eCommerce retailers need to have well-prepared supply chains ahead of the holidays, with the right amount of inventory located at the right locations. As retail competition increases, online retailers are already in the throes of preparing for another major peak season.
eCommerce sales continue to bust records and supply chain trends raise concerns:
- Forrester estimates that e-commerce revenue will account for 17% of total retail revenue in 2022.1
- Experts estimate that current supply chain disruption trends will not dissipate until 2023.2
- E-commerce sales during November 2020, which included Cyber Monday, reached $100 billion for the first time.3
Many retailers use last year’s data to better understand how, when, and where their customers shop during the holiday season. Using analytics, retailers can better recognize what products sold best, which customers bought what, and where products were purchased most – such as in the store or online.
And many retailers are finding that their revenues are growing despite the bad press that the retail industry has seen lately with the closing of stores. The reason – more and more people are still shopping, only they are doing it online.
What do you need to do to get your warehouse, fulfillment center, and in-store pickup areas in tip-top shape before the holidays?
Don't wait! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current supply chain disruptions like supply shortages and longer-than-usual shipping timelines, the time to prepare your fulfillment operations for peak season is waning. Many retailers are concerned about where and how they will store, prep, pack, and ship/stage for pick up thousands of orders coming in from various channels. Because of this, a chief concern in preparing for peak season is readying warehouses, retail back rooms, and customer pickup areas for a massive influx of orders, and after that, managing reverse logistics for all of the returns.
To eliminate these concerns, retailers need effective and efficient fulfillment storage and order picking solutions to support the seasonal peak.
Related Reading: Optimizing Retail Storage in Customer Pickup Areas
Here are some key tips to get your fulfillment operations ready for the holidays:
- Make sure your inventory is positioned for omnichannel so that fulfillment can occur for any sales channel. Putting the same inventory product into different channel segments strains efficiencies.
- Secure, hire, and training staff even though the holidays are months off. Making sure staff are trained on holiday processes and procedures will keep your operations running smoothly.
- Make order deadlines earlier in the season to reduce last-minute issues. Instead of having an order cut-off date of December 20, make the cut-off date earlier, giving your warehouse staff extra time to fill orders.
- Ship freight earlier to avoid having to use more expensive transport methods so that orders will arrive on-time at a consumers’ location.
- Organize your inventory. Don’t cram items in your facility. Not having your warehouse organized with adequate space for picking will lessen your efficiency.
- Expand your sales calendar so that holiday sales are not just held over a few days, but over a longer time to reduce the stress of the peak season and eliminate extreme peaks.
- Stress-test your warehouse during smaller holidays, like Labor Day, to see what works well and what doesn’t. Doing this will give you time to fix the problems before the holiday season.
- Deploy the right order picking solutions to speed efficiencies.
- UNEX SpanTrack carton flow to increase throughput by 150% compared to picking from a pallet.
- Shelf Track from UNEX replaces unreliable plastic wheel rails where boxes and cartons can get hung up.
- FlowCell carton flow boosts productivity by 30% by angling parts toward the picker, making picking faster.
- UNEX SpeedCell dramatically increases pick facings resulting in greater SKU density and less travel time.
UNEX provides a variety of omnichannel fulfillment and order picking solutions to increase SKU density and pump up pick rates to meet seasonal demands.