Black Friday – Sink or Swim Moment for Fulfillment Centers?

Broomfield, CO, Nov. 23, 2020 — The annual rush to grab a bargain is set to break all records as Black Friday fever lets rip on Nov. 27.

The predictions follow a continuous upward trend for ecommerce sales with the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce revealing that, from July to September, consumers spent $199.44 billion online with U.S. retailers, up 37.1% from $145.47 billion for the same quarter the prior year. That means nearly $1 in every $5 spent came from orders placed online during Q3.

With demand unprecedented, the spotlight is well and truly on distribution centers to meet consumer expectations and get packages out on time and accurately, according to SnapFulfil CEO, Don White.

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

“The long Black Friday into Cyber Monday weekend, hotly followed by the holiday season, means fulfillment centers not only have to juggle much higher levels of activity, but also find a way of maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for workers,” White explained.

“It will be those forward thinking operators that have invested in their technology infrastructure, in particular their warehouse management system (WMS), who will thrive under the pressure and not find themselves in a black hole come Black Friday weekend.

“This is where a best of breed cloud-based WMS comes into its own.  Such technology allows operators to modify their processes seamlessly and quickly meet the challenges without incurring additional costs.  A technologically advanced WMS also allows operators to simply track progress and reconfigure changes to achieve the best results and most efficient fulfillment operations.”

But for every bargain to be bagged, there are also those that want to be returned.

What is a cumbersome, manually controlled process can be both simple and speedy using functionally rich technology.  Automating the operation with a cloud-based WMS, featuring return management functionality, allows tracking and material flow processes, which can optimize returns 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.

“Capturing the maximum value from goods sold around Black Friday will be down to those who have already implemented a cost-effective and efficient full service WMS operation.  But the appetite for ecommerce is predicted to stay, with the pandemic changing the way we shop forever, so it’s never too late to take action.  The technology is readily available, and the net result should be a significant increase in customer satisfaction leading to a much healthier bottom line,” White concluded.

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