In the UK, there has been huge growth in ecommerce with many people now opting to purchase products over the internet from the comfort of their own home. According to Retail Research, 2014 could see more than £44 billion being spent online - with almost £8 billion coming from mobile sales alone.
Business with retail outlets in town centres have been seeing a shift in sales patterns, with many customers now actively browsing the internet to compare prices while shopping in store. With these changes in consumer behaviour and spending habits, businesses need to look carefully as their supply chains to ensure that are working effectively and supporting their business to cope with the demands of ecommerce.
This growth is set to continue, giving greater reason for all businesses to rethink their supply chain strategy in a bid to meet these new customer demands.
24/7 Supply and Demand
With buying online comes the convenience of shopping at home at any given time – rather than being restricted to shop opening hours, but with this also comes a certain expectation level from customers.
There is a growing on-demand mentality that has spread to the whole buying process. Customers want a service that is convenient for them across the board and this covers more than your online shopping cart. Delivery times and charges, ease of return and tracking items are all now a crucial as part of successful ecommerce as is the growing trend in click and collect services.
It’s vital to review your supply chain strategy to make sure it can cope with these new demands.
Another issue resulting from ecommerce is the increase price comparison behaviour from consumers as the internet makes this so easy. Now rather than just worrying about your local or national competitors businesses need to be competitive often against a global market place.
The effect of this has been to make cost an even more acute issue and this pressure on costs has a direct effect on supply chains requiring them to run at maximum efficiency in order to remain competitive.
Reacting to Flash Trends
Did you see that dress X was wearing, where can I get one!
A phenomenon of the internet and in particular social media is how quickly the word can spread. A celebrity where’s your dress and suddenly everyone wants it. Great you think until you find out your out of stock and won’t get any more for month’s by which time the flash demand has past.
Could your supply chain cope with flash demand? In today’s ecommerce world you need to be able to react fast to increases and decreases in demand this way you can maximise sales and reduce excess inventory.
Reviewing your Supply Chain Strategy
Successfully reviewing your supply chain not only requires understand your customers and the affect ecommerce has on their behaviour, but also requires experience.
Only through experience can you be sure that you have taken into account all the factors that ecommerce brings to the table and be sure your supply chain up to the challenge.
There are two ways to get this experience one is through trial and error, which can be very costly and the second is to seek help from an expert.
Getting help from a ecommerce supply chain expert will have a cost attached, but can in the long run save you money by helping you improve your supply chain strategy while avoiding the pitfalls.
Total Logistics are experts in all aspects of supply chain management and have worked with a number of businesses in adapting to the demands of ecommerce - view Total Logistics multi-channel retail projects.