Top 6 Supply Chain Trends Impacting eCommerce Businesses

Supply chain trends

Businesses have to change their strategies from time to time to align with the market shifts and the changing consumer requirements. Over the years, technology has been the primary source of changes in supply chain trends, as more retailers continued to integrate technology in their operations.

2020 was a unique year that saw significant changes in the supply chain industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a considerable shift in consumer behavior that forced the players in the supply chain industry to change their way of doing things. 

Due to lockdowns and other Covid-19 related restrictions, consumers had to shop from home and have their orders delivered. This led to a buzz in e-commerce.

Some of the changes could be permanent and will inform future industry supply chain trends. Here are some of the supply chain trends that will be impacting e-commerce business in the here and now.

Supply Chain Industry Trend 1.) A rise in in-store fulfillment

More consumers are opting for convenient shopping. They prefer having their orders delivered as opposed to them going to the stores physically. This has seen more e-commerce stores delivering products instead of paying for distribution centers where customers can pick their orders.

In 2021, more retail stores are relying on in-store fulfillment to meet their customers’ demands. In-store fulfillment will continue to gain traction in the supply chain industry due to the current Covid-19 situation and its benefits. That equates to great cost savings as e-commerce stores don’t need budgets for distribution centers. eCommerce stores are also able to achieve customer satisfaction as they are able to deliver orders on time due to the proximity. 

In-store fulfillment also allows customers access to more products and not just the ones they have ordered, creating an opportunity for making more sales. For e-commerce stores to use stores as distribution centers, they need to increase inventory visibility and ensure that stores’ inventory levels are maintained. 

Supply Chain Industry Trend 2.) Elasticity

Flexibility is required now more than ever, and probably in coming years too. The Covid-19 pandemic saw significant changes in the supply chain, and businesses that were not agile had a lot to lose. Elasticity is now a common supply chain trend as retailers need to adjust their strategies with the changing market demands.

While things are resuming normalcy, there will still be unexpected changes. For instance, some economies’ opening up can lead to an abrupt increase in demand for certain goods. 

Retailers and e-commerce stores will be using a combination of technological tools to achieve elastic logistics to align with the changing market demands. 

3.) The online marketplace is continuing to grow

The growth of online retail is among the supply chain trends we all are noticing. Consumer shopping habits are changing, and there has been an increased reliance on online shopping, especially with the pandemic’s emergence.

People are still avoiding crowded places and prefer deliveries. They have also experienced the convenience and time, and costs savings that come with online shopping. They are not about to part with those newfound benefits.

There will still be a rise in e-commerce operations as physical stores also go online to cater to online buyers. Businesses are also targeting the global markets, and the online space provides them with the platform to do so.

While the online marketplace expands, e-commerce stores should expect more competition. More businesses will be providing the same services and products, and there is a need for these businesses to invest in marketing. 

4.) An increase in social commerce also impacts supply chain trends

The covid-19 pandemic created a situation where retailers had to try out different platforms to engage their customers and sell. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have proved to be useful in the same. 

Make it possible to sell to the customers directly and shorten the customer journey to prevent drop-offs at the point of purchase. 

As much as Covid-19 is being managed, more e-commerce stores will leverage social media platforms like Facebook to improve their bottom line. Consumers will be spending a lot of time online and will also be going there to find products and services. 

Shorten the buyers’ journey by making it possible to shop on social media pages. One of the ways to achieve this is by including a link on the page to direct them to the payment pages or apps. 

Also, provide a wide range of payment options on the consumers’ smartphones not to part with their phones to make payments. With the rise in social commerce, your e-commerce store will stand out if you are proactive. 

Make it possible to sell to the customers directly and shorten the customer journey to prevent drop-offs at the point of purchase. 

Supply Chain Industry Trend 5.) Retailers are keener on inventory management

In 2021, retailers and e-commerce stores are becoming keener on inventory management. Customer expectations are growing, and businesses are using a wide range of fulfillment options. With that, the need for excellent inventory management to prevent losses and achieve customer satisfaction has increased. 

Retailers are using technology and inventory management solutions to keep track of their inventory and maintain accurate visibility. Proper inventory management with the help of tools such as RFIDs will optimize your supply chain operations. eCommerce stores will reduce lost sales, prevent over-stocking and reduce inventory theft and losses.

6.) Shortage of labor

On top of the shortage caused by Covid-19 related challenges, other factors will cause labor shortages in the supply chain. The increase in the supply chain industry’s complexity has consequently led to the lack of emerging skills and talent. 

The shortage will continue to affect supply chain operations this year, and retailers need to develop strategies to mitigate that. eCommerce stores will be required to adapt technologies such as wearable scanners and robots to manage their operations.

H2: Conclusion

Changes will continue to be experienced in the supply chain industry. eCommerce retailers need to stay updated on the supply chain trends for proper planning. Retailers need to optimize their operations by changing their strategies and even employing technology.

If you need help optimizing your supply chain, reach out to one of our supply chain experts today! QuickBox hosts a team with over 150 years of supply chain management experience and are here to help you find the missing gaps in your efforts and save you time, money, and hassle. Reach out today at QuickBox.com.