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ME digital retail orders ‘to grow 10pc in 5 years’

NEW YORK, April 10, 2018

Over 80 per cent of retailers in the Middle East use store inventory to fulfil digital orders and 29 per cent expect this to increase by greater than 10 per cent over the next five years, a report said.

Retailers and operations leaders are calculating that a network of stores can get digital orders faster and more efficiently than a handful of centralized warehouses, added the report titled “Future of Fulfilment Vision Study” from Zebra Technologies Corporation, a market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers.

In response to today’s online-buying, smartphone-wielding consumer that expects a seamless, faster purchasing journey, the study revealed that 78 per cent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 40 per cent anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028. In addition, 87 per cent of survey respondents expect to use crowdsourced delivery or a network of drivers that choose to complete a specific order by 2028.

Key survey findings:

•    Only 39 per cent of supply chain respondents reported operating at an omnichannel level. The survey found reducing backorders was the biggest challenge to reaching omnichannel fulfilment for one-third of respondents followed by inventory allocation and freight costs.

•    76 per cent of surveyed retailers use store inventory to fill online orders, and 86 per cent of retail respondents plan to implement buy online/pick up in store in the next year. Retailers are investing in retrofitting stores to double as online fulfilment centres and shrinking selling space to accommodate e-commerce pickups and returns.

•    Globally, 87 per cent of respondents agreed that accepting and managing product returns is a challenge. The increase in free and fast product delivery corresponds with an increase in product returns, a costly concern that retailers struggle to manage efficiently across many different purchasing models. Seven in 10 surveyed executives agree that more retailers will turn stores into fulfilment centres that accommodate product returns. More than 60 per cent of retailers that currently do not offer free shipping, free returns or same-day delivery plan to do so while 44 per cent expect to outsource returns management to a third party.

•    Although 72 per cent of organizations utilize barcodes today, 55 per cent of organizations are still using inefficient, manual pen-and-paper based processes to enable omnichannel logistics. By 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners will be used by 94 per cent of respondents for omnichannel logistics. The upgrade from manual pen-and-paper spreadsheets to handheld computers with barcode scanners or tablets will improve omnichannel logistics by providing more real-time access to warehouse management systems.

•    Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow by 49 per cent in the next few years. RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions, offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy and shopper satisfaction while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.

•    Future-oriented decision makers revealed that next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions that will add newfound speed, precision and cost effectiveness to transportation and labour. Surveyed executives expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones (39 per cent), driverless/autonomous vehicles (38 per cent), wearable and mobile technology (37 per cent) and robotics (37 per cent).

Regional findings

•    The need for inventory accuracy will continue to rise in North America. Manufacturers, logistics companies and merchants ranked current inventory accuracy at 74 per cent and reported needing to be at 83 per cent to handle the rise of omnichannel logistics.

•    95 per cent of respondents in Asia Pacific rate e-commerce as the driving need for faster delivery. The region expects to implement same-day delivery faster than any other region, and 42 per cent of those surveyed ranked drones as one of the most important disruptive technologies.

•    Shipping fees and returns are undergoing a makeover in Latin America. Approximately 40 per cent of respondents plan to discontinue free shipping, 55 per cent expect to end free return shipping and 61 per cent forecast the elimination of separate returns facilities that are managed by third-party companies.

Jim Hilton, Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics Global principal, Zebra Technologies said: “Driven by the always-connected, tech-savvy shopper, retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omnichannel product fulfilment and delivery expectations.”

“Zebra’s Future of Fulfilment Vision Study found that 89 per cent of survey respondents agreed that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. In response, companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Zebra | Digital retail |

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