As e-commerce sales continue to grow, businesses need to invest in omni-channel fulfillment services if they’re to reap the benefit of evolving consumer behavior.
For businesses across a range of industries, there’s never been a better time to invest in your e-commerce operation. In fact, research based on figures from the U.S. Commerce Department shows that consumers spent $517.36 billion online in 2018 — an increase of 15% from the previous year.
However, developing strategies that can handle the different ways consumers and businesses now shop — at brick-and-mortar locations, wholesale, and online — is no small task. To pull this off, businesses need a wide variety of tools and facilities at their disposal. From cutting-edge management software to state-of-the-art warehousing, a lot goes into successful omni-channel fulfillment.
Whether you’re considering building your own omni-channel capabilities from the ground up or you’ve decided to develop strategic partnerships with third-party logistics partners (3PLs) that have the infrastructure to help you hit the ground running, it’s important to understand what goes into omni-channel logistics. By investing in the platforms, services, and facilities needed for this kind of operation, you can meet customers where they are and cater to their spending habits.
Greater Inventory Visibility
One of the key challenges in executing omni-channel fulfillment is understanding what inventory you have — and where. Because this kind of logistics operation involves sales from multiple platforms, it’s essential that supply chain managers ensure that the items customers purchase are actually available regardless of how they purchase them.
Investing in a warehouse management system (WMS) can help you master this — and experienced 3PLs will be able to offer you access to a WMS of their own. This software connects with assets throughout warehouses, helping stakeholders keep tabs on inventory levels from one facility to the next. This is especially important during peak periods because it allows businesses to coordinate supply chain operations based on shifting demand and ensures that you can plan far enough ahead to avoid selling out.
Efficient Order Management
Omni-channel logistics is defined by fulfilling orders from multiple points of sale: in person, online, over the phone, and more. To meet all of these orders, businesses need sophisticated protocols in place that can coordinate purchases from different platforms, track them through the fulfillment pipeline, and account for them once delivered.
To that end, an order management system (OMS) is essential. The right OMS can account for orders placed in-store, online, or through other points of sale. With 3PLs that offer OMS capabilities, you can coordinate warehouse inventory with incoming orders and track them as they work their way to their final destination. For businesses syncing e-commerce platforms with brick-and-mortar sales, OMS software can help you make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Tactical Shipping Operations
With e-commerce giants like Amazon conditioning customers to expect affordable, fast shipping, the pressure is on other businesses to follow suit. Indeed, research suggests that Amazon’s popularity has a lot to do with their shipping options — and this gives other enterprises an opportunity. According to a recent survey, 65% of consumers said they’re willing to abandon Amazon for other e-commerce outfits if they can match Amazon’s shipping practices.
Accordingly, it’s important that omni-channel logistics prepare businesses to accomplish just that. By partnering with experienced 3PLs, for instance, you can access warehouses and other logistics facilities across the country — all without having to invest directly in real estate yourself. Distributing inventory across multiple nodes like this can help you service population centers quickly and cost-effectively.
Transportation management systems (TMS) are also a key part of this puzzle. By keeping tabs on fleet vehicles, coordinating routes, and accounting for persistent bottlenecks, this kind of software can keep delivery on track and help you pass on your logistical savings to your customers.
Investing in Omni-Channel Fulfillment
While larger operations may have the resources to get their own omni-channel fulfillment program up and running, it can be a challenge for small- and mid-sized businesses. However, partnering with a 3PL or integrated logistics services provider (ISP) can afford the same level of infrastructural support without having to make costly capital expenditures yourself.
With a track record of excellence in the shipping and logistics space, Primary Logistics has the expertise and experience you need to get the most out of your supply chain. From an award-winning customer service team to sophisticated logistics facilities, we offer growing businesses the support they need to thrive.
If you’re looking to invest in your e-commerce fulfillment operation, we can help. If you’re looking to benefit from top-tier warehousing and distribution capabilities, we can help with that, too. In fact, Primary Logistics offers a wide range of services that online retailers need to expand in today’s shipping and logistics landscape. So, whether you’re ready to invest in omni-channel fulfillment services now or you just want to learn more about what an experience 3PL or ISP can do for you, reach out to us today to get the conversation started.
If you’d like to learn more about how award-winning shipping and logistics services from Primary Logistics and Primary Freight, contact us today at (800)-635-0013.