Consumer and market trends
Consumer and market trends

Facing the multiplicity of selling channels – new trend alert in e-commerce

E-commerce undergoes multiplication of channels. Discover how the e-commerce trends impact the supply chain!

On March 22, 2021

E-commerce growth is apparent, with signs of significant and durable changes in consumer attitudes and behaviour

While the growth of e-commerce is undeniable, it goes through the multiplication of channels. The figures from Eurostat reveal that between 2008 and 2018, the percentage of EU companies selling via e-commerce rose from 13 to 20%. It is a worldwide trend, developing at varying speeds in all countries. The retail sector has seen some of the greatest changes linked to the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these have accelerated the growth of e-commerce. The smallest shops, including some that may have had no digital presence in 2019, had to rapidly “go digital”. They started developing omnichannel logistics services that they had never imagined before.

Other trends in retail are less visible, yet there are signs of significant and durable changes in consumer attitudes and behaviour. For example, the continued invasion of social media into the purchasing process, and the trend towards locally-sourced and sustainably produced products.

Both e-commerce platforms and traditional bricks and mortar shops need to adapt to, and invent new solutions. Moreover, the brands have to face the challenge of managing multiple purchase points. They also need to acknowledge the fact that delivery is an essential part of the shopping experience. The key players in the logistics sector have a huge role to play in helping them. This role goes beyond that of transporting, packaging and warehousing. Logisticians need to be fully integrated, in handling customer orders, and to become actors in the after-sales process.

Let’s review some of the changes, their impact on the supply chain and omnichannel, and some of the solutions that are already in place, in the pipeline.

Omnichannel marketing – An integrated shopping experience

At first, the omnichannel marketing stock management was an extension of the multichannel marketing, which was limited to distribution and promotion. Now, it is no longer just the merging of traditional retail outlets, with the websites, or e-commerce.

Omnichannel involves every media that improves the customer experience. It brings mobile apps, social media and concepts, such as virtual reality to the mix. The in-store experience with services and entertainment, such as the in-store screens bring the app and website into the physical store. It is all about coordination, to ensure that the customer gets the same information wherever s/he looks  for it. The most visible implications, in terms of logistics, are the requirement to propose a wide variety of delivery options; for instance, to respond to the fast increasing popularity of “Click & Collect”, along with the need for improved reliability, greater interaction during the delivery process (like using confirmation codes instead of a signature, or more frequent text messages updates) and improved return options for the consumer.

All consumers are the new influencers 

E-commerce is no longer a question of simply browsing and purchasing on a merchant website; it involves working on more channels than ever done before. Nowadays, the social networks have become full-fledged channels for e-commerce promotion. In fact, the consumers are active; they interact and learn about what they consume on social media. They use it during all stages of the purchasing journey, and thus mastering the interaction with consumers via social media, poses a major challenge for brands.

Social media serves as a platform to express opinions about brands and recent purchases; sharing content in the form of videos, social posts, and even commenting on a variety of apps and websites. Every individual shopper is now a potential influencer. Messaging services and chatbots are now an essential part of the online customer journey, which provide vital support during the purchase, and in the after-sales processes. Therefore, logistics services should take the next step, towards incorporating these services for the consumers. 

Equipping brands with logistics solutions

The result of all these changes is a highly demanding consumer, and vigorous competition between brands, to provide the best possible customer service, while leveraging e-commerce. Here, the key is optimising the product inventory across numerous sales channels, by ensuring that the stock is available in each location, and that all sales and distribution channels are updated in real time. To do this, the supply chain operators need to master the OMS (Order Management System), ensuring its effective integration with the online merchant websites, and retailers’ customer ordering systems.

Moreover, an OMS manages orders via a variety of channels. It uses the automated processing logic, to identify the best options for fulfilling them online or in-store, and delivering to home or at a specific delivery point. A well-managed OMS results in a more effective delivery service for customers, and greater profitability for the retailer. It is due to the improved and greater flexibility, to handle the spikes in activity, across multiple distribution channels.

The customer service in-store or via a centralized customer care, is significantly improved, when the order and stock information, from all the channels and fulfilment centres, is available. With a real-time, global view of stock, the managers can easily help the customers in processing orders, and exchange or return products, within the omnichannel framework.

Versatile solutions from FM Logistic

As supply chains evolve, FM Logistic continues to strive to deliver operational excellence, as part of the omnichannel framework. Our OMS can integrate orders from wherever you sell : be it your physical stores, online marketplaces or webstores. Through a standalone dashboard, you can manage all the e-commerce sales, via all the channels. Together, we can develop the supply and demand planning, based on your sales forecasts. Customers benefit from our multiple delivery services, including urban logistics solutions, on-demand local delivery and instant tracking. Finally, we can also handle the returns directly with consumers, by providing them quality control and restocking services.

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