Turn your Brick And Mortar Stores into E-Commerce Distribution Hubs!

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Retailers with Brick and Mortar stores continue to be under tremendous pressure.  Competition is intense in the fast growing Omnichannel E-Commerce world.  Every week there seems to be news about how one Retailer or another is closing more of their stores.

And very few Retailers with Brick And Mortar stores have been able to make a profit in E-Commerce.  Competitors who only sell online without physical stores appear to have an advantage with lower overhead costs.

So how can Brick And Mortar Retailers turn their stores into a competitive advantage plus a source of greater profitability?

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E-Commerce (Part 4) – Stop Shipping Air!

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When you order something Online there is great excitement in anticipation of opening your package when it arrives.  With any luck the company you have ordered from has provided a positive experience in the online ordering and payment process.  Now you are just waiting for the package to arrive.

Most recently we ordered a couple of items online.  They were relatively small items and could easily fit in the palm of your hand.  Within a couple of days a large box arrived at the front door.   I wasn’t quite sure what it was because the box was rather big, big enough for a toaster or perhaps a couple of large board games.

I was surprised when we opened the big box, removed a bunch of crumpled paper and packaging material, and found the 2 small items we had ordered sitting on the bottom of this box.  The items could have fit inside a standard envelope.  Instead they were deliberately packaged in a box which could have held 200-300 of the items.

What a waste!

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Get Ready for Holiday Now … Make It Boring (From A Supply Chain Perspective)!

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The 2016 Holiday season finished recently.  And the 2017 Holiday season may seem far away.  But in the area of E-Commerce Fulfillment it will be here before you know it.  Now is the time to begin implementing the improvements and strategies you need to make this coming Holiday season more successful than last year.

Having gone through the ups and downs and stresses of several Retail Holiday seasons myself, one January I gave this direction to my team.  For the upcoming Holiday our theme was that we were going to have a BORING Holiday season … from a Supply Chain perspective.

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Omni-channel vs Multi-channel: How many E-Commerce Fulfillment Solutions do you have?

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“Omnichannel” is certainly the prevalent phrase in the E-Commerce arena.  The expectation in an Omnichannel world is that a customer can order what they want, when they want, on whatever device they want, and have it delivered how they want.

The physical delivery part of the Omnichannel expectation can be very elusive.  Many companies claim that they are Omnichannel service providers.  But are they really?

How many E-Commerce Fulfillment options are there?  And how many do you provide in your company?

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Competing against Amazon? You Need A Blue Ocean Strategy!

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Amazon is far and away the leader in the E-C0mmerce space.  Their growth continues at an exceptional pace.  And they continue to expand their products, services, and capabilities.  In short they continue to press their advantage and make it difficult for anyone else to compete with them.

But if you are in the E-Commerce space that is your reality.  Amazon is the biggest shark in the room.  So how do you compete in the face of such an overwhelming adversary?

One technique is to consider creating your own Blue Ocean Strategy!  If you can define dramatically different space in which to do business you may be able to keep this shark, and others, at bay (at least for a period of time).

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Omnichannel (Part 3) – Could you run out of space in your DC too?

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“We are out of space!”

“What?  We’re only in the middle of September.”

“The receiving docks are backed up.  We have trucks in the parking lot waiting to unload their goods.  There are even more containers on their way.  And we have no empty space left in the warehouse racking.”

That was the actual conversation I had with the head of the Distribution Centre (DC).  We had a big problem on our hands to say the least.

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The Hidden Complexity in the Retail Supply Chain!

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As consumers the complexity in the retail supply chain is usually oblivious to us. We go to the store and pick up the goods that we want. Or we order goods online from our devices at home, in the office, or anywhere for that matter. We consume the items, returning them if necessary, unaware of all of the work that went into making those goods available to us.

A phenomenal amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make this experience as seamless as possible. I am not saying that it always goes smoothly. Sometimes items are broken. They are late. Or there is some other issue.

But behind the curtain that is Retail there are a lot of people managing a lot of processes and dealing with a lot of complexity earnestly trying to make your goods available to you.

Continue reading “The Hidden Complexity in the Retail Supply Chain!”