Supply Chain Trends

Part 2: How Is Omnichannel Retailing Affecting Logistics?

In last week’s article, we looked at the omnichannel retailing trend that continues to revolutionize the supply chain world in the 21st Century. These logistics innovations allowed companies like Amazon to become dominant in the industry, while forcing others – notably Walmart – to adopt similar techniques to be able to compete. Other companies, like Circuit City, were unable to change their ways quickly enough and soon went out of business.

This week, we’ll look more closely at how omnichannel retailing is affecting logistics – and possibly your own supply chain company.

Savvier Customers Force Retailers to Adapt or Die

Once the typical consumer became more comfortable with online shopping and eCommerce in general, a revolutionary change in retailing happened. Today’s customer is able to research and order a product online and either have it delivered to their home or pick up the item at the store. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter offer even smaller businesses the marketing reach to attract customers from all over the world.

Those smaller firms embracing multiple channels need supply-chain management capabilities as much as their larger brick-and-mortar brethren. This creates an opportunity for the wise logistics firm to increase their client base and possibly enter into new channels as well.

Brick-and-Mortar Stores Becoming Mini Distribution Hubs

With customers now being to able to order online and request “store to home” delivery, many brick-and-mortar retail establishments are essentially becoming their own mini distribution hubs. Product returns also play into this growing trend. Once again, the influence of Amazon on the industry is in play.

So instead of an online order being fulfilled by a retailer’s warehouse, the company may route the order to the store closest to the customer. Supply chain applications leveraging state-of-the-art data analytics algorithms for distributed order management help ensure that the right routing choices get made.

Your supply chain company needs to look at the use of similar software to optimize its own channel operations. Superior application of technology helps smaller supply chain firms compete with the bigger companies in a similar fashion as in the retail industry. Ultimately, omnichannel retailing is a still-developing trend that deserves your attention both now and in the future.

We’ll let an industry pundit have the final word. “Omni-channel commerce is driving the most interesting set of logistics challenges the supply chain field has seen in a generation. The most effective strategies and technologies are not known yet. Consequently, this will be an area closely examined for years to come,” commented supply chain expert, Steve Banker, for Forbes Magazine.

If your logistics organization is searching for the right talent for the office, look no further than ZDA. As one of the nation’s leading supply chain staffing agencies, we offer the vetted candidates able to make a difference for your company. Talk with us today!

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