By SnapFulfil CEO UK & Europe, Tony Dobson: What has struck me most about COVID-19 so far is the rapid business response to the crisis. Brands are switching up their game plan and capitalising on the e-commerce surge by going direct to consumer.
With an accelerated shift to online purchasing, consumers and businesses within the supply chain have been forced to change their buying habits due to the lockdown, which is likely to last beyond this pandemic.
Tinned food giant Heinz is an example of a household brand that has introduced its first direct-to-consumer (D2C) website, created in less than three weeks.The Heinz to Home site offers bundles of core Heinz products, with free shipping to NHS staff and other emergency service workers.
This type of new e-commerce will reshape the world of retail and business from now on in. It’s an opportunity for brands to take on established e-retail giants, such as Amazon, as well as high street supermarkets. It’s also an opportunity for them to gather valuable insight and data on their consumers.
A natural consequence of this sea-change is that the digital transformation of business will continue apace, with more automation to control stocks, fulfilment and delivery.
And this is where advanced cloud-based WMS, such as SnapFulfil, really comes into its own. Flexible, quick and cost-effective to implement and suitable for warehouse operations of all sizes – whether micro-solutions for local commerce activity, to large-scale national facilities – WMS is an integral part of the new e-commerce world order.
Our functionality rich software is designed to integrate with other solutions, creating a valuable ‘blockchain’ network of peer-to-peer transactions. This lets firms share information about a container just once, but everyone up and down the chain can see that data in an instant.
Importantly, by joining these silos into one cloud platform, managers such as Operations, Finance, HR or Marketing Directors can access a real-time birds eye view of their business allowing them to make better, more efficient decisions based on solid data – essential as margins are tighter than ever.
Through blockchain technology, firms are also waking up to the value of the customer data trail and the loyalty they can harness through having a single customer view, which can only be achieved through integration and mapping each customer’s buying journey from start to end and beyond. And fulfilment is part and parcel of that.
Therefore, having access to reliable, real-time data from a WMS is a critical link in the chain, especially as businesses learn to adapt to disruptive forces, such as the current pandemic.
For businesses of all types and sizes, being able to adapt seamlessly to disruptive forces is vital and it doesn’t require seven or eight figure investments in new technology. At SnapFulfil we are working with customers to help them achieve their D2C ambitions, such as Vax, Petflow, VisionDirect and Farmdrop.
So, while the business landscape is changing, it’s those firms who embrace the brave new post-COVID-19 world and make smart ‘blockchain’ technology investments – without a large capital outlay investment up front or costly infrastructure changes – who will reap the benefits.