How to navigate the changes e-commerce brings to retail, logistics
As children, we are told that Santa Claus delivers millions of toys to children worldwide all in one night. The jolly elf was and is the most adept and prolific logistics provider in history, to be sure.
We mere mortals at On Time Logistics are pretty good at getting items from A to B in quick time, however. Our experience, accompanied by statistics from the retail industry, tells us that e-commerce during the holiday shopping season has an increasingly intense impact on how retail and the logistics and warehousing industries work together.
Last week we talked about how Black Friday could be changing towards more of a cyber holiday and how e-commerce was becoming a week-long sales extravaganza for many retailers. We talked about how businesses will need to start offering week-long sales instead of big ones on a single day. We also discussed how logistics companies like our own are joining in the need for seasonal help, much like our retail partners.
Logistics on both sides of the supply chain
Before e-commerce, retailers only had to be aware of how products made it to their store. Now, they must also be concerned with how their products get to the customer. This means managing the supply chain on both sides of the equation to ensure quality, efficiency and professionalism.
We recommend that when working with larger logistics providers that small business owners find out as much information as possible about their last mile delivery partners. After all, it will be this company that is more likely to deliver items, especially during a busy delivery season.
When making local or regional deliveries, we highly recommend seeking out a smaller logistics provider for a direct business relationship. We recently gave five tips for finding a delivery service provider and we stick by those tips. We would add that if you have customers ordering from outside your area, that you find a delivery service that operates in multiple markets. For example, we now have offices in Tulsa and Little Rock.
People are always key
Automation, e-commerce and other efficiencies often make it seems like that personal touch is less important. Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, as we shared in this blog, it’s vital to maintain positive, human customer service in a decreasingly personal business environment.
What we’re also seeing is that while fewer workers might be needed in a physical store, people are needed in other parts of the retail process. Whether it’s fulfillment in the warehouse or hiring delivery personnel, having a competent workforce will always be vital to success.
Creating a new normal
We agree with other logistics experts who say that what the retail and logistics industries face creating a new normal from old and emerging ideas and processes. Customer service will always be paramount, but what that looks like and the retailer’s involvement throughout the process is rapidly changing. We’ve already seen a major shift in holiday e-commerce and expect the shift to continue in coming years.
Are you needing last mile delivery service this holiday season? We recommend our new online ordering for same-day delivery in Northwest Arkansas. Or perhaps you’ve seen this changing trend and want to be prepared for next year. Give us a call for your logistics needs in Northwest Arkansas, Tulsa and Little Rock.