The need for social distancing has accelerated the dependence upon e-commerce. Total online spending in Southeast Asia has increased by 49 per cent to USD$174 billion in 2021 (from 2020), and is expected to continue growing to USD$363 billion by 2025. This has left retailers scrambling to adapt and manage the influx.
Most retail supply chains were built to deliver goods to stores. However, with omnichannel retailing fast becoming the new normal – where consumers enjoy a seamless, holistic shopping experience across multiple sales channels – the supply chain may be the first and only interaction between your brand and the customer.
Keeping up is hard. Attempting to serve more channels seamlessly puts a lot of pressure on the supply chain, especially when combined with rising customer expectations in consumer experience, personalisation and delivery speed while keeping costs under control.
Automate to improve speed, quality and efficiency
Omnichannel fulfilment involves more complex processes to efficiently handle the orders, from single-unit e-commerce orders to large in-store orders. This drives up complexity, labour and inventory costs, and many retailers with legacy supply-chain processes have found it difficult to move toward more agile and diffused operations cost-effectively while still catering to their traditional brick-and-mortar customers.
Automating warehousing and fulfilment processes negate the need for human presence, safeguard employees by supporting greater social distancing and allow increased capacity for efficiency. They also ensure orders can be picked and packed efficiently and quickly, boosting productivity.
In this age of immediacy and with a plethora of alternative options just a click away for customers, retailers risk losing sales to competitors should they fall short of delivery expectations.
A digitised and integrated supply chain
To facilitate omnichannel distribution, fulfilment technology must be integrated into other enterprise systems to give visibility and actionability to your workforce. Technology and effective data-driven strategies that incorporate the right partners are key enablers of an omnichannel supply chain; partners need to ensure they have the software and tools to capture the requisite data and offer real-time inventory updates and order statuses.
Seamless integration of systems across channels is also crucial – both to meet consumer expectations and to facilitate management and decision-making. For consumers, cross-channel system integration is essential to provide real-time information on product availability and delivery times. For retailers, effective cross-channel decision-making requires the integration of planning tools with real-time simulation capabilities, especially in situations of scarcity.
With so many moving parts, it can be time-consuming and complex for retailers to coordinate on top of all the other aspects of managing a business. Partnering with a third-party logistics firm such as blu that offers automated warehousing solutions and is experienced in omnichannel fulfilment will help support your business in the transition.
Leverage blu’s open APIs to quickly deploy warehousing and fulfilment solutions to meet your business needs. Powered by robotics and AI, blu’s scalable and integrated systems ensure real-time inventory tracking and swift, accurate fulfilment, even with a multi-node supply chain. Given its extensive trade links as well as air and seaport connectivity, Singapore is well-poised to serve as a regional fulfilment centre for retailers – shortening delivery times for customers within SEA.
Take charge of your consumer journey today or risk being left behind.
blu is a logistics provider based in Singapore. Speak to us today to learn how you can work with blu to digitalise your supply chain and meet consumer expectations for a seamless shopping experience across channels