Whether you’ve got the in-demand kid’s toy of the year, or this is your first time selling during the festive retail season, one thing’s for sure: this Christmas is going to be different to any other. Over the last couple of years, customer behaviour towards shopping has changed, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. The e-commerce boom has been well-documented, with online sales continuing to soar. But it’s not only via websites that retailers’ sales are reaching their customers. As we near the busiest time in the retail calendar, we take a look at the increasing impact multi-channel retailing is having on the sector.

It’s out with the old, and in with the new

Traditional methods of online shopping meant consumers would buy their goods or services directly from the seller via a web browser. Now, methods of online shopping have broadened, from retailers placing their products across a variety of third-party websites (for example, Amazon), or increasingly on social media.

From the huge surge in Instagram influencers promoting goods, to the emergence of user-driven Facebook Marketplace, the ways in which sellers can communicate with their consumers is of high importance. So, too, is the ability to adapt business models to incorporate multichannel retailing. Cementing itself as a necessity within business strategies, the multichannel approach is helping transform retail models for e-commerce success and longevity.

The key to successful multi-channel retailing

It goes without saying that the more websites or social media platforms your product is advertised on across a range of countries, the more people will see it. And in turn, the more the likelihood of sales. Theoretically, it’s all-singing, all-dancing in terms of increasing revenue. But only when you get it right.

One of the most key components to prosperous multi-channel retailing is visibility across the whole supply chain, starting with inventory management. Having products sold on only one platform means monitoring and managing stock is straight-forward. Having products sold across a variety of platforms that don’t necessarily interact with one another increases the likelihood of inventory issues.

Utilising dropshipping can increase order fulfilment. Retailers don’t hold stock of their own products. They purchase inventory from a third party to fulfil the orders on their behalf, then send them directly to the customer.

Effective warehouse management

Most stock management takes place in the warehouse. The best stock management takes place in the Aramex warehouse. Thanks to our newly-upgraded, state-of-the-art Warehouse Management System (WMS), we boast full transparency over inventory levels. By processing real-time data that can be easily integrated with both supplier and shipper software, we ensure 100% visibility and communications over stock across the whole, evolving supply chain.

What’s more, a fully comprehensive WMS becomes integral when available stock needs redistributing between platforms. To accommodate changes in demand from retailers, stock availability needs shifting, in real-time, to the consumer’s preferred platform. Such changes to stock levels in one channel aren’t necessarily reflected in the others, unless they’re manually inputted… Unless you have our ability to integrate data!

Inventory levels must also be optimised to ensure they both meet demand and avoid excess. Accurate and sustained levels of data are crucial to ensuring a business maintains equilibrium between supply and demand, as well as continually improves its order cycle time.

The whole package

It goes without saying that the more retail channels, the higher the risk of errors in product shipping and logistics. Differing order sizes, as well as differing products, need to be transported to an increased variety of sites and countries. As the number of distribution channels rises, so too has demand for effective fulfilment services.

Customising products close to the point of sale is one of Aramex’s proudest offerings. With value-added services ranging from labelling and re-kitting to our new, bespoke Fashion Service, we can help to ensure 360° order fulfilment. To ensure clothes are ready for the runway (sometimes, quite literally!), we offer price-tagging, label stitching, steam-ironing, sensor-tagging, folding, and packaging. Quality checks are as standard to ensure customers’ needs continue to be satisfied, without compromising on time or quality.

Last-mile, not last-thought

When we reach the point of shipping, partnerships with numerous transportation providers ensures an established and constant provision of timely solutions. As the number of product destinations increases, knowing products are being shipped reliably is key to helping suppliers sleep soundly at night.

Thanks to our global infrastructure and collaborations with an ever-increasing network of commendable transport and logistics providers, we also sleep soundly at Aramex. Even during the sought-after last-mile distribution to the consumer, which has never been more in the spotlight. Last-mile shouldn’t mean last-thought; we’re driving up the quality of our deliveries, one gear at a time.

You could say that Christmas has come early. We’ve established, and continue to maintain, effective supply chain capabilities to meet the needs of meticulous multi-channel retailing. And all you need to do is put them into practice. Contact one of our specialists today to ensure that this Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year for your retail activities.

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