Business is booming for online retailers…but only half are happy with their fulfilment operations.

Jonathan Bellwood, Founder & CEO, Peoplevox

“The 2017 E-Commerce Fulfilment Report” commissioned by Peoplevox, a leading expert ecommerce Warehouse Management System (WMS) provider, found sales to be booming last year for 82% of the e-commerce and multichannel businesses surveyed. While many voiced concerns over increasing competition, Brexit and currency fluctuations, the majority (88%) expected a further increase in orders during 2017.

However, only 53% of respondents in the global survey said they were happy with their fulfilment and warehouse operations. Purchasing and Forecasting was highlighted as the most common challenge overall with almost a quarter (24%) saying this was the one area requiring the most improvement in 2017.

Many questioned (63%) admitted to not always shipping on time with 34% citing the unavailability of stock being a key reason. When it comes to rectifying shipping errors, the majority (80%) appear accepting of the additional carriage, customer service and warehouse labour expenses as an inevitable cost of order fulfilment. 1 in 5 admitted to not knowing the cost of shipping mistakes.

The majority (78%) also found meeting the additional demand for orders at peak times an ongoing challenge in 2016, with just over half (52%) resorting to hiring temporary staff. Paying overtime to existing staff and pulling in staff from other parts of the business were other common solutions.

While 62% said their business used a WMS, 70% of those that don’t ‘will not’ or ‘may not’ implement one in 2017 for reasons such as complexity, unclear benefits, or believing their business just isn’t ready. 30% said they still rely on their ERP/e-commerce platform for managing the basics of warehouse management.

Specific business challenges or key IT events appear to impact directly on a retailer’s decision to invest in a dedicated WMS platform. 40% stated that an increase in picking errors was the main reason they would or had implemented a WMS while other common reasons included sales growth, warehouse expansion, or the implementation of new e-commerce platforms or ERP systems. Just over 10% said poor online ratings had also inspired a move towards implementing a WMS.

Commented Jonathan Bellwood, Founder & CEO, Peoplevox: “While it is encouraging to see so many survey respondents reporting continuing sales growth, our report has identified a number of growing pains. These will become increasingly challenging for businesses as they continue to expand rapidly. However, affordable, fit for purpose ecommerce fulfilment solutions now make it easier than ever to equip warehouses with the tools necessary for maximising productivity, accuracy and profitability.”

The full report can be downloaded by visiting fulfilment-report


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