How to Gain a Competitive Advantage in Today’s eCommerce Retail Buying Space
Gaining a competitive advantage against retail goliaths like Amazon is no easy task, but it’s not impossible. How do traditional retailers win in an eCommerce-centric world? Speeding up time-to-fulfillment is the key.
eCommerce is booming and many retailers are scrambling to compete. Within the past few years, we’ve seen massive growth in retail eCommerce worldwide. Online sales in the United States alone are expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015. Today, it’s estimated that 25 percent of all purchases are done online.
But, despite these online buying trends, customers still expect a level of high-touch around their purchasing experience: such as well-packaged goods and clear and prompt communication as it pertains to orders. This is good news for traditional retailers where customer service is a cornerstone of their value proposition.
So what does it take to succeed in the race to meet the demand of today’s 21st-century buyer? It really boils down to fulfilling orders quickly, with a high level of quality and efficiency while keeping costs low.
With the right technology and a creative approach, traditional retailers can leverage existing storefronts, supply chains and analytics to deliver a high-touch customer experience while remaining competitive to meet the demands of today’s consumers.
Three Important Considerations to Fulfillment
In online purchasing and distribution, real-time view and control of your inventory by source that includes distribution centers, retail outlets, warehouses, and third-party suppliers is critical. You may have an inventory management system, but can it track and integrate both online and in-store inventory in real-time? If not, it may be time to reevaluate your system.
Cost Awareness and Control
If you understand where your biggest expenditures are, you are better able to prioritize and control them. Knowing your costs at every step of the supply and distribution chain will allow you to make smart sourcing and supplier decisions, uncovering valuable savings opportunities and process efficiencies.
Intelligence on Your Suppliers
As a retailer, you’re dealing with dozens, if not hundreds of suppliers all along the fulfillment and distribution chain. The ability to compare providers relative to quality, speed, efficiency and cost is critical if you are to control costs and remain competitive.
How to Stay Ahead of the Competition
With the right eProcurement tools and resources, traditional retailers are poised to compete in today’s “I need it now” consumer climate. By understanding more about how your inventory, spend and sourcing affect distribution and fulfillment cycles, you will be well equipped to deliver goods to your customers faster, keep costs low and grow your profits.