and viral product surges. Carton flow beds are designed to flood entire levels of pallet racking with gravity-powered tracks that can accommodate SKUs of varying widths. As demand changes, you can quickly pivot by re-slotting SKUs without having to invest in an entirely new storage system.


2: Maximize Storage with High-Density Solutions:
AI is expected to convince shoppers to make more diverse orders this holiday season. If you want to maintain efficiency, utilizing every inch of available space will be crucial. High-density storage solutions like SpeedCell empower warehouses to store more SKUs within a more compact, organized footprint, increasing storage density by 40-60%. Dynamic storage solutions like SpeedCell help increase storage density, shorten pick paths, and create a more efficient operation that will allow you to more effectively handle rapid changes in demand. With its unique design, SpeedCell can save time, space, and money by utilizing your existing space to adapt to a more dense storage footprint.


3: Transition to Dynamic Store Solutions:
Transitioning from static storage positions to dynamic storage achieves multiple warehouse optimization goals. Dynamic storage solutions not only optimize your utilization of space, they also optimize flow, increase efficiency, and boost SKU density. Oftentimes, a pain point that comes with static storage solutions is running out of space, which can especially ring true during the peak holiday season. With dynamic storage solutions like those offered by UNEX, you can easily store more SKUs in less space, quickly restock, stay organized, and better manage your order picking processes.

4: Boost Picking Efficiency with Mobile Picking Carts:
As the demand for swift order fulfillment becomes the norm, tools that enhance picking efficiency are more valuable than ever. Mobile picking carts, particularly those like UNEX SpeedCartt, empower workers to pick and transport items with less time, travel, and risk of injury. This means quicker order turnarounds and happier customers, especially during peak demand.

SpanTrack Carton Flow Beds

SpanTrack wheel beds are flexible carton flow beds that drop into existing structures to create the ultimate flow rack system for order picking operations, manufacturing facilities, and more.


Mobilize order picking processes with a flexible, fast solution. Suitable for organizing restocking, order fulfillment, seasonal demands, and more, SpeedCartt is reliable even in the most demanding warehouse environments.

SpeedCell Dynamic High-Density Shelving

SpeedCell is a dynamic high-density industrial shelving solution that maximizes space utilization within standard pallet racking, helping warehouse and backroom operations improve pick speed and accuracy for valuable time and cost savings.


Optimizing Your Warehouse for Peak Season

As AI drives innovation in the retail landscape, warehouses around the globe are confronting a fresh wave of challenges and opportunities. Navigating the ever-changing terrain will require a new level of agility, strategy, and efficiency – especially during the holiday season.

Even in the era of AI-driven unpredictability, warehouses of all shapes and sizes can use dynamic warehouse storage solutions, like those offered by UNEX to:

  • Maximize space utilization
  • Pick orders more efficiently
  • And build better, more seamless operations 

The era of AI-driven shopping doesn't have to be a daunting prospect. Success will be found by warehouses that invest in preparation, adaptability, and the right storage solutions to maximize efficiency. Let UNEX be your trusted partner in this journey. We provide proven warehouse optimization solutions, tailored to your unique needs. Ready to redefine your warehousing game in the AI age? Contact us today!