Norwalk, CT (PRWEB) January 31, 2014
E-commerce and catalog operations are being challenged like never before. The 2013 holiday season demonstrated that the industry needs better ways to meet customer expectations and deliver products faster and later in the season without breaking the bank. As customers buy more online versus in a store, merchants are investing to better serve this changing customer behavior. What follows are some key observations by e-commerce and catalog operations experts who are sponsoring Multichannel Merchants 2014 Operations Summit on April 22-24 in Indianapolis, IN. The Operations Summit helps merchants boost productivity, cut costs and increase customer satisfaction by providing a gathering place for operations leaders to exchange ideas, tour leading direct to consumer (DTC) distribution centers and get in-depth training on topics like how to prepare for the 2014 holiday season.
Expect Higher Peak-Day Order Volumes in 2014
During the holiday period of 2013, most of our fulfillment clients experienced their largest year-over-year revenue growth ever! says Steve Johnson, Principal, Johnson Stephens Consulting, Inc. This reflects the massive shift that is now occurring from purchasing in-store to buying online. Consumers of all ages have caught on to show rooming and then making the final purchase via web retailers at the best price. This caused the November/December 2013 peak-day order volumes to be steeper than usual. Fulfillment operations must pay attention to this phenomenon for 2014; this will continue to demand more creative and automated solutions to meet this increasing peak demand.
E-commerce is Growing
In 2013 holiday e-commerce sales rose 9.3% and traditional retailers are saw their online sales increase . Mike Honious, Chief Operating Officer at supply-chain management firm OHL, says, “Looking at all of our eFulfillment customers from 2012 compared with this year, we experienced roughly 48% growth on orders fulfilled on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One specific big-box retailer customer experienced 75% online growth year-over-year for Black Friday, and 53% online growth from Cyber Monday in 2012. This continues to demonstrate the drive to supplement brick and mortar with e-commerce channels.”
John Berg, Principal Partner at ProShip, an enterprise, multi-carrier shipping software solution, says that his clients, too, saw big e-commerce gains. ProShip had customers shipping one million packages a day, guaranteeing shipping dates and seamlessly handling returns, he said. We cant wait to hear which customer will be the first to ship two million packages in a day!
Big Changes are on the Way Soon
As a result of the increase in e-commerce some industry experts are predicting big changes for the 2014 holiday season. What 2013 made abundantly clear is that the future of parcel shipping is hazy, says Brandon Staton, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Transportation Impact, a small parcel negotiation and parcel auditing firm. Both retailers and carriers say that they will make adjustments to ensure that similar problems are avoided next year. And while next Christmas seems a ways off, in terms of solving a problem of this magnitude, it might as well be tomorrow. This means changes potentially large-scale ones are on the way, and soon. Whether its as simple as retailers backing off those last-minute turnaround times, or as complex as carriers strengthening infrastructure enough to weather the next holiday storm, the implications are as uncertain as they are unprecedented.