As the retail landscape continues to evolve, brands and retailers are gearing up for what promises to be another challenging yet lucrative peak season.
The unique challenges posed by the current year require innovative strategies and a forward-thinking approach to ensure seamless operations, customer satisfaction, and brand success.
In an exclusive interview with Jamie Saucedo, Senior Vice President, Business Operations at PFS, we gained insights into key strategies and industry trends shaping the upcoming peak season.
1. Optimising operations through distributed order management (DOM) technology
To address the escalating demand and rising operational costs, PFS is leveraging distributed order management (DOM) technology.
Saucedo explains, “PFS’ DOM technology systematically directs multi-node fulfilment, allowing retailers to distribute inventory and order volume across multiple distribution points. This de-centralised approach enables retailers to locate inventory closer to consumers, providing faster and more cost-effective shipping options.”
She emphasises the importance of operational speed in supporting fast fulfilment, even with increased basket sizes, highlighting PFS’ systems and processes designed to achieve this at scale.
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Technologies such as light-to-light picking, system-driven pick paths, and paperless packing slips contribute to the quick and accurate processing of orders, irrespective of demand.
2. Embracing technological advancements for seamless peak operations
In the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape, technological advancements play a crucial role in ensuring a seamless and efficient peak season.
Saucedo identifies warehouse automation, DOM technology, and accurate channel forecasting as essential components for driving fast and accurate fulfilment operations.
Diversifying the carrier network, integrating AI technologies for personalised pre-click experiences, and predictive AI for spend trend analysis are also vital for enhancing customer experiences during peak periods.
3. Integrating eco-friendly practices for sustainability
As sustainability becomes a focal point for consumers, PFS is committed to integrating eco-friendly practices into its operations.
Saucedo discusses initiatives from paperless picking to sustainable packaging options, emphasising the importance of right-size packaging to reduce waste and transportation costs.
She highlights how PFS’ warehouse management technology supports brands in offering eco-friendly packaging options during checkout, enhancing their overall sustainability initiatives.
4. Addressing supply chain disruptions with strategic planning
Supply chain disruptions remain a major concern, and Saucedo emphasises the importance of strategic planning to overcome potential challenges.
She suggests a decentralised fulfilment strategy to spread inventory across multiple locations, mitigating bottlenecks caused by disruptions.
Responsive customer service and a robust inventory management system play crucial roles in providing a positive customer experience, particularly during unforeseen events.
5. Adapting to the surge in online orders
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards online shopping, and PFS recommends a multi-faceted approach to meet increased demand.
Saucedo suggests the use of temporary facilities like pop-up distribution centres and leveraging omnichannel fulfilment technology to utilise store stock rooms for online order fulfilment.
She envisions a future where brick-and-mortar stores seamlessly integrate online order fulfilment without disrupting in-store operations.
6. Enhancing customer experience from fulfilment to post-purchase Support
Recognising the paramount importance of customer experience, PFS implements strategies to enhance the overall journey for brands and retailers.
Outsourced customer service, order tracking apps, and the integration of chatbots into customer service processes contribute to a positive and personalised customer care experience.
The seamless integration between fulfilment and customer service ensures accurate communication and sets customer expectations.
As brands and retailers gear up for this year’s peak season, these insights from Jamie Saucedo shed light on the innovative strategies and technologies that will define success in the rapidly evolving retail landscape.
By embracing technology, sustainability, and a customer-centric approach, businesses can navigate the challenges of peak seasons and leave a lasting positive impression on their customers.