APS Fulfillment, Inc. (www.APSFulfillment.com), one of the nation’s leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, is announcing the top industry challenges for 2014 as the U.S. economy improves.

Many retailers are enjoying a robust holiday season. Sales at traditional brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined rose to an estimated $12.3 billion. Over the same two days, online sales also increased significantly to almost $2.0 billion. Record online shopping continued on Cyber Monday, where sales increased 16% year-over-year to $2.29 billion. (Source: “Holiday 2013 – Cyber Monday and Cyber Five FINAL,” ChannelAdvisor Blog, December 3, 2013; http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2013/12/holiday-2013-cyber-monday-and-cyber-five-final.html.)

“The increase in spending this holiday season is being supported by the improving job market and stronger consumer confidence levels,” says Charles Aultman, president of APS Fulfillment, Inc. “That said, brands cannot rest on their laurels of the current holiday sales; they need to challenge their business and ecommerce initiatives in 2014 to improve across several areas, including distribution, inventory management, and shipping.”

Aultman theorizes that a major challenge for retailers in 2014 may be how to offer their consumers the best shipping experience. Thanks to the Internet, competition in the retail environment has become increasingly fierce; consumers don’t want to just receive what they ordered; they also expect shipping to be fast and free.

“When it comes to a brand’s reputation, few factors are as important as the speed and accuracy of an order. That’s why finding the right fulfillment services company will become more and more important in 2014,” he notes. “In order to exceed a customer’s needs, brands need to use a fulfillment services company that is located near major transportation hubs to meet their challenges.”

Centrally located in Southern Florida, APS Fulfillment, Inc. is just minutes from Interstate 95, 18 minutes from the Port Everglades, and 20 minutes from the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. It is also just 40 minutes from the Miami International Airport and Port of Miami. Ft. Lauderdale and Miami are two of North America’s largest export hubs and are in close proximity to South America, the Panama Canal, and Europe.

“When time is of the essence, it’s encouraging to know that a fulfillment company like APS Fulfillment, Inc. can have their customers’ products received, inventoried, and shipped in just two days,” Aultman adds. “Keeping customers happy with free shipping is more or less contingent upon a minimum purchase and maximum weight requirements and restrictions. Those kinds of parameters are best handled by a fulfillment company with dedicated distribution and project management services.”

“Even though shoppers will continue to head to the stores, they are increasingly using online channels to finish or supplement their purchases,” he concludes. “Now more than ever, brands need to offer consumers a seamless experience across all sales channels. In 2014, APS Fulfillment, Inc. can help fulfill those needs.”

APS Fulfillment, Inc. is one of the United States’ leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, offering affordable and real-time fulfillment services to small, medium, and large companies. Its state-of-the-art technology provides turnkey solutions for high-volume perfect-match mailings, personalized direct mail, snap-pak mailers, postcards, and triple-tabbed booklets. More information on APS Fulfillment, Inc. is available by visiting the firm’s web site at www.APSFulfillment.com or by calling 954-582-7450.