Everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide—and the fulfillment industry was no exception. Fulfillment market trends for August 2020 are a result of the changes many organizations had to make to adapt to the new e-commerce landscape. From contactless delivery to boosting online presence, these changes since February have drastically shifted the fulfillment industry and businesses are expected to settle into this “new normal” as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are the key e-commerce market trends to know for 2020, so that you get up to speed.
The COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise. Businesses were forced to close, and people were unable to shop and go about their business as usual. But even as many governments around the world have begun to reopen businesses and resume services, things still are not the way they used to be. The pandemic has reshaped the retail world and more consumers have started shopping online to get the products they need. If you operate an e-commerce business, here’s why contactless order fulfillment is the new normal for 2020 and onward.
Growing Demand for Contactless Order Fulfillment
The pandemic has accelerated a shift away from shopping in physical brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online. Department stores have seen significant declines and many smaller shops have had to shut down indefinitely. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, department store sales and other non-essential retailers noticed a decline of 25%. In the second quarter, this increased to a 75% decline.
It’s not all doom and gloom for small- and medium-sized business, however. E-commerce is projected to grow by nearly 20% this year, according to reports.
Subscription box services are extremely popular, especially now during the pandemic. Customers enjoy receiving monthly deliveries of exclusive merchandise ranging from skincare products to tech gear to reading material and clothing. If your business offers subscription box services or other e-commerce deliveries, chances are that you’ve definitely seen some major growth in the last few months.
And if you haven’t had the opportunity to expand just yet, there will likely come a time in the near future when meeting customer demand and delivering orders on time becomes a challenge. As your customer base grows and as you attempt to provide more products, things can get overwhelming very quickly. So, how can you keep up with the demand and when should you outsource your subscription box fulfillment service? Here are some issues and challenges that signify now may be the right time to outsource your subscription box service.
Subscription box companies must deliver on their promise to provide quality products with every box they send out. Traditional packaging materials and boxes are not the way to do this. Most subscription box services will have customized packaging which add to the experience for customers when they receive them.
If you are having a difficult time customizing your packaging, it may be time to seek help from a third-party logistics provider. They can provide you with custom sticker designs and other external packaging options that reflect your brand and the products you offer. They will also ensure that you have all the internal packaging options that best suit the product you send. If you have fragile items, they can provide you with the right packing materials to secure your shipments.
Growth of Business
One thing that is inevitable with a successful subscription box company is growth. If you notice that customer orders are coming in faster than you can fill them, you put yourself in a dangerous position. During an increase in sales you will not have time to hire and train people while also building systems for your business. If you do not get a handle on the increased sales volume and fulfillment, you will not be able to meet customer demand and could lose business. If you work in the online world, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. If you do not deliver products on time, your customer will likely leave you for a competitor.
When you work with a subscription box fulfillment company, you can manage growth. They will handle the logistics of your subscription box business while you focus on your sales and marketing goals.
Volume Order Fluctuations
Depending on your goals, you may deliver subscription boxes weekly, biweekly, or monthly. In the periods between your delivery cycle, there are slow times where you can focus on other business priorities such as driving more sales.
With a 3PL partner, you will be working with a team that understands your business model. They can accommodate you by holding stock in their warehouse while waiting for your fulfillment date. This serves as an advantage instead of you paying for warehousing space and labour to keep up with high order volumes for only a week out of each month. With a 3PL provider you can have a more scalable model that provides you with the ability to meet peak order requirements without any permanent overhead costs.
Limited Delivery Time
Part of your strategy with subscription box marketing is to create enticement on social media for the delivery of your next box. To manage expectations and meet customer expectations, you must ensure that your boxes arrive in subscribers’ mailboxes around the same date.
Subscription box fulfillment companies can help you process your orders strategically so that you can meet these expectations. They will send out your orders based on customer location to ensure the delivery time is just right. With their established networks they can narrow the delivery window, ensuring that your customers get their boxes around the same time every month.
If you are too busy managing the fulfillment of your orders, you might end up skipping customer returns and customer service inquiries. If you cannot manage fulfillment and customer service, you will sink the reputation of your brand. Customers that are dissatisfied with brands are quick to go online and write scathing reviews about your company. If dozens of customers are complaining about you on social media, you will see a drop in your business.
With the help of a 3PL provider, you can better manage customer returns, customer service, and fulfillment. While you connect on a personal level with your customers, they will provide a high level of service that boosts your reputation.
Logistics Problems & Quality
As your subscription box service grows, you will need to scale your business to manage the effects of growth. The first place you will notice a dramatic change is with inventory. Effective inventory control is necessary to manage your logistics process properly. However, it is expensive and time-consuming to develop a software solution on your own. As a result, most small- to medium-sized businesses resort to licensing expensive software solutions to manage inventory.
A 3PL provider provides you instant access to their robust software systems. These systems can help you manage inventory and you may even access valuable technologies such as automation and robotics. By outsourcing to a 3PL partner, you can get the most out of their existing systems without breaking the bank. Their cloud-based solutions allow you to access vital inventory information from your laptop or mobile device anywhere in the world. You can observe what is happening with your inventory in real-time and check stock levels at multiple warehouses across the country. With their help you can get a bird’s eye view of your entire logistics process.
Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc. for Subscription Service
If you’re looking to scale your subscription box business to keep up with growth, there are many benefits to working with a 3PL provider. As previously explained, they manage everything from inventory management to shipping and can help you scale your business.
APS Fulfillment, Inc. is ready to help you by providing safe, secure, and clean warehousing, full-service CRM integration, a prime location near the port in Fort Lauderdale, and partnerships with all major delivery companies. We’ll help you reach your customers and grow your business to its fullest potential. Our services include e-commerce fulfillment, product fulfillment, returns processing, and more.
Contact us at 954-582-7450 or email [email protected] today to book a consultation and learn more about our customized 3PL services and how we can help you.
The CBD business is booming thanks in large part to increasing legalization in the United States. In fact, Forbes predicted that the CBD market could reach $20 billion in less than five years. If you are an online seller or local dispensary of CBD products and are looking to increase your profits, now is the time to scale for CBD fulfillment. Here’s what you need to know about CBD fulfillment, as well as the legalities and safety protocols you must be aware of.
The United States has been one of the hardest hit countries around the world when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social and physical distancing guidelines encourage more and more people to stay home as much as possible and only go out to do essential errands. That means more and more people are placing online orders. As a result, business owners have been forced to rethink and reformulate their existing product fulfillment and distribution strategies to better meet the growing consumer demands.
To avoid having to deal with various physical distancing and mask-wearing guidelines or store regulations, more people are ordering their products online from the comfort of their own homes.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still making headlines across the country—especially here in the U.S. where we’re seeing a surge of new cases—your business needs to adapt if you haven’t already.
Consumers who were normally happy to walk into a store to shop for virtually any item are increasingly pivoting to e-commerce platforms when making purchasing decisions.
And if you’ve done the smart thing and switched to an e-commerce platform to deal with this pivot, congratulations, you may have saved your business!
Running a business today is a lot of work. From maintaining an online presence on social media, to providing an inventory on your online store, to managing your warehouse, to keeping your customers happy, there’s no shortage of work to be done. Juggling all these processes on your own as your business grows can become too much, resulting in mistakes, damaged orders, frustrated customers, and poor customer service. Finding the right way to handle your CBD fulfillment is essential to building your reputation as a quality, professional, trustworthy, competitive supplier. Here are some important points to help you find the right CBD fulfillment services for your business.
A dreaded term in the fulfillment industry is inventory write-off. It is the formal recognition that some of a company’s inventory no longer has value and cannot be sold. Sometimes inventory write-offs are necessary; sometimes items go out of style and need to be reworked or recycled for another purpose. Other times, a product gets damaged in the warehouse, either during storage or transportation, and has to be written-off. If write-offs happen here or there, it won’t cause a huge loss to your organization; however, if they are happening frequently, it indicates that your company has poor inventory management. Here are some important tips on how to prevent and reduce inventory write offs with a proper inventory management system in place.
Busy warehouse managers and business owners have little time to waste. They want their team to be on top of everything they are responsible for, so their business runs efficiently. Part of efficiently running and managing a warehouse space is to regularly run a warehouse audit. Performing an audit of each process in your operations can be a daunting task. Instead of taking shortcuts that lead to errors, there are a few warehouse audit best practices that you should know. Check out this warehouse audit checklist to help you determine which areas of your business you should audit.
It is impossible to handle every aspect of your business, which is why it is important to learn how to delegate. When it comes to passing along certain tasks, you need to ensure that you are delegating to the right people. It can be challenging to find partners who have the same passion about your project as you do, or you may have budget constraints that make it difficult for you to get the help you need. However, if you partner with a third-party logistics provider, you can benefit significantly as they will handle all the tasks associated with order fulfillment, leaving you with time to handle other important aspects of your business operations. If you operate an e-commerce business, here are the benefits of outsourcing your Shopify fulfillment.