Retail Supply Chain Insights Guest Contributors

  1. When Stores Call An Audible: Modern DCs And Growing Demand For Order Fulfillment Flexibility

    To say that DC operations aren’t what they used to be is a gross understatement. Twenty years ago, our biggest challenge was bringing a new store online, or perhaps the occasional integration of a new 3PL. Today, many of our DCs are accommodating tens of dozens of shipping partners (or more) and fulfilling not to hundreds or thousands of stores, but to hundreds of thousands or even millions of endpoints (i.e. consumers).  What a transformation. We’ve never before seen so much technology driving DC operations, and still we clamor for more of it. But the biggest need today isn’t more horsepower or square footage. It’s more flexibility.

  2. Want to Improve Your Customers’ E-commerce Experience? Revamp Your Return Policy.

    According to the latest research from Forrester, on average 33 percent of e-commerce orders are returned compared to about 9 percent for in-store purchases. The same research found that 81 percent of customers were more likely to make an online purchase if the retailer had an easy-to-understand return policy.

  3. An Automated E-commerce Order Fulfillment Strategy Is A Must-Have. Here’s Why.

    Although e-commerce currently accounts for only about 8 percent of total retail sales, its growth and potential are uncontestable. According to research from Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium, for example, e-commerce sales are growing 10 percent year-over-year, or roughly 3x the rate of total retail sales. To better illustrate this trend, one need look no further than e-commerce behemoth Amazon, which between 2010 and 2016 quintupled sales from $16 billion to $80 billion.

  4. Avoid Analysis Paralysis In The Retail Supply Chain

    Business analytics are all the rage. Pick a retail software application—any retail software application—and I guarantee you it’s got a built-in analytics module, or at least a dashboard, replete with colorful and interactive charts and graphs designed to keep line of business managers crunching numbers and modeling scenarios for hours at a time. These modules and dashboards are downright addictive, to the point that they can do more harm than good by causing analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis is a pathological disease that results from addiction to so-called “business intelligence” and “analytics” modules.

  5. The Impact Of The IoT In DCs

    There are plenty of opinions floating around concerning the burgeoning impact of the IoT (Internet of Things) on various aspects of the supply chain. From futuristic takes on auto-replenishment of consumables at the consumer level—think connected pantries and refrigerators that automatically order more ketchup or flour when those staples run low—to comparably mundane store-level inventory forecasting improvements, the increasing connectivity of data is poised to drive big supply chain change. Much of that change is happening in and around the DC.

  6. AV Over IP Creates New ROI Paradigm In Retail Environments

    Our lives — at work and play — revolve around computer networks. And in retail, most of the technologies we use are IP-based and connect to, or through, the network: VOIP/telephony, WiFi, cell phones, conferencing, control signals, access control, CCTV, etc. And that’s not to mention the impact of cloud computing on our daily routines. Everything lives through “the network.”

  7. Utilizing Feature Recognition As A Sales And Marketing Tool For Asset Protection Teams

    Retail places emphasis on loss prevention techniques which help companies recover losses. With criminals continually developing more sophisticated ways of stealing company assets — internally and externally — business has had to respond. Technology has been used to make detection techniques better and recovery easier.

  8. Manufacturer Brand Erosion: A Two Part Series

    A brand is more than just a name; it’s the identifier that creates the perception of a company among its customers. Walk into a grocery store, and you’re surrounded by brands. Grocery stores have in a sense become warehouses for product brands. But what about a store’s own brand?

  9. Intelligent Cash Handling Goes Mobile

    Mobile POS (mPOS) platforms are bringing new levels of convenience and flexibility to retail. Now, a sales associate at a small boutique doesn’t have to be stuck at checkout for the duration of a shift. Thanks to wireless connections, that associate can help a customer complete a transaction anywhere in the store with a tablet or smartphone.

  10. Add Inventory Management To Your “To Do List”

    When it comes to task management for your small to mid-sized business, don’t get so focused on sales that you neglect to add inventory monitoring and analysis to your “to do list.” Fail to acknowledge the value of this kind of protocol in a restaurant, for example, and you can wind up spending your hard-earned profit on food that spoils and winds up in the dumpster, not on the plate. The same is true for bar owners.