Before the pandemic, online shopping was gaining ground as the way consumers preferred to shop because of convenience among other factors. Out of necessity, during the shutdowns of 2020 and 2021, consumers turned to online shopping as a lifeline, leading e-commerce to skyrocket. Even as businesses began to reopen, online shopping continued to grow as the safest way to shop. As consumer demands for accurate orders at faster delivery speeds began to accelerate, many online vendors turned to 3PL service providers, such as Phase V, to streamline and optimize their e-commerce fulfillment operations.
According to eMarketer, global e-commerce sales are projected to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023. The potential for e-commerce companies to grow exponentially between now and then is promising as long as fulfillment companies keep developing technology, automating processes, and enhancing customer experiences. As 2022 gets underway, we look at the five trends that will likely influence the e-commerce fulfillment industry this year.
As e-commerce businesses expand beyond their own capacities for fast deliveries and inventory storage, delegating their fulfillment operations to a reputable 3PL service provider allows them to take advantage of the advanced technology their fulfillment partner utilizes to scale their business. Fulfillment companies, such as Phase V, will customize your fulfillment needs, scaling your labor needs up to accommodate your picking, packing, and shipping needs during busier cycles and when you expand to your next level of success. Phase V scales down your labor, reducing your labor needs, during slower cycles. Working with a fulfillment partner also allows your company to seamlessly expand your product offerings by acquiring additional warehouse space, instead of leasing or buying a warehouse and hiring staff to run it.
As consumers continue to demand interesting and entertaining unboxing experiences, personalization and customization in your product packaging will continue to grow and evolve. Branded boxes and custom-shaped boxes featuring your brand’s colors enhance your customer experience rankings, as do personalized inserts, coupons, and/or samples included with orders. As gift boxes and other monthly subscriptions continue to gain popularity, pick, pack, and shipping logistics will need to implement innovative ways to pick and pack kits without losing their competitive delivery edge. Your Phase V logistics team is constantly looking for ways to automate your fulfillment services, improve accuracy, and deliver your orders on time.
Proprietary Tech And Data Management
As consumer expectations continue to evolve, e-commerce vendors need to be able to connect with all aspects of their operations, including marketplaces, payments, logistics providers, and carriers. 3PL service providers, such as Phase V, feature advanced inventory, picking, packing, shipping, and sales management technology your business can capitalize on to maintain your administrative operations. With proprietary warehouse management systems (WMS) and increased channels for data gathering capacity, e-commerce vendors will be able to analyze all angles of their business operations. Real-time inventory management and transparent tracking data will continue to grow as an essential element for sustained growth and automated processes that will keep your supply chain moving smoothly.
More Real-Time Data
With more real-time data and transparency, e-commerce companies will be able to more precisely project their needs for future sales cycles to keep a lean inventory but keep enough on hand to fulfill orders without running out of items before your restock shipment arrives. The more precise your timing, the more efficient your business will run. With the global supply chain experiencing previously unheard of disruptions, due to COVID, a shortage of truck drivers, etc., e-commerce vendors can implement measures to help ensure the state of the global supply chain doesn’t take a toll on their sales and progress.
Sourcing Additional Supplier Options
Speaking of supply chains, by now everyone has experienced some disruption of normal supply chains whether in grocery stores, brick and mortar retailers, or big box store inventories. Most e-commerce vendors rely on raw materials or finished products they order from suppliers. Breakdowns in your supply chain caused by the pandemic may send you scrambling for products, as well. Many suppliers shut down for periods or closed permanently. Because of these breakdowns in production, many of your regular suppliers may not yet be back up to speed and able to keep up with demand for their materials and products. This is why it’s a good idea to source additional suppliers as backups to keep your supply chain running smoothly.
More Automation And Robotics
While some people think that automation means robots will be taking jobs away from humans, according to Amazon, fully automated warehouses are still at least ten years away. In the meantime, fulfillment companies will be using more automation and robotics to assist humans in maximizing available inventory, improving accuracy, and shortening delivery times. E-commerce vendors will be able to leverage the increased automation of 3PL fulfillment companies that have invested in robotics and automation that most e-commerce companies just cannot afford when they opt for in-house fulfillment.