What Have We Learned From Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018?

Part 1 of a 3-part holiday shopping, shipping and returns series highlighting results from our biennial consumer survey

In mid-November, we released findings from our fourth biennial holiday shopping and shipping consumer survey.  We learned that 83% of consumers intend to purchase more gifts in 2018 than they did the previous year.  And according to numbers from Adobe Analytics, consumers opened their wallets early and spent big on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018. Actual sales results reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Wall Street Journal and other sources not only supported our survey results, but indicated that 2018 was the year that eCommerce purchases far surpassed in-store purchases. In fact, the increase in online purchases rose 23% over 2017 online purchases for the same period. Clearly, the reality of omnichannel fulfillment has been established beyond any shadow of a doubt.

That’s great news for retailers nationwide!  But what does it mean for distribution centers that are responsible for ensuring omnichannel fulfillment in a timely manner?

Is Hiring More People the Best Answer?

One of the most common ways retailers prepare for the holiday shopping onslaught is by hiring seasonal workers.  Historically, this has been an easy solution.  However, with today’s tight labor market, finding skilled workers for seasonal shifts is like trying to find “Tickle Me Elmo” in December 1996.  Still, we’ve seen data that Target, Amazon and Macy’s have hired in huge numbers.  Logistics companies like UPS, FedEx and Radial have done the same.

Technology Solutions to the Rescue!

However, throwing people at the problem may not work.  Forward-thinking retailers who have invested in technology solutions have a leg up on their competition when it comes to evaluating needs for seasonal hires.  By choosing scalable technologies to meet seasonal surges in demand and by using predictive modeling tools to better understand the impact on overall throughput, these companies can dominate the holiday shopping season.

Companies that continue to rely on outdated processes will struggle to meet demand for fast, on-time, and accurate delivery.  Fortunately, Voxware empowers distribution operations to exceed accuracy and efficiency demands across all warehouse functions with Voxware VMS and VoxPilot analytics software.

Here are two ways that Voxware helps support retailers and their seasonal hiring dilemmas:

Reduce Training Time from Weeks to Days: DC technologies that are easy to scale have one thing in common: they’re also easy to train. While some retailers hire early with the expectation of spending time training, Voxware Voice Management Solution (VMS) enables new hires to start working within days.

Use A Crystal Ball to see what’s Coming Before You Hire: VoxPilot analytics allows hiring managers to pull data on pick rates and combine it with data on sales projections to see the likely throughput. To test the outcome of hiring more or fewer item selectors, managers can run models to see whether they will be able to meet anticipated demand.  In this tight labor market, that can mean a huge difference in your bottom line profit.

In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss the shipping pitfalls that can upset your customers and endanger your brand.  With the holiday shopping season off to a fast start, retailers better deliver a superior customer experience and that starts with the distribution operations team.  Contact us today to learn more about how Voxware has helped companies automate their distribution operations to improve efficiency and achieve maximize profitability.

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