WMS technology innovator, SnapFulfil, is already seeing a fulfillment
year where companies still focussed on retail locations and outlets must
be nimble enough to grow e-commerce operations to survive.
2020 saw the guillotine come down on many established brands and unless
companies step up their online presence with an adequate operations
portfolio to augment B2B with inevitable B2C and DTC requirements, they
will face a similar fate.
SnapFulfil CEO North America, Don White, explains: “The consumer market
has shifted to an e-commerce focus much more rapidly than any analysts
anticipated, due to mass ‘stay at home’ orders during the pandemic and
the subsequent closing of sizeable retail outlets/bricks and mortar
shopping centers. Unfortunately, I don’t see how – or truly why – a
shift back will occur.
“However, I do think macro-economic improvements driven by the
vaccination program and a subsequent return to more ‘normal’ economic
times will improve consumer demand.
“Aside from the massive online shift, the rash of business closures, due
to a year of economic strife, will also see the growth of smaller, more
agile and dynamic 3PL service providers to fill the vacuum created. From
a channel-specific standpoint, those operations will successfully chase
new customers, but need to hit the ground running with stable and
reliable e-commerce fulfillment operations.
“The more tech savvy elements of our supply chain industry should
therefore expect and plan for a steep increase in demand for more agile
and adaptable cloud-based solutions.”
Investing in cost effective infrastructure and technology that can
quickly adjust and pivot with a business is more important than ever.
The face of retail and shopping malls has changed for good and retailers
will have to become genuinely omnichannel to provide the choice, value
and convenience customers increasingly expect.
Therefore, traditional stores may not disappear but evolve to become
micro-fulfilment hubs in terms of click & collect and product returns,
which are both vital components of the e-commerce offer.
White adds: “Digital transformation is fundamental to survival going
forward and as a driver of efficiency and accuracy will further
streamline how e-commerce organizations operate, ultimately giving them
a tangible competitive edge.
“Operational complexity means they will look to more robust and flexible
software systems – such as advanced, cloud-based WMS that can benefit
from the likes of remote implementation and self-configuration for even
greater responsiveness, control and savings.”