As the Affordable Care Act continues to roll out, employers all across the field are going to see changes occurring, but retailers are going to be particularly influenced by these shifts. You can learn a lot more about the changes that are taking place as they pertain to retailers and more specific definitions in this article from Retail Means Jobs, but it’s important to look at how these changes will affect retailers.
A partnership with a 3PL should be about more than simply handling e-commerce and store deliveries. A good 3PL partner will offer you other services as well, simply to add value to the relationship. Essentially, if they’re capable of doing small projects that you frequently have to do in house—and they should be—then they can do it for you, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running the business. Let’s explore value added services.
When a retailer is searching for a 3PL, one main item of consideration ought to be business continuity. But while many 3PL providers market themselves as “technology companies,” and claim that their systems lead to fewer missed orders, what do they do when their system crashes? Are they able to stay on schedule? MKM boasts its ability to keep operations running even in the face of a system crash or other disruption. MKM maintains business, doesn’t miss orders, and keeps running on track.
In previous blog posts we have talked about the complexities of serving retail store distribution and direct to consumer fulfillment from the same distribution center. While it may sound ideal from an inventory perspective the complexities of facility design and system implementation are plentiful. However, supply chains are evolving to better serve the demands of our multi-channel world, as covered by this article in Supply Chain Quarterly.
Free shipping has become the white whale that online customers chase—but unlike the famous white whale, free shipping is often attainable for them. Amazon Prime set the bar, and now, more and more ecommerce retailers are offering some kind of option to alleviate the problem of losing customers when you tack on shipping and handling fees. The shipping price, which is rarely in your control even with some kind of deal with a parcel company, can make a customer abandon his or her shopping cart entirely.
On Christmas Eve of 2013 there were 70 million packages delivered throughout the US by parcel carriers. Sounds like just another statistic, right? But, think about this: we know those volumes were driven largely by retail. With a US population of 312 million people, why did so many packages deliver on the last possible day before Christmas? Is it an indication that more and more consumers are turning to direct-to-consumer sales channels for their last minute shopping? Is it because orders didn't make it out of the distribution center in time, and then had to be expedited?
Yet, a large number of shipments that were promised to be delivered before December 25th did not arrive. With ecommerce expected to grow at rates above 15%, as projected by many experts, that could mean 81+ million packages to be delivered on Christmas eve of 2014. Are retailers and carriers ready for these kinds of volumes? How can we all work together to ensure that our promise to the consumer is delivered?
Here's one perspective, as shared in DC Velocity: "Would a "Christmas surcharge" prevent another holiday shipping headache?"