Across the retail industry, eCommerce is continuing to expand and dominate a wider range of markets. In fact, data indicates as much as 51% of Americans prefer shopping online as opposed to visiting brick-and-mortar stores. This is leading to physical retail stores shuttering their doors and moving the bulk of their operations online.
This is nothing new: Shopping habits have been trending toward more eCommerce transactions for more than a decade. The rise of companies like Amazon that promise affordable prices and rapid product delivery have elevated consumer expectations, further cementing eCommerce’s role in today’s modern economy. Thanks to internet-enabled smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, and Apple’s Homepod, purchasing household goods is now as easy as asking a speaker to order more dish soap.
Addressing Industry Shifts
This shift in shopping habits is forcing substantial changes in the logistics industry and the way companies do business. For decades, companies have relied on supply chains that carry retail goods from import and production points to centralized sales outlets. Today, these companies are developing innovative workflows and tech-driven solutions that put goods directly into consumers’ hands. They are pushing to drastically reinvent everything from product stocking to final delivery strategies.
Due to increasing consumer expectations, supply chain leaders must be ready to ship individual goods at a moment’s notice directly to the end consumer. For this reason, forecasting consumer demand is becoming an integral component of supply chain planning.
Supply chain leaders also need to innovate and implement “last-mile” solutions that move products from local distribution centers to consumers’ doors. For instance, Amazon’s proposed drone delivery program is a prime example of the innovative thinking necessary to solve ongoing last-mile delivery challenges.
The adoption of eCommerce is an international phenomenon that isn’t isolated to a single country or age group. This means supply chain leaders must develop strategies to move products across borders rapidly, effectively, and efficiently. In turn, they are relying more on partnerships with freight forwarders and export management firms to provide expedited delivery and further minimize the number of stop offs, resulting in a more efficient supply chain.
Innovating Tech-Based Solutions
Thankfully, the very technology driving these industry changes is making it possible for supply chain leaders to quickly and effectively adapt to a shifting market.
Advances in technology are enhancing providers’ supply chains and facilitating faster and more efficient delivery of products to end consumers. For instance, cloud-based transportation management systems (TMSs), allow logistics experts to efficiently organize shipments, determine the optimal transportation provider, tender the shipment to the provider, and have visibility to shipment from pickup to delivery all in a single, easy-to-use platform.
The data analytics a TMS provides also makes it easier to predict consumer demands. By keeping a careful watch over the details of the supply chain, users can identify and eliminate inefficiencies, while addressing potential bottlenecks before they disrupt deliveries to end consumers.