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E-commerce driving the need for faster delivery: Report
Jul '18
Courtesy: Zebra
Courtesy: Zebra
E-commerce is driving the need for faster deliver, spiking concern and investment, according to 95 per cent respondents of a global research study. They are also grappling with returns as the rising consumer demand for free and fast product delivery correlates with a surge in product returns, which flow the product in reverse back through the supply chain.

Handling product returns is not a new challenge for retailers and brands, but it has become an infinitely bigger concern in an omnichannel marketplace, says The Future of Fulfillment: Asia Pacific Vision Study commissioned by Zebra Technologies. It is also extraordinarily costly and is eating into already pressured profit margins: Worldwide, shoppers return an estimated $642.6 billion in goods each year.

Merchants are increasingly exploring new models to offset the costs of returns. The study uncovered that 58 per cent of retail respondents add a surcharge for returns today and 71 per cent have no plans to change this in the future. Of the 42 per cent of merchants that do not currently add a surcharge for returns, 80 per cent plan to do so in the future. Decision makers are testing solutions such as leveraging the store as a product returns hub, notes the study.

The report reveals that supply chain decision makers worldwide are investing in an array of tools to streamline omnichannel merchandise fulfilment. Solutions range from edge technologies – which automate worker tasks such as picking and sorting merchandise at a distribution centre – to demand forecasting and planning applications that boost the accuracy of revenue forecasts and better align inventory levels via data analytics.

E-commerce is growing at a staggering pace, projected to generate $4.479 trillion in retail sales by 2021, soaring over 140 per cent from $1.859 trillion in 2016. And it is forcing decision makers to shift to a robust omnichannel fulfilment strategy that meets the modern consumer’s needs.

Additionally, a new phenomenon is occurring in the retail sector as it shifts to serve its omnichannel consumer base. In a quest to boost online fulfilment performance and get their digital-physical profit model right, retailers are leveraging one of their greatest assets: their fleet of stores. At the same time, manufacturers are updating their systems to accommodate both bulk and SKU-level shipping so that they too can serve consumers directly.

In the digital economy, manual processes left over from the pre-Internet era continue to vanish from warehouse and fulfilment operations, says the report. Decision makers looking to the future said next-generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions suited to the on-demand, omnichannel landscape.

Industry decision makers worldwide view the growing omnichannel landscape as driving the need for merchandise delivery and fulfilment processes upgraded by digitally-enabled automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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