Rising E-Commerce Demands Are Significantly Impacting Retailers

Online shopping is on the rise and is set to continue to become the dominant way to purchase our essential goods. Customers now expect and demand a seamless shopping experience.

Jumping on the ecommerce train isn’t an easy thing to do, though, and it raises a key point: once a company decides to move to meet a complex demand, it requires a deeper level of automation, which in turn requires a considerable investment in new technology. But which ones are the right or most appropriate?

The recommendation is to focus first on the need of the business, and then select the set of technologies that best fits that need. Renovotec & Datalogic specialise in E-Commerce solutions, many of which provide the ideal solution depending on the application. The right solution is one that can adapt to your changing needs.

Request your copy of the “E-Commerce Journey Solutions Guide”

E-Commerce Challenges Retailers Are Facing

Supply chain complexity

Rising e-commerce is having an increasing impact on retailers, including those businesses with established “brick and mortar” networks of stores within assigned territories. Supply chain complexity has increased dramatically and the concept of “omnichannel” is now a “must have” component of companies’ logistic strategies.

It is worth noting that most of the well-known retail brands that already have well established physical store networks will move up to 50% of their business to online sales over the next 5 years. “Click and collect”, “home delivery”, “try before you buy”, “drive-through”, and “PUDO” are some of the choices available to consumers today for a more enhanced customer experience.

The new challenge of returns

A traditional logistic centre is a fantastically complex structure, designed to accept items in an inbound area, splitting and recombining them according to order fulfilment requirements, and finally preparing the outbound product stream for shipment. This seemingly one-way flow is not always a natural fit with the opposite stream of returned items. The cost of managing returns is sometimes too high in comparison to the original item value, implying that it would be easier to ship the customer a replacement item, and not bother with the return. However, in most situations, processing a return is a value added feature, one that is highly appreciated by customers, as they consider it a way to “try before you buy”. It’s a great way for retail vendors to leverage sales and increase customer trust and retention.

Two-way direction of product flow

E-commerce presents a fundamental shift in how consumers shop. Instead of firms pushing cases and pallets to physical stores, e-commerce has consumers pulling customised baskets to their desired location, whether at home, a nearby store, or other convenient location such as a locker. This push-to-pull transition has created a structural change in underlying supply chains, and the movement of products, location of assets, delivery modes, and the enabling technologies and analytics have also adapted.

Dimensioning

Detecting the physical volume of shipped items is a fundamental requirement for most e-commerce supply chain stakeholders. The dramatic increase in the number of shipped items (parcels, bags, flats) and their average reduced dimensions makes the volume calculation a critical feature for the following reasons: improved shipping efficiency (truck loading), revenue recovery and secondary packaging optimisation. Datalogic provides an off the shelf high-speed dynamic Legal for Trade dimensioning solution.

Fulfilment

Order fulfilment is at the heart of any Distribution Centre. It is achieved in several ways, from manual picking of individual items in the warehouse, to automated sorters that provide throughputs upwards of 20,000 items/hour. Order fulfilment is paramount as it impacts every aspect of the Distribution Centre, given that it needs be accomplished in the shortest possible timeframe. During peak seasons in particular, order fulfilment triggers many processes and requires buffer areas with dimensions based on forecasts and predictions. Huge amounts of data have to be processed to keep up with the various automated data capture processes (storing, picking inventory, etc.). Order fulfilment is much more than the sum of its parts.

Sorting and shipping

If order fulfilment is the core application inside a Distribution Centre, then sorting and shipping are its direct counterpart within a logistic hub: the order is fulfilled, the packages are complete, and the next step is to move the items from inbound to outbound in the quickest and most efficient way.

Last mile delivery

As the item moves into the final step of its journey to the end customer, last mile delivery becomes the single most important activity. This involves two steps: route optimisation for efficient delivery (for both cost and time savings), and POD (Proof of Delivery) to provide the necessary confirmation that items have reached their destination. Using a rugged portable device with a wide screen and an up-to-date OS is the ideal choice for completing last mile delivery.

Contact us for E-Commerce Solutions for the above key challenges

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