Major marketing pushes like Cyber Monday and Black Friday weekend report record online shopping surges that stretch logistics to the limit. Moreover, the trend of e-commerce is only going to amplify in view of the Covid situation. To meet peak demand, e-retailers need an action plan that is data driven and focused on predictive intelligence for maximum supply chain efficiency.
This year, Cyber Monday and Black Friday will certainly be clocked in as two of the most profitable days for online shopping. In 2019, it raked in over $7.5 billion on Black Friday plus a record of $9.2 billion Cyber Monday in the U.S. Meanwhile in China, Singles Day (created by e-commerce giant Alibaba) that takes place annually on November 11th, reached $38 billion in 2019.
These shopping surges present significant logistics challenges for e-retailers. Even small missteps can have a big impact on profit and consumer loyalty. What is the best plan of action for peak performance?
Action 1: Collect detailed supply chain data in real time
First, improving operational efficiency relies heavily on analytics. Therefore, you should collect data in real time from everystep of the supply chain before the rush. Make investment in the right tools to generate available and accurate data. Then, you need to analyzed, visualized, tracked, monitored, filtered, shared and simulated those data.
“The most successful e-retailers have highly controlled and honed processes thanks to systems that track each step of the supply chain and identify weak segments that need enhancements,” explains Simon Pioche, CEO of Livejourney. An expert on the process, Mr Pioche’s company offers an SaaS platform that lets e-commerce sites dynamically visualize and analyze end-to-end, real-time customer or product scenarios to optimize KPIs and ROI.
Action 2: Forecast and plan with predictive technology
Now armed with quality data, e-retailers can better forecast and plan for the rush using predictive technology. Predictive solutions improve performance by unveiling process inefficiencies to help avoid problems before they happen. They predict outcomes related to supply and demand, seasonal customer buying habits, inventory optimization, shipping times and more.
“Predictive technology generates actionable information to anticipate and control flows. At Livejourney, we see up to 96% forecast accuracy in volumes and nearly 40% improvement in compliance for supply chains,” says Simon Pioche.
You can also use Artificial Intelligence to reduce risk. It models various possibilities and paths in the supply chain, saving time and money. Logisticians are essential to interpret the data to reach goals.
Action 3: Be reactive and agile to supply chain management disruptions
No matter how much preparation, surprises can happen. Be reactive and agile when an issue threatens to disrupt supply chain management.
If a process doesn’t hold up during peak activity, change it quickly. Fast decision making and flexible back-up plans protect the bottom line and set e-retailers apart.
Moreover, input from external logistics partners is valuable. They master the process and can both evaluate what is possible and how to improve steps in the chain. Depending on need, you an establish partnerships for a long term period or to deal with a one-off rush like Black Friday.
Action 4: Leverage lessons learned for future logistics success
“Amazon is data driven, and it’s no coincidence they are number one. The big players, the champions – they are always the stars of process. They learn from their mistakes and know then not to replicate them,” highlights Simon Pioche.
E-commerce needs to leverage lessons learned from rush periods, such as Black Friday, to make smart decisions for future logistics planning. Take time to closely analyze data, make necessary adjustments, re-evaluate and think about how to innovation processes.
Thrive during the holiday shopping season
Activity peaks are ongoing in this booming market, with global e-commerce sales projected to hit nearly $5 trillion in 2021.
The next challenge logistics experts will face is the holiday shopping season. Now is the time to prepare every step of the supply chain and fine-tune strategies to be able to deliver more and faster. It is an opportunity to rise above competitors and see sales soar.