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Christmas 2020 is set to break online shopping records as growth continues to accelerate due to the global coronavirus pandemic, with overall e-commerce sales expected to jump from initial predictions of 11% to 19% reaching £78.9bn (source: Edge Retail Insight).

As the cold, dark winter nights draw in, social distance queuing outside a store will be even less appealing, therefore the spotlight will be on warehouses to meet consumer expectations and get packages out on time and accurately, according to SnapFulfil’s managing director, Tony Dobson.

And with the added pressure of social distancing within warehouse operations too, easily accessible information data is paramount to improving efficiencies warehouse-wide, as well as having the ability to self-configure the software programme, creating a more nimble and cost-effective solution.

Dobson explained: “Pressures on warehouse operations is going to be really heightened this festive season, driven by an uplift in e-commerce while maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for employees. Therefore, businesses need to have the flexibility to modify their processes seamlessly and quickly to meet the challenges,without incurring additional costs.

“This is where a best-of-breed cloud-based WMS, such as SnapFulfil, allows them to simply track progress and reconfigure changes to achieve the best results and most efficient fulfilment operations. Apart from facilitating much more educated decisions, it also eliminates onerous and time-intensive paper-based processes in the warehouse, giving employees the time and flexibility to streamline procedures.”

But although Christmas is the season for giving, then January is increasingly the time for returns, typically costing UK retailers around £60 billion a year (upwards of $260 billion in the US), which can account for up to 10% of the business.

What is a cumbersome, manually controlled process can be both simple and speedy using technology. By automating the operation with a cloud-based WMS, featuring return management functionality, allows tracking and material flow processes, which can optimise the returns process from the dock to final dispositioning.

Such software can also drive the transition from manual to digital returns tracking, enabling a more accurate and automated way of tracing returned products through the warehouse.

“Capturing the maximum value from goods sold this festive season by implementing a cost-effective and efficient full service operation, has never been more important and should be a strategic priority. The technology is readily available, and the net result should be a significant increase in customer satisfaction leading to a much healthier bottom line,” Dobson concluded.

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