Customers know what they want, and they know where they want to shop for their products. While you would expect to hear people rushing to the nearby stores in your area, instead people are rushing to their computers, smartphones and tablets to access the wealth of e-commerce stores available at their fingertips. E-commerce has definitely changed the way people shop for products, opening up new opportunities for sourcing and distribution networks around the globe. Even small businesses with only limited brick-and-mortar store locations in one region can now sell their products to people across the country as they require a more viable method to handle this sudden demand increase from customers.
E-Commerce Sales Steadily on the Rise
In a 2015 quarterly retail sales report released by the United States Census Bureau, it was seen that e-commerce retail sales for the 2nd quarter of the year were at a 4.2% increase from the first quarter, or $83.9 billion, when adjusted for seasonal variation. The 2nd sales quarter of 2015 was also 14.1% higher than the e-commerce sales reported in the 2nd quarter of 2014.
With the ease of how customers shop for the products they desire at the prices they want to pay, e-commerce has required companies to take a long, hard look at their current supply chain processes. The demand for products can start to burden distribution centers and warehouses if they are not prepared for the seasonal changes and rush of customer orders. Your company has to also take into account the need for more suppliers, order fulfillment centers and return product centers located in regions where there is a high e-commerce demand.
E-Commerce Logistics a Factor in Sourcing, Storing and Distributing Products
Research conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle has revealed that such a rising demand of products is rapidly changing the playing field for e-commerce logistics. With global markets increasing the challenges for sales and order fulfillment, your company may be deciding whether the opening of more e-fulfillment centers, parcel hubs and delivery centers is a strategic advantage over your competition. By utilizing smart e-commerce logistic models and e-sourcing technologies such as FlexRFP, your company can make the right choices in deciding which suppliers to use in certain regions that sees the highest demand of products who can handle tightening deadlines even during the holiday season.
E-commerce Also Changing the Market to an Omni-Channel for Enhanced Shopping Experiences
E-commerce is here to stay, as your company is trying to manage each method that a person decides to purchase from as one day they may use the tablet to buy a product while the next day they are visiting the actual store location. You are dedicating your resources by managing each purchasing avenue as a multi-channel method with separate management, processes and resources. Yet with the customer demand changes, your company may benefit more from an omni-channel option where the integration of information systems and processes tackles every purchasing avenue.
This option can provide benefits by placing all your resources and order fulfillment processes together for an enhanced shopping experience for customers. It can also lead to better management of sourcing companies to eliminate supply chain issues. You can gain more control on which warehouses to obtain products, the best shipping methods, and give customers increased options for delivery that may include in-store pickup for a better delivery of products at lower costs to your company.
Being prepared for the coming holiday season and the increase in e-commerce shoppers will allow you to make the appropriate decisions for your business based on the products you sell. Using the esourcing software available from EC Sourcing Group will help you provide better management of your suppliers and your budget.