New guide demonstrates how eCommerce marketplaces are impacting global online shopping trends.
If there’s any doubt about the impact of cash management solutions on the cost structure of retailers, consider this recent finding by IHL Group: Replacing manual processes with automation technology can save retailers an average of 200 to 500 labor hours monthly per store.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Walmart executives plan to announce a further tightening of their on-time, in-full (OTIF) policy to go into effect in April 2018. Whereas the previous requirement called for larger suppliers to deliver within a one- or two-day window 75% of the time or be assessed a fine of 3% of the cost of the goods in the shipment, the new requirement raises the target to 85%. Smaller suppliers will see their compliance target rise from 33% to 50%. OTIF targets vary by department, and some of AFN’s clients have seen higher OTIF requirements (as high as 95%) go into effect already.
Machine learning is key to the future of robotic item picking. But how will it overcome the three V’s of volume, velocity and veracity? The key may be in mimicking how babies learn.
Retail has changed a lot in just the last few years, never mind the past 10 or 20 years. In order to keep pace with today’s market and be prepared for the coming wave of even more demanding customers, retailers must eliminate their old and outdated habits before they can achieve improved profitability, greater sell-through and increased service levels.
How to Gain a Competitive Advantage in Today’s eCommerce Retail Buying Space.
Global trade continues to accelerate both in volumes and complexity, with the WTO’s most recent trade forecast revised to show improved growth in world merchandise trade volume. Just look at the numbers from Alibaba and their most recent Singles Day, where products were purchased from 192 countries. The number of tons shipped by ocean containers has multiplied many times over in recent years—almost 17 times—from 102 million tons in 1980, to 1,720 million tons in 2016!
Now more than ever, companies need to re-engineer processes and supporting systems.
Retail buyers and merchandisers are continuously tasked with sourcing new merchandise and comparing to existing products to ensure their product lines remain competitive in the marketplace. With multiple seasons and programs to support, it is challenging to identify new supply sources, review new products with existing suppliers, negotiate contracts and confirm timely supplier production runs.
Global supply chain risks result from a variety of factors including inadequate or poor product quality testing and supplier management programs. The volatile socio-economic climate coupled with the constantly changing regulatory demands from governments at all levels has created an environment where strong risk mitigation practices are not only a competitive advantage, but a critical lifeline for brand survival. Brand manufacturers and retailers must take measures to help ensure accountability and full supply chain transparency.
To stay ahead of the competition, brands need to deliver products that are new and fresh, while at the same time ensure they meet consumer demands, flex with production shifts, and navigate a myriad of sourcing challenges including quality and regulatory requirements. Maintaining current and accurate product specification and costing data is a difficult task, especially for global brands and retailers in industries where the products and styles change frequently.
Transporting goods internationally is more costly and complex than shipping them domestically. More parties are involved, lead times are longer, base transportation rates are higher and movements are subject to a host of assessorial charges that are difficult to decipher and calculate.
Following our previous discussion on traditional retail brands and off-price retailers, another strong category of enterprises which managed to survive the latest disruptions are wholesale companies. These shops focus on selling goods in bulk to large families (and individuals) and small businesses. The most prominent examples are Costco, Sam’s Club, and PriceSmart. With smart investment in PIM solutions, all three were able to increase their revenue at a time of general market downturn.
Another holiday peak season is in full swing and customers are buying goods faster than any other time during the year. Your staff is working hard, and putting in the extra hours to fulfill exponentially more orders than usual - if everything stays the course, your company could potentially bring in close to a third of its annual earnings for the year during this busy season alone.
Product Returns have become an accepted part of the shopping process for those retailers who have an established a digital presence, representing at least 30% of all the products ordered online. As a shopper, this sounds pretty reasonable if we take into consideration the need to try and test what we buy, but perhaps retailers can do more to reduce this rate. In comparison, only 8.89% of goods bought in brick-and-mortar shops have been returned during the last year.
The mere mention of autonomous transportation still evokes images from sci-fi movies for some people. However, the reality is that this concept is not pie-in-the-sky talk — it’s really here. And it won’t be long before it’s mainstream. In fact, PwC’s 2017 Commercial Transportation Trends report revealed that 2016 was a breakout year for new technologies in the commercial transport industry, even while many companies still resisted them.
According to the 2015 Manufacturing Report by Illinois-based accounting firm Sikich LLP, 53% of those polled are still using manual processes to measure key performance indicators (KPIs). Eleven percent of survey respondents reported using custom built/legacy applications to monitor their KPIs, and only 26% are using an ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution. So, if you’re reading this and your company still isn’t too far down the automation spectrum, it may offer some consolation knowing you’re in good company.