Ten ways to take advantage of the D2C boom
The growth in direct to consumer (D2C) retail – from boutique operations to global brands – has really accelerated over the past 24 months and with this sea change has the need for agile, cost effective warehouse management solutions.
We’re working ever closer with customers to help them achieve their D2C ambitions, but with a continued focus on client retention and accuracy, so that those new to it don’t make mistakes while rushing to compete with e-commerce.
Here’s the top 10 considerations for making the move from wholesale distribution to online D2C retailing, including what to think about when making the switch from (or integrating with) a rigid on premise, legacy WMS to a highly flexible cloud-based solution.
1. The direct to consumer trend will only continue to grow.
Crucially it allows businesses to build a more direct relationship with their customers, via a more fluid online presence that not only allows them to immediately connect, but also learn more about their individual buying habits and spend.
2. Brands are increasingly realizing the potential of D2C and taking advantage.
The capacity for quick and cost effective on-the-job realignment is key – and benefits are tangibly lower overheads, bigger profit margins and superior customer service levels to name but a few.
3. Models need to change, particularly in the warehouse or DC environment.
The financial and brand benefits of the D2C model can be substantial, but it does require a dramatic retooling of operational expertise and efficiencies.
4. Look at the flow of materials, product and information.
Intralogistics needs to be carefully managed in the D2C channel, as it’s all about efficiency with higher volume and smaller orders to satisfy customer demand for shrinking delivery timeframes.
5. Giving the right information when and where it’s needed, to the right people in the warehouse, is vital.
A technologically advanced WMS like SnapFulfil will optimize operations and labor by controlling every development on handheld devices in prioritizing sequence – typically delivering savings of around 30%.
6. The devil’s in the (data) detail.
Smarter WMS systems allow a wholesaler to get a head start in their digital transformation journey. The elimination of paper and having solid, real time data around product trends makes for better analytics and business intelligence on how to best serve customers.
7. Materials handling needs to be done at a more granular level.
This delivers better data quality too, plus improved resource allocation and streamlined process flow. Introducing the likes of order priority handling can also bring significant cost savings.
8. Big batch picking is no longer appropriate, so systems are needed to manage the smaller picks.
Trying to process e-commerce ‘each’ orders in the same way pallet and case orders are picked for retail quickly proves inefficient. Without process changes, the cost of picking will be disproportionate to the order value.
9. Improvements in pick times can be significant, making a strong case for business investment.
Dedicated WMS software reduces the time required to match up picked stock with customer orders, while more item packing areas and pick face packing ensures high success rates for forecasted replenishment.
10. Control via an integrated, advanced WMS is recommended.
Best-of-breed WMS software will quickly bring the DC to D2C transition all together, whilst also delivering rapid ROI. Just make sure you choose a flexible system that can react swiftly to volatile business needs and shifting customer demands.
Digital technology must be fit for purpose and investing in a leading edge, cloud WMS that facilitates responsive support options and change management is key to managing smaller picks - by allowing the flow of data and order of operations to be regularly updated.
This empowers management to easily store, organize, deliver and track the accomplishment of work throughout the D2C facility.