E-commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace, making effective fulfillment strategies even more critical. From warehousing and inventory management to shipping and delivery, the fulfillment process plays a significant role in meeting your customer’s expectations and driving your success. Let’s explore the trends and innovations to watch in 2023.
1. Individualized Solutions and Services
Direct to Customer (DTC) and Buy Online/Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) merely hint at the beginnings of what newer, more customer-focused service may become. With the technology to meet the moment, fulfillment experts are looking at the end user in a whole new way.
Individualized orders, from models like Amazon to Etsy to Web3 and the blockchain, are the strongest trend coming out of 2022. Orders that arrive just as the customer wants and expects, whether that’s through dropshipping or just applying the personal touch, are quickly becoming the norm. Same-Day and Next-Day shipping, from this angle, are just the tip of the iceberg.
There’s more to e-business than meets the eye going into the year. For example, brick and mortar shops are coming back in a big way, although contactless and low-contact shopping trends like those named above are still major players.
As companies up and down the supply chain move to cloud, internet and even mobile-first platforms for their customer interactions and support, all that data becomes more useful. All we have to do is build, develop or learn the software that can give us the business intelligence and models we need to make sense of it.
Working with an experienced team like GFS Logistics can help you keep your finger on the pulse of e-commerce needs and ensure every shipment you send out meets consumer expectations.
3. Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
With developments in the technology of warehouse management such as WMS, fulfillment centers are capable of picking, packing and shipping at a rate never seen before. By locating its data in the cloud, a warehouse or logistics center can create “digital twins” of their stock and its physical placement, making short work of the small-batch orders that have come to define so much of the customer experience. This in turn means maximizing floor space utility, which could save warehouses on everything from rent to personnel.
4. AI and Robotics
AI’s future in logistics and fulfillment is bright, since what we need to keep up with this fast-moving market is advanced computation and planning, which is what AI tends to do best. As a planning and execution tool, the burgeoning AI industry has only begun to demonstrate its show-stopping capacity. Likewise, robotics’ place in fulfillment strategies has been moving forward steadily for a decade or more, automating much of the work and relieving safety concerns, and it will continue to build on its reputation in tandem with AI developments.
5. Workforce Recruitment and Retention
While many may contest the labor shortage trend as a function of corporate rather than labor greed, companies are finding it harder to hire and keep their workers. Partially, this is due to the fact that COVID and its complications robbed us of a whopping 18 percent or more of our workforce, many of them essential workers, resulting in more jobs than there are applicants at every income level. Automation can staunch the bleeding, but it will never replace human capital.
In part, it’s due to the up-skilling individuals have done to remain competitive in a higher-level job market. However, it’s also quite plainly due to higher expectations on the part of labor. A livable wage and remote work options have overtaken office perks as the new labor standard most employees are looking to meet. Focusing on employees’ needs and meeting them where they are at is the biggest trend of 2023, as more and more companies begin to realize the only way to stop the so-called labor shortage is to offer jobs that people want.
GFS Will Get You There
At GFS Logistics, we specialize in supply chain execution. With 1.6 million square feet of ecommerce fulfillment, warehousing, in-store display, and logistics space in Dallas, TX, we can meet every need. From kitting rework and display pack-out for consumer retail, to the seasonal “flex” inventory and trailer storage solutions we offer, GFS is a one-stop shop for your fulfillment needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any question or logistics need you have.