2020 e-Commerce Holiday Season has Set Sail – and May Stay in 2021

2020 e-Commerce Holiday Season has Set Sail – and May Stay in 2021

All aboard as 2020 is coming to a close and things are so different from how anyone forecasted them at the end of 2019! 

The pandemic has turned the world upside down with e-commerce sales drastically escalating and brick and mortar sales diminishing. This is causing a huge operational shift for suppliers by minimizing the number of pallet shipments out each month, which translates to an extraordinary number of small parcels out each day.

In fact, 2020 e-commerce sales are projected to have yet another record-breaking year.  Even retailers are rethinking their business model, seeking to reduce the number of distribution centers owned and asking their suppliers to do smaller drop shipped orders directly to stores so they’re not carrying excess inventory in these uncertain times. 

With the 2020 holiday season already sailing, and it’s not even Halloween yet, surveys show that consumers expect both fast and free delivery still, despite the supply chain challenges due to Covid and social distancing demands (ZD Net). However, 30% of consumers are planning to start holiday shopping earlier for fear of not getting what they want if they wait until after Thanksgiving.

Evolving shopping habits and tighter consumer and business budgets have also led to companies rolling out holiday cyber sales in mid-October and Amazon hosting its Prime Day then to clear space for holiday inventory.

It’s going to be an extremely difficult and intense workload for suppliers and warehouses supporting their retailers over the next few months as order volumes ramp up.  Unfortunately, suppliers’ options for efficiency are limited this close to the holiday shipping craze and other than hiring and training additional seasonal workers, it is best to work as efficiently as possible with processes currently in place and start 2021 off by simplifying with software.

Get Ready for 2021 with OPAL
This next year can be significantly better by partnering with OPAL to automate your order fulfillment systems.  Our customer testimonials say it all:

  • We dramatically reduced processing time per order (measured from time we took shipping labels off the printer to posting payments in A/R). Our end to end processing time was reduced to 2 to 2.5 minutes per transaction vs 10-12 mins before OPAL.

  • We have been able to scale the business without adding staff. In the pre-OPAL days we were handling approximately 200 orders a week with much effort and labor costs.  With Opal we’ve been able to increase our business and now we regularly process over 1,000 orders weekly with the staff redeployed to sales generation activities rather than order processing efforts.

  • We have benefited tremendously from the automation OPAL provides. From an order processing standpoint, the system automatically generates labels and pick lists, making our fulfillment process highly efficient. Our team is now able to process more orders in less time than before. The automation also provides peace of mind, as our team is unable to fulfill the same order twice, or fulfill an order with the wrong item. Inventory tracking is also much easier. The system is able to record bin locations so our warehouse team is able to easily find and pick items from inventory. 

  • Our process has been streamlined to a very user-friendly system. We have been able to add partners and customization is available if the need arises.  We have grown our business tremendously without having to add staff to process orders.

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management |Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world. 

To learn how to make your eCommerce business scalable with OPAL, click here!

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!

Can you Process an Order in Under 8 Seconds? OPAL Can!

Can you Process an Order in Under 8 Seconds? OPAL Can!

Brick and mortar stores have suffered horribly since March of 2020, when news of Covid began to arise in the US and government officials quickly mandated shelter-in-place orders and social distancing standards to slow the spread of the virus. 

As of July, more than 14,000 stores have closed in 2020 (Forbes) with many more expected to come. This pandemic has left companies who rely primarily on storefront business in horrible financial shape. It has forced businesses to pivot and quickly shift resources to their online presence to remain relevant and viable. It has also shifted consumer spending to more household and personal necessities, only reinforcing retailer’s reliance on e-commerce and their suppliers.

As a supplier to many retailers – have you been able to pivot and keep up?

 

Order Processing in Under 8 Seconds

Many suppliers are doing more business than ever in this pandemic, with consumers’ needs not only requiring more items to ship but expecting the same two-day turnaround provided prior to the pandemic.

As you may know, order processing with time constrains and increased volume can be your business’s weakness if handled manually or your strength when automated. With OPAL, automation means your backend processing is complete in less than 8 seconds and all that is left to do is pick, pack and ship the product to the customer! 

With the increased volume of orders and the expectation and mandates of social distancing at work limiting the number of people who can work each shift, the simplest solution to increase efficiency is through automating the backend order processing.

In addition to increasing your speed, OPAL saves your business the cost of multiple EDI charges per order. With the increase in volume and the individual drop shipments to customers, your business’s profit margin is diminished with charges like EDI. However, with OPAL, EDI is included in the price of the software and will no longer nickel and dime your business for drop shipping to customers.

 

Simplify with OPAL

OPAL is the only automated, self-driving order fulfillment software solution in the market today that:

  • Automates receiving orders from retailers and e-tailers
  • Manages all free EDI transactions 
  • Invoices orders in your accounting system
  • Updates inventory across all retailers in real-time to reduce errors
  • Sends inventory feeds to retailers for compliance requirements
  • Creates packing slips, custom branded 3rd party shipping labels per retailer’s requirements, bills of lading and UCC128 labels
  • Sends tracking information and invoices to retailer once shipped

To learn more about how OPAL can help your business simplify your order processing, click here!

 

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!

Why You Need Order Processing Software to Succeed

Why You Need Order Processing Software to Succeed

This past week, the race to drone delivery crept one step closer to reality– the FAA granted Amazon the “air carrier” certificate needed to operate a drone delivery network in the US. As only the third company granted approval, this certificate allows Amazon to carry packages beyond the line of sight of the operator and packages weighing under 5 pounds up to 15 miles in less than 30 minutes.

Amazon believes the future of eCommerce belongs to the company that can deliver packages before the confirmation email arrives in your inbox (The Verge). As the usual trend setter, they seek to be one step ahead of the competition so that they can help mold and influence the industry.

Successful suppliers will begin immediately working to quicken its order processing and warehouse efficiencies to be ready for when this trend eventually arrives. Automation through software is the easiest way to simplify supply chain and logistics for companies of all sizes.

 

Benefits of Order Processing Software:

  • Save time processing orders: a shift from manual steps to autonomous processes will increase your capacity for additional and accurate orders without the need to hire additional staff.
  • Reduce overhead costs: it takes time to enter data manually and then transfer information into the accounting system, but when automated it happens within a matter of seconds.
  • Increase data control: human error is the inevitable, no matter how careful during data entry. Automation significantly reduces the number of opportunities for error.
  • Faster shipping: automation allows you to quickly send orders straight to your warehouse for shipping.
  • Build stronger relationships with retailers: Retailers expect accurate and timely communication and business processes, and automation provides real time data across all inventory, processing, shipping documentation, etc. so that your eCommerce business reflects its dependability and accuracy.

 

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management |Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

To learn more about how OPAL can reduce your need for multiple software packages and simplify your order processing, click here!

 

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!

eCommerce Trends of 2020

eCommerce Trends of 2020

eCommerce Trends of 2020

As eCommerce continues to rapidly evolve and the definition of a new normal with shelter in place, social distancing and closures of non-essential businesses continues, shoppers are forced to embrace the new era of online shopping – for almost every need.

2020 Trends


Retail stores overall have seen a decline of almost 9% since January, with clothing and accessories seeing a plunge of more than 50% and an estimated 15,000 retail stores closing by year end (Forbes). However, odds are that no matter what you are looking for – from socks to furniture to supplies for remodeling – it can be shipped directly to your home in a matter of days by one of the million eCommerce suppliers in the market.  

Grocery shopping has even drastically evolved in 2020, with more than 40% of first-time online grocery shoppers trying services this year to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid. Last year, only 4% of grocery sales were online due to customer preference to select their own meat and produce. However due to the shift with Covid this year, Walmart reports more than 218% growth through its grocery app over the same time last year (CNN).

Commerce as a whole has seen incredible growth this year, crushing its already high 20% growth rate from 2018-19. With increased online access for more consumers and Covid’s shelter in place requirements, shoppers have more time to do research prior to purchasing and more marketplaces than ever to find additional products. (Digital River)

 

Speed and Scalability Required for Success


eCommerce businesses that can handle demand peaks and scale back resources when demand is slow will succeed in this new era of eCommerce. 

Shoppers expect accuracy and speed when purchasing goods online and having them delivered, which leaves your eCommerce business with little to no room for error with inventory reporting and shipping. Do your current processes and platforms set you up for success?

Software automation is the quickest and simplest way to take your business to the next level. Not only does it drive down labor costs and increase capacity to fulfill new orders immediately without having to hire or train additional staff, but it simplifies multiple process and software into one simple solution so that your eCommerce business is scalable and providing on-time deliveries to customers.  

 

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management |Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

To learn how to make your eCommerce business scalable with OPAL, click here!

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!

Conflicting Holiday Consumer Predictions Make it More Crucial for Suppliers to be Prepared

Conflicting Holiday Consumer Predictions Make it More Crucial for Suppliers to be Prepared

As we close out summer and begin preparation for the upcoming holiday season, one thing is for sure in this season of Covid – consumers will be spending money for the upcoming holiday season, no matter what.

According to Brandwatch, 44% of consumers think they’ll be spending less on holiday gifts and celebrations this year compared to last year.  However, Net Imperative argues that 85% of retailers believe online sales will increase this holiday season compared to last and are choosing to invest more in eCommerce website upgrades in preparation for this holiday season.

With such conflicting trends, how do suppliers and 3PLs plan ahead to be ready for this holiday season?

Agile & Scalable
Lack of clarity for what’s ahead leaves the burden of preparedness on suppliers and warehouses to make sure that they have not over hired for a slow season, but are ready if consumer spending is strong and requires a quick ramp up. Autonomous processes also allow suppliers and 3PLs to maximize warehouse efficiency to deliver more accurate and on time orders each day.

Simplify with Software
Shifting from manual steps to autonomous processes with software, increases your capacity for more accurate orders without the need to hire additional staff. It also improves order accuracy up to 99% and reduces processing costs to just cents per order. Upgrading with software also optimizes on time delivery to consumers, while managing compliant retailer transactions, real-time inventory and shipping documents. 

Holiday Hires
Implementing software will ensure you’re as efficient as can be, so that hiring additional staff for the holidays is minimal and cost effective. According to Inc.com, stores will require additional staff to meet the demands of curbside pickup and delivery, and recommend staffing up early since the competition will be stiff and the hiring surge could be so significant that it could affect temporary employment statistics for the fourth quarter.

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management |Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

No matter what happens this holiday season – whether it is slower because consumer spending is down or you’re busier than ever drop shipping across the world to meet the holiday demand, OPAL has you covered.

To learn more on how to simplify with OPAL, click here!

 

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!

Ready for the Holiday Shipping Rush?

Ready for the Holiday Shipping Rush?

Are you ready for the holiday shipping rush?

As your business begins to slow from this first phase of shelter in place for Covid and summer shipping rush, have you taken a moment to think ahead to what you could improve now to be ready for this upcoming holiday season?

According to Salesforce, in 2019 more than 50% of the entire season’s revenue was complete by December 3rd, with the majority of that buying frenzy occurring the week before, during and after Cyber Week 2019. 

With less than 4 months until this holiday craze begins and officials unclear on if there could be a second lockdown with the second wave of the pandemic, OPAL is here to help you prepare now for the next shipping craze ahead.

 

Automation Simplifies
This year has seen supply chains and logistics disrupted in nearly every major industry due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. With safety measures like social distancing reducing the number of employees able to prepare shipments in a day, to the couriers scrambling to deliver the excessive number of packages, ultimately the time between ordering the product and the consumer receiving the product became challenging if not impossible to meet with so many restrictions.

With OPAL, automation shifts your business from manual steps to an autonomous process, increasing your capacity for new orders without the need to hire additional staff and maintaining social distancing and safety requirements in your operation. 

Strengthens Relationships with Sales Channels
Retailers take their brand seriously and look for reliable suppliers who are able to keep up with the ever-changing demand. OPAL optimizes on time delivery to consumers, while managing compliant retailer transactions, real-time inventory, shipping documents and much more.

Up & Running Quickly
The lull before the holiday rush is the best time to make changes to your operations and processes and OPAL requires no downtime to setup and syncs to all accounting and ERP systems without customization required.  

 

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management |Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

OPAL is the only touchless, self-driving drop ship and order fulfillment software solution in the market today, working 24×7 even when there’s no one in the office.  It processes your orders and gets them ready for when your warehouse personnel arrive in the morning and optimizes the pick, pack and ship process to increase warehouse productivity by 25%+.

 

It Is incredibly difficult to predict anything with certainty during a pandemic, but to learn more about simplifying your processes this holiday season, click here! 

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!