Note: Today’s post is part of our “Editor’s Choice” series where we highlight recent posts published by our sponsors that provide supply chain insights and advice. This week, Logitsyx Technologies asks if retailers are ready for peak season.
Peak season is always stressful for the retail industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic could create more issues than usual. Retailers can no longer rely on their usual playbooks, with planning cycles completely upended. For example, there is currently as much as an eight-month lead time for goods from China, and most companies haven’t placed orders, waiting to see the extent to which the pandemic will subside and economies will stabilize. And even if businesses place orders today, can suppliers fulfill these orders given the disruptions in their own supply chains?
2020 will yield a very different peak season, with retailers firing marketing engines to promote whatever goods they can get their hands on and even re-marketing unsold spring and summer merchandise as the new “it” items for fall and winter. And will consumers even be willing to shop in-store during peak? Safety and social distancing protocols will remain for the foreseeable future, likely with limits on the number of customers allowed in a store at a given time. It’s conceivable brands will forego big in-store sales to avoid overcrowding and retailers will reduce changing room capacity to enforce social distancing. These shifts in the in-store experience, when combined with anxiety about the virus’s spread, could mean stores of all sizes will experience substantial reductions in foot traffic–and sustained surges in e-commerce orders as a result.
Retailers will have to do their utmost to attract shoppers during this peak season and provide them with a satisfactory buying experience. A key ingredient will be on-time e-commerce order fulfillment, and smart retailers will make sure e-commerce fulfillment operations are scalable and flexible enough to cost-effectively support different order fulfillment processes and satisfy the customer from product discovery to delight.
Now is the right time for retailers to review their transportation strategy and consider the lessons they’re learning during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, is the transportation strategy flexible? Is it scalable? Has it met the demands of this unusual environment? Or are changes necessary?
Here are six opportunities for retailers to optimize their transportation strategy to meet 2020’s peak season challenges.
Click HERE to read the full article.