The Rise of E-Commerce

Though shoppers still rush to stores in droves (and in, in some cases, stampedes), sales in brick-and-mortar stores are actually dwindling. In 2015, online sales jumped 14% and brought in $2.72 billion, while in-store sales fell from $11.6 billion to $10.4 billion in total. That means it’s more crucial than ever for retailers to adequately prepare for the demands of customers shopping from the comfort of their own homes.

To confront the quickly changing landscape of e-commerce, retailers must develop an agile supply chain that can move information and product quickly and efficiently. For one, retailers have to match the technological savvy of their customers by adapting tools and processes that are highly responsive to consumer demands and maintain pinpoint accuracy in package and supply tracking. In addition, the age of e-commerce has ushered in a dramatic change in the average size of warehouses. The expectation of lightning-quick deliveries necessitates the use of either small, centrally-located warehouses, or Amazon-sized mega warehouses with robots on call to retrieve and ship product.

It’s almost Black Friday, and that means anything and everything could happen. The key to pulling off the biggest shopping day of the year is a combination of careful planning and the ability to adapt to whatever disruptions customers, weather, and suppliers throw retailers’ way. Luckily, there’s an abundance of tools and technologies to help them strategize and prepare for the most important time of year.

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