Retail Hive Insights

Fulfilment

Welcome to our Insights page. Here you will find a selection of interviews, insights and surveys curated for our members, by our members.

Best Practice for DCs

Report

A lot of retailers are now going through range rationalisation, especially with grocers. For example Tesco has dropped from 39 ranges of mustard to 13. There’s a real opportunity for D2C to plug that gap.

Recently we asked 40 Fulfilment leaders what their primary investment area was:
Automation26%
26%
Pick & Pack15%
15%
Warehouse Management Solution11%
11%
Carrier Management11%
11%
Inventory Management11%
11%
3PL11%
11%
Tracking & other forms of customer communication5%
5%
Final Mile Options5%
5%
Returns5%
5%
A checklist of key findings from our recent, intimate D2C meeting:
  • Think of short term solutions to fulfil your customer orders. For example if you are in an FBA agreement with Amazon you may have to start fulfilling this orders directly. This should only be a short term solution, and only out of necessity (for example Amazon currently has temporary COVID safety measures, which limits what they can ship.)
  • Use this uncertainty to create an opportunity. If you are seeing a sudden demand of your product, use this opportunity to creative push for more online sales. For example existing retail staff have the potential to help drive more online sales. Use their product knowledge on digital channels to help guide customers towards new products. This can be done in different ways like WhatsApp sales consultants or YouTube tutorials on how to use the product.
  • Are dark stores now the future? When there are quieter periods set up video conference calls with customers where they can digitally see you interact with the products, and help them chose which product is best for them. This has the potential to drive up sales significantly.
  • For groceries, big retailers are starting to reduce the variety of products that they are selling, but are increasing the quantity of these products. For example Tesco’s may be reducing the mustard range from 18 to 8 types of mustard, but will be ordering more of those 8 mustards.
  • With the ‘new’ world being more digital than physical, the future is D2C. But for successful businesses the huge spike in online sales means that they are already meeting targets that were set for years in the future. With this escalation of online demand, how do you get your D2C eComm platform up to par? What factors do you need to consider? I needs to be as simple as possible and a lot of businesses will need outside help as this acceleration is huge.
Tips from our Focus on Fulfilment Digital Week:
  • With the volatility of the market, you should only be looking at short term and simple solutions. Larger (and therefore riskier) changes have the potential to put you on a trajectory you can’t get out of.
  • Automation is essentially a delicate balancing act. Too much automation now will waste valuable capacity which you will need for manual help during peak times.
  • Collaboration is all about finding a partner that understands your brand intrinsically, in order for them to become an extension of your brand.
  • Transparency and collaboration are key factors into making a business more agile. This agility needs to be ingrained into the work culture.
  • The pandemic world has opened our eyes to what truly is necessary and essential, if it doesn’t work in a crisis it doesn’t work at all.
  • Currently we are in the honeymoon stage with our customers, they are being more accomodating and polite with deliveries. However, this period will be over (and soon!) It is important to keep in touch with our customers to see how we can start to accommodate them.
  • Improving the returns experience could be the key to keeping customers loyal. Frictionless returns builds a trust between you and the customer, making them more likely to shop with you.
  • The pandemic has highlighted the operations team as the heroes of the business. Use this opportunity to push for more investment.
  • Push your suppliers to introduce you to their clients, in order to get an understanding of how the tech is working. Partners can become inflexible once you’ve created a relationship, so meeting with other clients will let you see how flexible they truly are.
  • Automation is a simple, one shot fix. Take time to understand what you are trying to fix, and what solutions will help you fix it.
  • Once you look to automate, brief the 3PL on what you are interested in. Charge them with all the research, presenting ideas, recommendations, and a plan, sourcing the right products that integrate with WMS & other systems, and ultimately managing the full implementation.

Stories of success during a time of uncertainty:

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