If the $342 billion in U.S. eCommerce sales in 2015 isn’t enough to catch your eye, the fact that such sales have risen steadily over the last six years should.
This exciting shift in the sales landscape has also created complications for companies that are now serving multiple channels. Many have responded by creating multiple distribution infrastructures and strategies, instead of creating a master fulfillment strategy to serve all sales channels.
To effectively harness your piece of the growing e-commerce pie, while sustaining excellent service to your retail customers, your company needs a solid multi-channel fulfillment strategy.
B2C and B2B Fulfillment Require Different Skills, Not Different Infrastructures
Retrotech Inc.’s Thomas O’Dette says, “Traditionally, retailers have only had to distribute inventory to retail stores. The addition of new channels presents the need for B2C fulfillment, increasing the number of daily orders to be processed, along with a low line and unit count order profile.”
This presents a different set of operational challenges and a requirement for new competencies for efficient B2C fulfillment. But it shouldn’t result in redundant systems and distribution infrastructures. A sound multi-channel fulfillment strategy seeks to integrate the back-end operations, regardless of where products are being shipped.
When done right, integrated multi-channel fulfillment provides solid benefits like:
- Reduced inventory.
By fulfilling B2B and B2C orders from the same inventory pool, you avoid maintaining buffer inventory at separate locations.
- Reduced infrastructure costs.
If the volume of online orders does not warrant its own dedicated facility, then there is no need for separate warehouses. Inventory can be divided into three regions of the warehouse, including a pick & pack area, a pallet-pick area and a common bulk replenishment area. This approach lets you run lean, keeping just enough inventory to meet total customer demand through all your sales channels.
- Improved inventory management and visibility.
By using a single information system to manage inventory for all your channels, you gain visibility into one, universal inventory pool and you can allocate product to any channel, in advance and on the fly.
Multi-Channel Fulfillment: Does Outsourcing Make Sense?
The diverse range of channels that consumers are now using to shop both online and offline is pushing more companies to provide seamless multi-channel order fulfillment processes. Sometimes, it’s faster, easier and cheaper to meet this goal by outsourcing to a fulfillment expert.
At Amware Logistics, we know that multi-channel support is a foundational aspect of outsourced distribution and fulfillment. We enable and support the back end multi-channel processes that your company needs to consistently deliver on your customers’ high expectations, every time.
For more information, contact Amware today.