03 Aug Thought Holiday Shopping and Shipping was a Challenge in 2020?
2021 Expected to Further Strain Supply Chains
Many large brick and mortar retailers have already announced their holiday plans, which for many, include keeping their doors closed on Thanksgiving Day. Instead, they’ll be running online promotions that day, putting their eCommerce capabilities in the spotlight and immediately to the test.
According to eMarketer forecasts, Thanksgiving Day eCommerce spending is expected to jump this year to $6.21B, up from $5.02B in 2020. Even with a greater ability to shop in stores this year compared to 2020, holiday eCommerce shopping will continue to grow, and is expected to account for just under 20 percent of total retail holiday sales.
Immediately following the 2020 holiday season, Voxware surveyed consumers to gauge how retailers performed in meeting their holiday shopping and shipping demands.
Retailers will want to take note that despite promoting an earlier start of the holiday shopping season to meet unprecedented levels of online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, late deliveries were still rampant, with 56 percent of respondents reporting that gifts they purchased online arrived later than the date that was promised at the time of purchase.
Consumer expectation at the holidays for on-time and accurate delivery is more important (say 47 percent of respondents) than any other time of the year, as reported in Voxware’s biennial holiday shopping and shipping survey.
In the post-2020 holiday survey, 53 percent of consumers reported they will not purchase from an online retailer who failed to meet their expectation during the 2020 holiday shopping season. With eCommerce continuing to grow, brands cannot afford any mistakes, or the consumer will take their business elsewhere.
The time is now for retailers to advance their distribution systems to ensure a flawless customer experience.
The adoption of warehouse automation solutions is a must and companies are finally realizing this. In fact, over the course of the next three to five years, adoption is expected to be above 75 percent according to MHI’s annual report. Voice automation, augmented reality and supply chain analytics are a few of the technologies that retailers are deploying to help meet growing consumer demands.
Voice automation consistently helps warehouses operate 30 percent more efficiently. Voice technology is proven to optimize workflows and employee performance for all distribution center functions. From receiving and put away to packing and loading shipments for delivery (and all processes in between), voice-enabled workflows remove time and errors from warehouse activities. Not only must retailers ensure that supply chains can execute online shipments on time and accurately, but they must also be able to ensure fast and convenient returns processing.
Voice also enables seasonal workers or new hires to be productive much faster. With VoxTempo, Voxware’s Natural Language Voice Recognition engine, training time can be completed in minutes, so new workers can strap on a headset and immediately begin issuing commands which the system will recognize, register and provide a response.
Companies can no longer run their distribution centers as they traditionally have. They must continuously look ahead and adjust. Supply chain analytics are particularly adept at helping distribution center operations react to changing conditions quickly and adjust staffing as necessary.
Voxware’s enterprise supply chain analytics software, VoxPilot®, aggregates and analyzes internal and external data sources and presents real-time and historical information. It also predicts future events and helps users navigate the right course of action to immediately resolve problems that may surface.
As mistakes continue to run rampant, between delayed and inaccurate deliveries, brands will be left with a negative lasting impact on customer loyalty, reputation and ultimately their bottom line. With eCommerce taking center stage yet again, automation will be critical and companies that have not taken the initiative to optimize their distribution centers will struggle to deliver the flawless experience customers expect.
To learn how Voxware can help advance your distribution operations, contact us today.