When it comes to navigating change, modern marketers are old pros. It is especially true if you work in retail. The print on demand retail industry is constantly evolving, and businesses must stay ahead of the latest trends to remain competitive. Individual consumers expect more as well: more variety, convenience, faster delivery, and more personalized service. As we approach 2023, retailers should know several key trends to adapt and thrive in a changing market. Retailers cannot thrive and, in many cases, will only survive if they adapt to these new realities.
WHAT IS THE RETAIL SUPPLY CHAIN?
Inbound and outbound logistics processes result in the flow of finished goods from a supplier to the end consumer in the retail supply chain. Supplier relationships, retail warehousing, inventory management, picking and packing orders, shipping and carrier partnerships, managing returns, and other moving parts comprise the entire supply chain. An effective supply chain management plan ensures the timely delivery of the correct product in the correct quantity to the correct customers, meeting the needs of both the producer and the distributor.
CURRENT STATE OF RETAIL SUPPLY CHAINS
Now, global events are combining to create what appears to be a never-ending storm of disruption for retail supply chains. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly altered how retailers conduct business, implying that more than the traditional retail supply chain will be required. A lot more goes into creating an efficient and lean supply chain, such as integrating automation and technology, as well as adopting an inventory distribution model to expand customer reach and meet their expectations with fast, affordable shipping options. Even though free shipping is becoming more popular, achieving this with an efficient supply chain is possible.
HOW TO UTILIZE PRINT ON DEMAND TO IMPROVE RETAIL SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT?
1. Adapt To Changes In Consumer Demand
In 2020, consumer purchasing habits shifted dramatically as more buyers shopped online. While we can expect this effect to diminish slightly as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and vaccinations are distributed, retailers should expect some new purchasing habits to stick. Demand forecasting is an important business strategy because it allows you to predict, analyze, and understand future customer demand for a product.
There is only an ecommerce business with a demand. With a thorough understanding of demand, businesses can make informed decisions about marketing spend, production, staffing, warehousing, and other factors.
2. Focus on Fast, Convenient, And Reliable Fulfillment
Customers’ expectations for 2-day shipping are unaffected by a pandemic, and retail fulfillment is one of the most important components of an online retailer’s supply chain. Strategic eCommerce businesses devote a significant amount of time to improving the ecommerce order fulfillment process, which results in higher order accuracy rates and faster shipping — whether it’s converting brick-and-mortar retail space into dark stores to handle fulfillment, splitting inventory across warehouses, or implementing fulfillment software to speed up the picking and packing process.
3. Track Inventory To Forecast Demand
As your monthly order volume grows, you’ll need a system to track inventory in real-time to meet customer demand and expectations for quick shipping, especially if you have inventory spread across multiple ecommerce fulfillment centers. Controlling stock across your distribution network and understanding the demand for each geographic location will help you fulfill orders on time and give you insight into how much inventory of each product to keep in each location.
On the other hand, real-time inventory tracking and forecasting necessitates incorporating an inventory tracking system, such as inventory management software. It includes everything from tracking inventory from your supplier to keeping track of current inventory levels in each warehouse.
4. Automate For Efficient Inventory Allocation
There has been a significant push toward automated inventory management, which provides useful data that can influence your inventory allocation strategy. Whether your inventory is stored in a single warehouse or across a domestic or international fulfillment network, implementing technology that automatically tracks and displays inventory levels in real-time from a single dashboard is the best way to stay on top of your supply chain.
Product allocation automation eliminates the need to manually track inventory using spreadsheets, which also helps to reduce human error. You can use inventory automation software from print on demand service providers to create, manage, and merge SKUs, easily forecast demand, set automatic reorder points, see which items are selling quickly or slowly, and much more.
5. Outsource Ecommerce Warehouse Management
Warehouse management is an important part of establishing a proper retail supply chain. Inventory management, the picking and packing process, storage space and costs, shipping, and inventory distribution can all be influenced by proper warehousing. A print on demand fulfillment company provides storage space and picks, packs, and ships your orders from their warehouses or ecommerce fulfillment centers.
A reliable print on demand provider also employs a warehouse management system (WMS), software designed to optimize warehouse operational processes. A warehouse management system (WMS) provides real-time visibility into inventory levels and storage, staff productivity, demand forecasting, and fulfillment workflows across multiple warehouses.
6. Leverage Existing Fulfillment Center Networks
An experienced print on demand fulfillment company will expand its fulfillment capabilities by introducing new fulfillment center locations domestically and globally. When you work with a top ecommerce fulfillment company, your company can expand into new fulfillment center locations as it grows. It allows you to reduce shipping costs and accelerate last-mile delivery by fulfilling orders closer to your customers, regardless of where they live.
You can expand into new markets worldwide for an international logistics infrastructure, which includes access to data and analytics, as well as fulfillment experts, to help you make the best decisions as you optimize and expand your supply chain.
7. Optimize Your Retail Supply Chain To Remain Competitive
You must constantly improve and optimize your retail supply chain to remain competitive in an ever-changing industry. While meeting customer demand is a business’s goal, growing a business requires much more than establishing a well-run logistics strategy.
You don’t have to worry about investing in new supply chain technology or implementing the latest automation when working with a print on demand fulfillment partner. The right print on demand fulfillment partner will continue to optimize their operations using the latest supply chain trends and software to ensure your company’s supply chain is well optimized to stay competitive — even as your company grows and the industry changes.
IMPROVE YOUR RETAIL SUPPLY CHAIN WITH FULFILLPLEX
You save time, money, and a lot of headaches by outsourcing retail supply chain management to a top ecommerce fulfillment company like Fulfillplex. You can provide the best customer experience by focusing less on logistics systems and more on business growth. With an efficient fulfillment network, proprietary technology, and a team of experts who can help your business grow, the Fulfillplex team can help you optimize fulfillment logistics. Contact us to learn more about how Fuflillplex works.