Part 2: Service Providers See Opportunities in 2012

In the Dec.-Jan. issue of Multichannel Merchant magazine, we focus on the many opportunities in 2012 for multichannel marketers as told to us by a wide range of sources. Here is a sample of what some of those opportunities are for next year.

Read Part 1 Here

Dave Cook, CEO of Fulfillment Technologies (FillTek):

Across the board, our clients are interested in international. With the market so competitive in the U.S., with a strong demand for Western goods (particularly in Mainland China) and the favorable exchange rate, we are continuing to see strong growth in the BRIC (Brazil Russia, India, and China) countries as well as Australia and South Korea.

There is a huge international market that’s growing like crazy.

Al Langsenkamp, CEO of Fifth Gear:

As the ecommerce channel continues to perform well, Fifth Gear is fielding significantly more inquiries about outsourced services than in the previous 12 months. I fully expect the number of retailers looking to outsourced fulfillment as a viable option will continue to rise.

As more retailers choose to outsource their direct channel operations, they will shift their internal resources to focus on what they do best – marketing their products across a variety of channels.

Many often think of the distribution center as an order fulfillment machine, but more often, it is becoming a critical branding touch point.

A big opportunity exists inside your distribution center facility for branding during the fulfillment process. Retailers need to ensure their product stands out when it arrives at their customer’s doorstep, and invites them back again.

As branding moves to areas beyond the website, catalog or storefront, we expect to see increased collaboration among marketing, operations and analytics teams to maximize on cross-channel promotional opportunities.

Continued shifts in carrier markets are anticipated this year, so strategies around shipping efficiencies and time-in-transit will be as important as ever. The consumer of 2012 will demand flexible shipping and returns from direct retailers, so the pressure is on retailers to offer consistent processes, whether it’s online, through mobile, via the contact center, or inside the brick and mortar store.

Jim Tierney ( is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.

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