Lessons learned and the fulfillment issues brands are talking about most right now (Spoiler: it’s not improving shipping speed)
By Jim Sharkey
Last week I attended the Lead Innovation Summit conference in New York where leading brands gathered to discuss the current trends, challenges, and opportunities impacting the fashion and retail industry.
As someone who has dedicated their career to building a better order fulfillment experience, I found it enlightening that the conversations rarely focused on increasing shipping speed. While shipping speed is important - and necessary - retailers may be better served in the current economic environment by concentrating on improving inventory turnover.
With the current delays in the global supply chain, it is even more important than ever to ensure that products are available for sale as soon as they arrive at the fulfillment center. Brands and their 3PLs need to measure - and reduce - the amount of time it takes to get new inventory from the receiving dock to the shelf.
Returns are an often overlooked avenue for getting out-of-stock items available for sale again. Brands and their fulfillment partners need to ensure there is a rigorous process for prioritizing returns to ensure critical products get back into stock immediately.
Brands including Dagne Dover, Veronica Beard, and Marine Layer stressed that omnichannel remains an important tool for allowing potential customers to interact with their brand in a range of settings - online, in stores, and in wholesale channels - and ultimately growing sales faster than inventory. Having a fulfillment solution that can flex across these channels as demand fluctuates is particularly advantageous.
With recommerce expected to be 14% of the apparel and fashion market in 2024, there is a lot of value to be realized: every person that buys a reconditioned item from another site, and not from your brand, is a potential customer you may not know. If that person interacts directly with your brand instead, you have an opportunity to engage and cultivate two customers - the seller and the buyer.
With rising inflation, supply chain delays, and a potential recession on the horizon, now is the time to increase your focus on your key performance indicators (KPIs). Most 3PLs tend to focus on KPIs they set - not necessarily the KPIs for your specific business. Take the time to make sure you are both aligned on the right goals.
Unsure about your current solution’s ability to capture these opportunities, or interested in learning more? Let’s talk. Please feel free to schedule a call and we can briefly chat about how you can craft an improved fulfillment process that drives your revenue and profitability.