Holiday season is set to break online shopping records as credit card transactions continue to accelerate due to the global coronavirus pandemic, with overall e-commerce sales in the US expected to see *18% growth in 2020.
On the flip side, U.S. retail sales will decline *10.5% this year, including a 14% decrease in brick-and-mortar stores, therefore the spotlight will be on warehouses to meet consumer expectations and get packages out on time and accurately, according to SnapFulfil CEO North America, Don White.
And with the added pressure of social distancing within warehouse operations, easily accessible information data is paramount to improving efficiencies warehouse-wide, as well as having the ability to self-configure the software programme, creating a more agile and cost-effective solution.
White explained: “Pressure on warehouse operations is going to be heightened this holiday season for sure, driven by a massive uplift in e-commerce demand, while maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for employees. Therefore, businesses need to have the flexibility to modify their processes seamlessly and quickly to meet the challenges, without incurring additional costs.
“This is where a best-of-breed, cloud-based WMS, such as SnapFulfil, allows them to simply and quickly track progress and reconfigure changes to achieve the best results and most efficient fulfilment operations. Apart from optimizing layout and facilitating much more educated decisions, it also allows for the time and flexibility to rationalize procedures.”
But although the holidays is the season for giving, then January is increasingly the time for returns, typically costing US retailers upwards of $260 billion, so be sure not to forget reverse logistics. Revamping warehouse processes to drive faster fulfilment is a must, but an efficient returns process is just as important in driving a better customer experience.
Automating the operation with an advanced cloud-based WMS, featuring return management functionality, allows tracking and material flow processes, which can optimize the complete returns route from the dock to final dispositioning. Such software can seamlessly drive the transition from manual to digital returns tracking, enabling a more accurate and automated way of tracing returned products through the warehouse.
By providing insight into what was returned, why, plus whether it can be resold, the WMS enables a more streamlined returns process while helping evaluate the best options for returned inventory. Implementing a clear flow for returned goods also helps the operations team avoid inaccuracy, inefficiency and ultimately lost profits because of unclear procedures.
“Capturing the maximum value from goods sold this holiday season by implementing a cost-effective and efficient full service operation, has never been more important and, quite simply, should be a strategic priority. The technology is readily available, and the net result will be a significant increase in customer satisfaction leading to a much healthier bottom line this peak season and beyond,” White concluded.