The past years, e-commerce fulfillment has seen many disruptions due to the pandemic, a tight labor market and an evolution of how consumers shop. As a result, e-commerce and retail have had to adapt and reshape their fulfillment and shipping processes. Customer expectations have become increasingly complex. They do not only want good products, great service and fast shipping, but expect brands to be there for them in every step of their shopping journey. Hence, it is of great importance to ensure your e-commerce fulfillment process is designed to meet these expectations. Let us take a look at some of the key e-commerce fulfillment trends for 2023.
A trend that remains ongoing in 2023 is that customers expect the status of their order to be visible at all times, from purchase to delivery. Hence, retailers should continue to invest in and optimize their order tracking systems. In addition, we see retailers investing in order management systems to improve and optimize their fulfillment process for the best customer experience.
Besides real-time order visibility, same-day and next-day delivery is becoming the new norm. Customers expect fast shipping times when they place an order. To be able to meet these demands and remain competitive in the e-commerce market, a smooth-running order fulfillment process is key for retailers. To that end, retailers and 3PL companies are exploring ways to further automate their order fulfillment to create a more efficient, reliable and faster process.
Developing a more efficient order fulfillment process goes hand in hand with creating a more sustainable process. Customers are requesting companies to be conscious about their environmental impact. Retailers are pressured to adopt sustainability in their fulfillment practices. Think of optimizing delivery routes, using more sustainable packaging and optimizing order fulfillment with reliable and efficient automation.
Further automation of the order fulfillment process is not only needed to improve delivery times and become more sustainable, but is also a necessity as global labor shortages are expected to grow even further in 2023. Retailers have already been struggling to get the labor they need, especially since the pandemic. However, e-commerce fulfillment requires a lot of manpower, so what to do when this manpower is not available? Automation is the answer. Automating your order fulfillment process can improve efficiency, shorten delivery times and tackle labor shortages at the same time.
Automating your order fulfillment process can be done in various ways. Many warehouses already have an automated storage retrieval system or goods-to-person system in place, but what about the repetitive pick & place tasks involved? Think of processes such as palletizing, depalletizing, order picking, sorting and parcel handling. These are perfect processes for the implementation of pick & place robots, as they all consist of repetitive tasks. In addition, these tasks often put a physical and mental strain on the existing workforce. Implementing pick & place robots in your order fulfillment process will not only alleviate the pressure on the existing workforce and help tackle labor shortages, it will also increase productivity, improve efficiency and help create a frictionless order fulfillment process.
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