The far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic touched nearly every aspect of our lives. Suddenly, many of us found we needed to rethink nearly everything: how to do our jobs, educate our kids, entertain our families, and stay well. We learned to adjust to a world briefly without retail, relying more heavily than ever on local delivery services and online marketplaces.
Many brands probably realized during the past year that the fundamentals of their business changed forever. The pandemic helped accelerate a trend long underway: more people want to make purchases online, and businesses of all kinds need to be ready to accommodate.
To succeed, brands need to fully embrace e-commerce transformation. In 2021 and beyond, you need digital tools to outsmart disruptions: pandemics, global shipping bottlenecks, severe weather that hits supply chains, or something yet unpredicted. Flowspace, the platform for e-commerce fulfillment and on-demand warehousing, built its business to drive this transformation.
But there’s one more critical factor that makes transformation essential: your customers won’t let you slow down. In fact, they want you to get what they want in their hands faster than ever.
WHY YOU STILL NEED TO STEP ON THE GAS
Amazon first launched two-day shipping for its Prime customers in 2005, and in years following solidified consumer expectations in the process. Just like the four-minute mile, shattered back in 1954 by Roger Bannister, suddenly the unachievable becomes the new baseline.
In 2019, Amazon again redefined baseline delivery expectations with one-day shipping for many of the goods sold through its site. Today, more consumers than ever expect orders in hand within a day of pressing the purchase button. If Amazon or others further compress delivery from one-day to same-day, it’s not unimaginable that consumer expectation would again shrink. And all online retailers would feel the squeeze.
FUTURE-PROOFING YOUR E-COMMERCE
How can brands protect against disruptions as well as meet accelerated expectations from their customers? They need to modernize fulfillment operations in two ways: smarter inventory management, and faster, data-driven decision-making.
First, rewire how you manage your inventory to speed delivery to your customers. Flowspace is a platform that replaces legacy logistics systems to optimize inventory allocation and warehouse footprint. Brands use Flowspace to redistribute products to fulfillment centers closer to customers, greatly reducing order completion times and shipping costs.
Wellness subscription service Madefor automated fulfillment on a single platform with Flowspace. They connected their storefront, increased supply visibility, and streamlined the fulfillment process. As a result, Madefor improved fulfillment capacity by 240%, even as orders increased 15-fold.
MAKE BETTER E-COMMERCE DECISIONS, FASTER
Second, use tools that can help you quickly plan, predict, and react to the realities hitting your business. With better intelligence fueled by your data, you can determine which channels lead to the best bottom-line outcomes.
Rukket Sports is an athlete-founded manufacturer of equipment ranging from golf hitting nets to baseball rebounders. Alongside increased customer demand, the pandemic brought an additional challenge: the company realized it was over-reliant on Amazon’s fulfillment operations, which faced their own demand disruptions when COVID-19 hit.
Rukket switched to Flowspace, rebalancing inventory across multiple warehouses. The company also connected its storefronts within a single order management platform. With better inventory management, Rukket increased its direct-to-customer fulfillment capacity by more than 250%, saw direct sales rise 20%, and improved margins from all e-commerce channels.
Brands need better visibility and control over their fulfillment operations. The pandemic may have ushered in the new realities of e-commerce, from preparing for disruption to faster delivery expectations. But one thing is clear: more people than ever will find the “buy now” button, and the clock is ticking.