There’s no doubt about it, the world of retail has evolved. Digital has taken over… or has it? While many of us choose to do significant amounts of our shopping online, how many actually prefer the experience? It turns out not all that many at all, in fact 90% of people would rather buy from a physical store – including myself if the mood takes me! This is reflected in the fact that physical sales still account for 89% of all retail purchases (in the UK).
Be honest, have you ever bought multiple sizes of clothes or shoes online to see which is the best fit, then returned the others using the free returns process? Worse still have you or your friends ever worn an item once then returned it? There’s no doubt about it, many retailers are struggling with the challenges posed by an increased number of customers returning items.
Does anyone enjoy shopping for wedding gifts? When there isn’t a registry to follow, the pressure of searching high and low for a present that offers the class and practicality to meet ceremonial expectation is enough to make anyone skip out on the event altogether. Unfortunately, I found myself faced with this very problem.
Home delivery has made shopping far more convenient – unless, that is, you’re out when the courier calls. While missed first-time drops are a nuisance for consumers, for courier companies they’re a serious issue as delivery costs sky-rocket. And with internet sales growing – warehouses believe they’ll ship 83% more items by 2020 – delivery firms are looking for new ways to get orders into people’s hands more quickly and cost-efficiently.
Achieving flawless fulfilment is top of the priority list for retailers as customer expectations continue to rise. As a result, warehouses are under increasing pressure to improve performance, with 76% planning to ship more items across additional locations by 2020. As retailers sharpen their focus on cost reduction, they must find new ways to maximise efficiency throughout their entire supply chain operations or risk failing behind competitors. Many warehouses have already created extremely sophisticated workflows that appear to offer little room for any substantial improvements in performance. However, advances in technology are enabling retailers to improve the efficiency of their processes and make significant productivity gains.
Ever paused to think about how supermarket shelves are stocked and the army of unseen logistics firms that make sure everything we need is there when we want it? Palmer and Harvey in the UK is one such hero business.
The UK retail sector will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. The challenge for retailers to satisfy customers is now greater than ever. Customer loyalty is at an all-time low whilst expectations have never been higher. Retailers are now expected to provide an effective service across multiple channels whilst maintaining a sustainable cost model. At the same time, it’s imperative that your business is consistent in its processes across all channels from start to finish. Consumers expect the same experience whether in-store, online or via mobile.
What do you do if you run a successful business and yet have to rely on consultants to tell you how much stock you have at any particular moment in time? Prénatal Moeder & Kind B.V, the leading Dutch maternity products distributor and retailer, was in such a position, employing an external company to run automated inventory counts across its 19 megastores and 40 city stores throughout the Netherlands.