With an accelerated shift to online purchasing, consumers and businesses within the supply chain have been forced to change their buying habits due to the lockdown, which is likely to last beyond this pandemic. Brands are switching up their game plan and capitalizing on the e-commerce surge by going direct to consumer.
Consumer goods giant PepsiCo is an example of a household icon that has launched a direct-to-consumer (D2C) operation, supported by two new websites selling its range of brands.Currently for the US market only, PantryShop.com and Snacks.com give consumers a chance to buy goods directly from the supplier as opposed to purchasing through third-party retailers.
Their ‘bundles’are designed to meet consumers' home working and home-schooling needs during the COVID-19 lockdown, which has tangibly fast-tracked the D2C movement.
This type of new e-commerce will reshape the world of retail and business from now on in. It’s an opportunity for brands to take on established e-retail giants, such as Amazon, as well as grocery stores. It’s also an opportunity for them to gather valuable insight and data on their consumers.
A natural consequence of this sea-change is that the digital transformation of business will continue apace, with more automation to control stocks, fulfillment and delivery.
And this is where advanced cloud-based WMS really comes into its own. Flexible, quick and cost-effective to implement and suitable for warehouse operations of all sizes – from micro-solutions for local commerce activity to large-scale national facilities – WMS is an integral part of the new e-commerce world order.
Functionality rich software is designed to integrate with other solutions, creating a valuable ‘blockchain’ network of peer-to-peer transactions. This lets firms share information about a container just once, but everyone up and down the chain can see that data in an instant.
Importantly, by joining these silos into one cloud platform, Operations, Finance, HR or Marketing Directors can also access a real-time bird’s eye view of their business allowing them to make better, more efficient decisions based on solid data – essential as margins are tighter than ever.
Through blockchain technology, firms are also waking up to the value of the customer data trail and the loyalty they can harness through having a single customer view, which can only be achieved through integration and mapping each customers’ buying journey from start to end and beyond. And fulfillment is part and parcel of that.
Therefore, having access to reliable, real-time data from a WMS is a critical link in the chain, especially as businesses learn to adapt to disruptive forces, such as the current pandemic. We are working ever closer with customers to help them achieve their D2C ambitions - and it doesn’t require seven or eight figure investments in new technology.
An industry leading cloud-based WMS system has flexibility built in and can meet the changing needs of the modern retail market without being time expensive or time consuming to set in motion, or reconfigure –it’s possible to be up and running remotely in under 45 days.
It is not only intuitive and scalable, it also has the capacity to adapt and evolve with customer service innovations that the top-tier of retailers are repeatedly introducing, such as distributed order managing, waveless and priority based order processing and optimal returns processing.
So, while the business landscape is changing, it’s those firms who embrace the brave new post-COVID-19 world and make smart ‘blockchain’ technology investments – without a large capital outlay investment up front or costly infrastructure changes – who will reap the benefits.