This past year has been a challenging time for many companies as they scramble to meet higher consumer demands for essential goods and an assortment of physical goods, while dealing with supply chain issues globally.
Prior to the pandemic, personal consumption of physical goods had steadily decreased as consumers focused on entertainment, travel and dining out. However, with so many staying home or reducing activities outside of the house to limit exposure, personal consumption has grown to 20% above what it would have been had the pandemic not ever occurred.
This shift has wreaked havoc on eCommerce businesses as they maneuver supply chain issues and ever-increasing inflation rates.
With more than 60% of buyers altering they way they shopped in the past year, it’s no wonder the challenges eCommerce businesses and supply chains are experiencing.
As consumers face issues with backordered products, more than half will change their selection to different products that are more readily available. Businesses who can update online systems or train customer service representatives to provide the next level of customer service and offer alternatives within their own inventory will see success and not lose the business to other competing businesses.
Everyone has a story from the past year of experiencing shortages with essential items like toilet paper and disinfectant cleaning supplies.
Unfortunately, this is due to “zero inventory models,”the trend in how companies typically handle inventory with only keeping on hand what they can immediately sell. This does not include overstock because it is viewed as reducing waste, but as we’ve seen does not allow for the increased demand causing shortages and empty shelves.
Many companies utilize inventory management software that tracks patterns, such as when cities were shutting down to shelter in place and shelves were empty of essential items or seasonal demands.
Software has allowed businesses to find the balance between excess inventory (waste) and having enough for consumers to purchase to better handle the increasing demands of consumers.
This pandemic allowed many to jump to new opportunities with completely new career paths and has led to a labor shortage. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 11 million job openings, with the largest deficit in accommodations and food services.
The unskilled labor market, which includes restaurants, fast food, retail or manufacturing facilities, has the largest challenge with attracting and keeping good talent.
Businesses are having to pay premium wages, focus on company culture, and offer benefits and numerous perks to entice employees to sign on and stay.
Overcoming Challenges in the New Year
Analysis of the past few years and strategic thinking for growth ahead will be critical for the coming year. As your business begins tweaking and automating more processes, keep these critical components in mind as you consider new approaches with software.
– One Comprehensive Solution
Reduces the cost of multiple software packages needed for your order processing and fulfillment needs, so that you can keep up with increasing consumer demand.
A shift from manual steps to autonomous processes increases your capacity for more, accurate orders without the need to hire additional staff.
– Pick, Pack & Ship
Automation drives labor costs down and increases capacity to fulfill new orders immediately, without the hassle of hiring and training new staff.
– Strengthen Relationships with Sales Channels
Optimizes on time delivery to consumers, while managing compliant retailer transactions, real-time inventory and shipping documents.
– Eliminate EDI Charges
Connection to all retailers, suppliers and warehouses without 3rd party charges.
– Up & Running Quickly
No downtime required in 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 to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.
As your eCommerce business looks to optimize processes for this coming new year ahead, OPAL is here to partner with you in your growth.
To learn more about how your eCommerce business can thrive in the holiday season ahead 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!