The retail supply chain will continue to support a very large number of social commerce and purchasing capabilities including increased flexibility and features for delivery to consumers. The changes being demanded by consumers will not work without the continued support and flexibility of the supply chain and especially the consumer delivery capabilities. In fact I think that the supply chain is key to the success of retailers in supporting and building out their social commerce and purchasing capabilities. The supply chain, after all, is the final link to a great deal of the consumer purchases and this number is continuously increasing. Retailers must extend not only their supply chain capabilities, they must also extend their supply chain partnerships in order to support the changing demands of the consumers.
This does not mean that there is no room for improvement in the consumer parcel delivery supply chain. One of my greatest frustrations is the inflexibility of many of the consumer parcel delivery practices of many of the carriers. As an example, one of the home delivery services is my area does not deliver on Sunday or Monday; I can somewhat understand Sunday but I cannot understand Monday. Of course there is also the brown carrier which does not deliver normally on Saturday or Sunday. The first thing that must be revised is this hold off from 40 years ago where the goal of the people was to not work on Saturday. The work week has been changing over the last 20 years and even more dramatically over the last five years and this carrier practice must change as well.
There are many different manners in which the supply chain can change to support the changing consumer lifestyles and both retailers and their supply chain partners must now also change in order to meet these demands and one of the changes is flexibility in scheduling to support consumer changing schedules. One easy way to address this is to expand the integration with the neighborhood carrier outlets to allow the consumer parcel to be dropped at the neighborhood store and then only the neighborhood store would require expanded hours. This could be a good interim change while the supply chain practices are revised. There is nothing that says that all deliveries and business must be carried out before 10 PM and this would be a great feature for those consumers that are working alternative hours and cannot provide another address to drop the package.
Every year there are many stories about the struggles for carriers to meet the increased deliveries driven by the shifts from store to social commerce purchasing and it seems to me that extending the delivery hours would be a good method to expand delivery capabilities and this would also increase consumer satisfaction at the same time. Consumer parcel delivery seems to be the last frontier concerned with consumer satisfaction and these interim changes would only improve the satisfaction.
And now for the audience participation portion of the show…
ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors. How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience? Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes. In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas. How can you support these continuously changing requirements?