Skip to Content

Blog Archives

5 Key Learnings from the SCI Executive Summit, by SCI’s CEO, Chris Galindo

Today’s constant evolution of e-commerce makes it hard for brands to stay relevant and meet the increasing demands of consumers. In addition, most brands are now facing a longer peak season, brought on by the adoption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so companies need to adopt new e-commerce strategies or risk losing their market share.

On September 26, we hosted our annual SCI Executive Summit, focused on the Power Shift of Consumerism. The summit brought together organizations from different industries across North America, all of whom are facing similar e-commerce challenges. It was a great day of information-sharing and gaining invaluable insights into how brands are handling evolving consumer expectations and peak season.  Below are my five key takeaways from the event.

1) The importance of catering to hyper+ shoppers


Hyper+ shoppers are becoming increasingly important in the e-commerce business. This group of shoppers make 25 or more online purchases annually and represent more than 60 per cent of online sales. Businesses that consider the needs of hyper+ shoppers have a much better chance of creating return customers and succeeding in the current landscape.

2) More brands using D2C

Consumers want more accessibility, options and speed in their online shopping experience, challenging brands to get products into their hands faster. Direct to consumer e-commerce is one of the strategies brands are adopting to meet these increasing demands. By avoiding third party retailers and other ‘middlemen’, brands can offer a new direct channel for customers to buy their products.

A D2C platform allows brands to own the relationship with customer, reduce dependency on other distribution channels and control the messaging, branding and pricing – enabling the brand to manage the entire customer journey.

3) Automation isn’t always the answer

 

For better or for worse, the recent digital revolution has impacted automation in supply chain management. As a result, we have seen a rise of automation in all areas of the warehouse. Solutions such as collaborative robots, automated pack solutions, voice activated technologies and various sorting options are all driving efficiencies in warehouse operations.

However, unnecessary automated processes can increase costs and require additional training for small tasks that could be handled by an existing worker. Automation should only be leveraged when there is a real benefit to operations that creates efficiencies, is scalable and helps meet consumer expectations.

 

 

4) Consider Influencer Marketing

More than two-thirds of North American retailers are using some form of influencer marketing as part of their multi-channel approach. Adding to that, another 40 per cent of people report they’ve purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Influencer marketing is an effective way to drive positive awareness, engagement and trust and it’s important for companies to align with influencers who share their brand values.

5) Get ahead of peak season

The increasing demands and extreme fluctuations of peak season are causing companies to adopt new strategies to deliver on customer expectations. Brands can look to get ahead of peak by spreading out sales over a long period of time, or starting earlier promotions, such as Black-Friday like sales, in advance of peak. Introducing other peak periods can help companies manage lower peaks and create an uplift in sales throughout the year.

Be sure to check out this The Voice of Retail podcast, where our CEO, Chris Galindo, talks about the importance of preparing for the upcoming peak season.

I’d like to thank all our speakers and guests who attended and participated in these important discussions at the recent summit. Although we come from different sectors and backgrounds, we all face similar challenges posed by e-commerce and these key insights can help us be better equipped for the road ahead.

1 Continue Reading →

How E-commerce Platforms Can Make Your Supply Chain More Effective

Visibility throughout the entire supply chain is a process that every company aims to achieve. Effective integrations between supply chain systems and e-commerce platforms allows complete visibility to stock levels, tracking information, order notifications, and all other crucial data that exist in warehousing and fulfilment operations.  Knowing exactly where a product is within the warehouse will increase your speed to market and efficiency in inventory replenishment.  Integrating existing warehouse management system (WMS) and the e-commerce platform provides supply chain managers with a seamless flow of data between both systems, eliminating disruptions caused by inventory variations and logistical operations.

This visibility to supply chain and e-commerce data can also be passed through to mobile devices and other connected technologies.  By doing this, companies are provided even greater access to important business data to help understand any gaps and inefficiencies within the fulfillment processes. For example, once a product gets shipped, the shipper can update the tracking code which will become visible to the warehouse manager, the business owner and the consumer. This not only creates a better customer experience, it also ensures the supply chain team that the product has been delivered to the correct destination on time. 

How platforms like Shopify are changing the game for supply chain integrations

Over the past few years, a number of tools have been developed to streamline the entire ecommerce process from payments to order fulfillment.  As these tools add more features, it makes even more sense for larger businesses to integrate with these platforms.  Even website build platforms like Wix and Foursquare have developed their own form of e-commerce solution.  However, one platform seems to be staying ahead of the competition.

Once a small business solution, Shopify has now proven itself as a major enterprise e-commerce player, and large businesses have been quick to realize the benefits it has to offer, with features such as order processing & fulfilment tools, payment system integration, support for multiple Country sites (i.e. .com and .ca), as well as performance reporting and insights. The key tools that are changing the way that Shopify integrates with 3PL’s include, inventory management, inventory tracking, and purchase order tracking.

As ecommerce platforms give sellers more complete solutions for their ecommerce operations, 3PL services need to ensure they have the capabilities to integrate with each new software development.  Everything from tracking when an order comes in to sending a tracking code to the consumer should be seamless.  If everything is seamlessly integrated properly, 3PL companies can use analytics to track trends in peak fulfillment times, revenue of orders shipped by day and sales by channel to make informed supply chain decisions based on historical data.  Companies eliminate the possibility of human error, for instance, if an order is placed and gets sent automatically to the 3PL instead of an employee manually sending the order, there is no risk of duplication or incorrect information and your orders will get processed by your supply chain provider faster.  This creates a process which will reduce returns, exchanges, expedited shipping and replacements.

Advances in technology enhancing overall experience

Recent enhancements to ecommerce interconnectivity include integration with social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Buzzfeed, tracking conversions through enhanced analytics and monitoring all interactions on one platform. These features allow curated shopping experiences, enabling visitors to convert and complete their purchase directly on those apps and networks, reducing friction in the customer journey and seamlessly flowing orders into the system.  Virtually unlimited APIs and plug-ins allow for simplified connections to internal and external data sources, while built-in tools are available to enhance almost any aspect of the customer shopping experience, as well as back-end systems. These tools include: enhanced return label functionality, returns tracking and automatic tracking code updates.

As the flow of orders speeds up, supply chain and 3PL logistics providers are forced to find efficiencies in their processes to keep up with the increased demands.  With the right integration, processes including order picking, returns and shipment visibility can be optimized to keep up with customer demands and expectations.

Getting ecommerce Implementations right the first time

As the purpose of these advanced features is to improve the customer experience and streamline the e-commerce process, it’s expected that your supply chain partner will be on top of the most current trends. SCI’s approach to integrations includes leveraging our internal talent to build flexible applications that work with any e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, NetSuite, Oracle, and others.

SCI’s proven track record of success with e-commerce integrations have created a wide variety of communication protocols that are used throughout a business’ internal and external systems. All integrations developed and implemented by SCI are mapped to the individual requirements of each business and the systems they work with. Linking systems between customers, suppliers, and other business partners requires extensive expertise and a clear understanding of corporate information security standards. SCI always makes security and data protection an essential element of any integration implementation.

Staying one step ahead

Leading the way in e-commerce requires an emphasis on continuous improvement, which translates to not only being on the forefront of integration technologies, but actually having experience working with them.  SCI is constantly working with the most current technologies, functionalities and features to improve their overall business.  We keep a constant eye on the latest trends and ensure our employees are trained on the newest technologies.

Enterprise and larger e-commerce retailers need partners like SCI to ensure their system integrations are implemented correctly and securely, to maximize their effectiveness.

Contact SCI today to learn how a custom systems integration can benefit your business.

0 Continue Reading →