As the holiday shopping season approaches, Macy’s is the latest store to announce that it will open its doors at 6 PM on Thanksgiving Day to begin Black Friday sales. While Thanksgiving holiday store openings draw ire from some consumers, many companies cite a strong track record of heavy foot traffic on early Thanksgiving shopping events as the reasoning behind their decisions. Macy’s reported that 15,000 shoppers visited its flagship Herald Square store last Thanksgiving and WalMart reported that 22 million shoppers visited its locations throughout the country on Thanksgiving in 2013.
Regardless of whether brick and mortar stores are open for business on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, or any other holiday, this debate doesn’t acknowledge the reality of most retail operations in an omnichannel world. Today, the sales floor may be open or closed but the supply chain never shuts down.
Today’s shopper can hunt for deals well into the wee hours of the morning, and companies that promise next day shipping need to have fulfillment staff working around the clock to make sure that orders arrive on time, especially during the busy holiday season. The impetus being that, as indicated by Voxware research, 86% of customers have higher expectations for correct and on-time delivery during the holiday season.
To ensure that the supply chain can deliver a stellar customer experience during the holiday season, companies need to make sure that they’re prepared. One of the best ways to ensure that a supply chain operates at peak performance is to upgrade outdated paper-based processes with technologically advanced systems. Voxware’s Cloud Voice Management Suite (VMS) can help companies improve speed and accuracy by significant margins, which increases the likelihood of on-time and accurate delivery. The Cloud-based software is also highly scalable, allowing companies to add users as necessary during peak seasons and then scale back down after the shopping season is over.
With Black Friday shopping events beginning earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving, it won’t be long before retailers open their doors on the morning of the holiday for shoppers to browse while the turkey is browning in the oven. But when it comes to fulfillment, the supply chain never closes.