E-commerce Success Hinges on a Good Supply Chain Strategy

With a growing number of e-commerce businesses selling a wide variety of products, there are a lot of factors to take into account when devising e-commerce strategies. For example, demand volatility and product life cycle are important considerations, as are product variety and the characteristics of individual products. The type of forecast that is used, whether it is qualitative or quantitative, also plays a role, in addition to the quality of the information that is available.

However, each supply chain and particular group of products could well need its own segmented strategy, which can be a pretty big undertaking. Here is a look at the most important elements that these strategies must address.

Omni-channel Retailing

Omni-channel retailing will incorporate catalog, e-commerce, m-commerce, brick and mortar, TV and social media, not only when it comes to purchases but also returns.

Automated Inventory Systems

Barcode readers, RFID, and handheld mobile computers are already noting heavy use, but now e-commerce companies need to make provisions for robotic systems in their supply chains and fulfillment centers. In the near future, automated guided vehicles might be front and center, but they could eventually be replaced by the use of delivery drones.

Mobile Devices

Sales are rapidly shifting away from personal computers toward mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, so m-commerce cannot be ignored.

Distribution Centers and Fulfillment Centers

E-commerce orders have a tendency to be smaller than those at brick-and-mortar DCs – sometimes containing just one item – and they require a very quick turnaround. Fulfillment centers need to be designed with these needs in mind.

Supply Chains

Transparent inventory is vital when it comes to shipments that go directly to the consumer from online orders, with returns to stores also sometimes involved. Options like ship-to-store and ship-from-store can complicate matters even further.

With online retailing growing by more than 18 percent around the world each year a sound e-commerce strategy is more vital than ever.

This blog post was based off of an article from In Bound Logistics. View the original here.