The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means it's time for eCommerce retailers to start preparing for the influx of orders that will come their way. However, while the holidays are a time of joy for many people, they can also be stressful for retailers.
This is because the holiday season presents several unique supply chain challenges that can make or break a retailer's success. In this post, we'll look at the top 5 supply chain challenges eCommerce retailers will face this holiday season.
1. It's Tough to Obtain Raw Materials
One of the biggest challenges that eCommerce retailers will face is a shortage of raw materials. With global demand for goods increasing, many manufacturers struggle to keep up with production. It has led to a shortage of certain raw materials, making it difficult and expensive for retailers to get the supplies they need.
One way to overcome this challenge is to partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. 3PL logistic providers have access to a vast network of suppliers and can often source materials at a lower cost than retailers could on their own.
In addition, eCommerce fulfillment services can help retailers optimize their shipping and logistics operations, making getting goods to customers more accessible and efficient. Finally, many 3PL providers offer software solutions that can automate and streamline supply chain management, further reducing costs and making it easier to manage raw material shortages.
2. Inaccurate Forecasting
Most eCommerce order fulfillment will face the challenge of inaccurate forecasting this holiday season. According to a recent study, over 60% of eCommerce retailers surveyed said that inaccurate forecasting was their biggest challenge when it came to fulfilling orders.
The study also found that the vast majority of eCommerce retailers 83% rely on Amazon for free delivery and their fulfillment needs. This reliance on a single fulfillment provider can lead to problems regarding accurate forecasting. Amazon has been known to make last-minute changes to its fulfillment plans, leaving eCommerce retailers scrambling to adjust their plans.
To avoid the pitfalls of inaccurate forecasting, eCommerce retailers should consider using the best fulfillment companies that offer multiple order fulfillment services. It will allow them to choose the best option for their needs and avoid being caught off guard by last-minute changes.
3. Delays in Shipping and Fulfillment
The holiday season is always a busy time for shipping online business, and this year is no different. With more and more people shopping online, eCommerce retailers are under pressure to make sure orders are fulfilled quickly and efficiently.
Unfortunately, delays in shipping and fulfillment are one of the most common supply chain challenges that retailers will face this holiday season. Several factors can contribute to delays in shipping and fulfillment, including bad weather, increased demand, and insufficient staff.
However, the good news is that there are several steps that retailers can take to minimize the impact of these delays. For example, working with a reliable eCommerce fulfillment service like Xparcel can help to ensure that orders are processed and shipped out as quickly as possible.
4. Time-Sensitive Orders
Another common challenge will be time-sensitive orders. In many cases, customers will expect orders to arrive within a few days, if not sooner. It can be a difficult challenge for eCommerce retailers, who may not have the same level of control over their supply chain as brick-and-mortar retailers.
As a result, it is crucial to partner with a fulfillment service that has experience handling time-sensitive orders. By working with 3PL software solutions that guarantee quick turnaround times, eCommerce retailers can ensure that their customers will be satisfied this holiday season.
5. Returns and Exchanges
A typical supply chain challenge that eCommerce retailers confront during the holiday season is returns and exchanges. According to a recent study, nearly one-third of all online buyers return at least one item they purchase yearly. And with the influx of holiday shoppers, that number is likely to increase.
Returns can be costly for businesses regarding the actual product and shipping costs. In addition, returns can also lead to stock shortages, which can frustrate customers and damage your brand's reputation.
The best way to manage returns is to work with a fulfillment company that offers pick-pack and ship services. These companies can help you process returns quickly and efficiently, minimizing the impact on your business. Order fulfillment services can also help you keep track of your inventory and ensure that you have the products customers want in stock.
eCommerce businesses can significantly improve their shipping and fulfillment this holiday season by partnering with a reliable 3PL with an expansive network. This way, businesses can stay focused on staying ahead of any supply chain challenges.
The Bottom Line
The holidays are a busy time for businesses, and it's crucial to ensure you're prepared for the holiday shopping season. That's where ShipNetwork comes in. We're one of the best fulfillment companies and can help you with your order fulfillment needs.
From pick pack to ship, we'll ensure your orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately. And because we're already ahead of peak season, you can focus on growing your customer base while we care for the rest. So don't wait - contact ShipNetwork today and let us help you prepare for the holiday rush!