The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its economic forecast for the year, projecting that retail industry sales will grow 3.1%, higher than the 10-year average of 2.7%. The NRF also announced that it expects non-store sales in 2016 to grow between 6% and 9%. These predictions exclude purchases related to automobiles, gas stations and restaurants. Read more of the forecast here.
It’s not an easy process to develop a global ecommerce shopping platform for your retail business. Retailers understand that everything begins with the consumer; they are the ones who go through the shopping experience from start to finish and with an ever-increasing amount of interruptions during the buying process, retailers must adapt to survive and thrive.
MultichannelMerchant.com provides four tips for retailers to grow their global ecommerce business here.
Warehouses are commonly used by retail businesses to store items that have been shipped to them but have not yet been moved into stores. In addition to retailers, transport businesses, manufacturers, customs, importers and exporters use warehouses as well. They may be designed to house goods of a certain type; perishable goods, for instance, are stored in refrigerated warehouses. They may be used to assemble containers for export or prepare consolidated shipments for distributions.
Despite the tremendous value warehouses provide for companies, some issues cannot be avoided altogether. In this article, we will look at some of the most pressing retail warehousing issues and how they may be solved, avoided or minimized.
Top Retail Warehousing Issues
1) Not having enough space
The amount of storage space needed for a company depends on the size and quantity of goods to be stored and length of time which storage is required. Companies aim to rent or purchase warehouses that have enough space to meet their needs, but sometimes end up ordering more merchandise than their space can accommodate or under estimating the length of time necessary. More often, the issue of space occurs as a consequence of inadequate organizational practices, such as not making efficient use of the available space or experiencing delays in implementation of goods at final destinations. Such poor organization leads to time and money being wasted on unnecessary labor and square footage.
To ensure adequate warehouse organization, a company should contract with warehouses and 3pl companies that understand the parameters of retail warehousing requirements. This way, less time will be spent locating items and in turn expedite the actual shipping process, such as using expedited logistics services. The machines used in loading and unloading should also be taken into consideration since they, too, are typically stored on-site. Counter balance machines are not very good for retail warehousing and should be rejected in favor of narrow aisle reach trucks and multi-directional forklifts, which can increase storage space by thirty and forty percent respectively.
Another important element of space management in retail warehousing is to have the place thoroughly evaluated by a professional forklift business. This can further maximize storage space. It is essential to have a facility that understands retail needs and can provide flexibility.
When looking for slots to store items that have just arrived, forklift trucks often make one trip after another while scouring for space around the warehouse, wasting gas or electricity. As a result, they often end up putting their loads into the first empty slot across which they come, again resulting in disorganization. The last thing that any retail business needs or wants is disorder; they need to know exactly where something is so their customers will not have to wait for inventories to be replenished or for new products to launch.
There are numerous types of storage racks, and good retail warehouse practices involve knowing what they are and the purposes for which they may be used; these include:
- double deep
- powered mobile
Companies can also plan the use of slots, taking into account special needs for certain items as well as supply needs.
3) Discrepancies in inventory, not picking fast enough
Another common warehousing problem occurs when too much time is spent on each item because of poor management practices. When scanned mechanically, barcodes can reduce handling time for merchandise, providing order and ease of access. For larger items and fixture or displays, pallets can be color coded in order to group together specific store configurations or marketing campaigns, thus allowing design teams to have easy access.
In conclusion, retail freight logistics and retail warehousing depends, more than anything else, on organization. With everything in its proper place and employing proper accounting and moving machines, retail warehousing can be vastly simplified, to everyone’s great satisfaction.
STC Logistics specializes in nationwide retail logistics solutions and warehousing services. We ensure not only that your items arrive on time and undamaged with our expedited logistics services, but are stored safely and scheduled with cost-efficiency and reliability. To learn more about our retail freight logistics solutions, click below.
Up and coming retail logistics trends show a global shift in the movement of goods and services. Developing countries are now challenging countries that were once recognized as leading the world in consumers spending and consumption. Here are retail trends that are expected for the remainder of the 2015:
1) Heavier Competition
Developing markets offer goods and services for developing lands. Goods are in demand by countries once unable to afford durable goods. Manufacturers are courting consumers of these nations and their newfound wealth. Consumers are offered different avenues for shopping, placing pressure on sellers to work harder to draw and hold present customer base. This requires consistent improvement of retail logistic strategy and solutions.
2) Increase in Supply Lines
Retailers and manufacturers are using multiple currency applications and better merchandise supply lines. Supplying a reliable product the first time around is more important than ever. Merchandise reaches customers in a few days rather than weeks. Sellers competing with businesses with local distribution networks must search for benefits that set them apart and give a buyer a motive to wait extra time for merchandise. Companies refusing to recognize the way money is moved from one global point to another cannot operate effectively. It is more important than ever to have a reliable logistics backing in todays “instant gratification” culture.
3) Increase in Online Purchasing
The internet launched a major change in retail logistics. Those realizing the advantage quickly took primary spots in front of the consumer, such as Overstock and Zappos. The introduction of internet purchasing changed retail logistics even further. Businesses operated by one person or small groups are now able to advertise and sell to global markets, ship merchandise and cut into a percentage of the GDP. Globalization is a possibility for anyone.
Internet shopping is increasingly done more on mobile devices. The most recent trend is new source in mobile technology: shopping apps. Customers can download shopping apps on phones and checkout with any number of payment options. Prosperous businesses have fallen along the wayside if they haven’t yet adopted this technology. More than 50% of online shopping is currently done through mobile apps. Future expectations expect the present 4 billion shopping app dollars to expand to a fast 200 billion. Presently, 78% of people searching with a mobile app make a purchase.
4) Cheaper Costs for Major Transportation
Companies around the world now have access to major transportation outlets. The ability of companies to ship small and large loads economically from every part of the globe allows any merchant to transport goods. Merchandise is constructed, stored, packaged and shipped in a refined operation—specifically when outsourcing logistics needs to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. Logistics providers offer retailers and customers peace of mind by providing currency alternatives, inventory management and product tracking. When it comes to retail logistics practices, this is a selling mechanism. A reliable 3PL can provide customers payment arrangements that suit their bookkeeping methods that ultimately aid in sales.
In large business operations from developed nations, owners may know how long merchandise will take to get to a destination as well as transportation cost and has a strong network of carriers and 3PL’s to manage products. The use of a 3PL provides manufacturers from less well-known destinations the opportunity to compete in an economy once dominated by larger countries and allows larger businesses to maintain control.
5) Information Flow Integration
Access to information allows buyers to reach into a new pool of prices. Older manufacturers may be able to present a lower price of quality merchandise but others may sacrifice profit to break into the market. A smaller company may have less overhead enabling it to compete with mainstream producers. Knowledge of the market that consumers work and buy merchandise in is essential. Reliable export and packaging information can be easier to find. This added step helps trust in dealing with a provider of merchandise and is an asset in retail logistics operations.
Material handling, production, packaging, inventory, warehousing and security are all important aspects of retail logistics. If a retailer’s freight is not distributed and delivered with accuracy and safety, they risk the cost of operation and profit. Retailers can rest assured that they are maximizing productivity and profit when employing a third party logistics (3PL) provider. STC Logistics specializes in reliable retail logistics, export assembly services and import distribution solutions that can ensure an efficient supply chain. Whether coming from multiple vendors or going to various destinations, from inventory, warehousing and delivery requirements, STC Logistics warrants product to its final endpoint. Click below to learn more about our fast freight retail shipping services!
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Developing and executing effective retail rollouts and distributions require detailed planning to create a solid foundation for success. It is critical that all parties are strategically aligned for a rollout to be successful and the logistics plan to be effective. There are several strategies that can better streamline rollouts and distributions when ensuring a timely and superior program.
There are three primary strategies that should be followed to guarantee successful retail rollouts and distributions. These strategies include risk management, scheduling and project optimization.
As with all business practices, retail rollouts and distributions require a variety of decisions throughout the entire process. Every decision contributes to the success or failure of the project. Therefore, to ensure that correct decisions are made, all potential scenarios must be anticipated, communicated and assessed with regards to risks and benefits. These decisions effect cost, timeline and quality of the retail rollout.
To successfully implement the risk management strategy, it is critical to evaluate all risks and compare them with the benefits. This process comprises taking risk information and organizing it into a useable format thus allowing team members to be ahead of any issues that may arise. Then, take the implications and evaluate them to determine a risk-to-benefit situation for rollouts and distributions.
Another critical strategy is implementing correct scheduling to ensure milestones are met for the rollout and distributions timeline. It takes a specific amount of time to properly complete each task. Timelines for launches, revenue deadlines, marketing campaigns, lease payments and a number of other factors can affect timing, presenting a challenging situation in which those involved are expected to complete the work under tight deadlines. This increases risk in that the quality of the work may be substandard and can lead to errors or missing timeline milestones.
To mitigate this issue with a proper scheduling strategy, it is important to have confirmation from all parties on the amount of time for each to complete their required task. This allows them to be held accountable for completing the work on-time and with the highest possible quality. This strategy is fundamental in managing expectations and delivering the best opportunity for success with rollouts and distributions.
Searching for project optimization methods during the retail prototyping phase relies on a variety of factors. First, they are required to develop the identity of the brand. This includes materials, colors, environment and feel; all of which help to build or maintain product identity. As a result of time restraints, the designer cannot analyze every option and not all processes can be optimized from the beginning. In some instances, the products may not be available at the time of the prototyping due to long lead-times or could only be available through select suppliers.
Therefore, a project optimization strategy must rely on value engineering, an organized process for cost reduction while minimizing performance impact. This piece is commonly integrated with the entire design process and should be a factor that the designers are constantly considering. Processes must be streamlined and the result is efficiencies that equate to cost savings and overall improved rollouts and distributions.
Risk management, scheduling and project optimization are three vital strategies that can be implemented to maximize rollout and distribution success. These three approaches anticipate issues, streamline the process while improving accountability and save on costs. These are typically three areas that fail during rollouts and distributions if not properly planned at the beginning of the project.
STC Logistics specializes in solutions to streamline the logistics process for rollouts and distributions. To learn more about our retail specialties, give us a call at 1-800-547-4324 or click below.
Retail planning for the holiday season can be a daunting task. Having the right decorations and an accurate inventory full of all the new specialty products for the season is essential for business success. To meet these retail planning challenges, many savvy retailers turn to 3PL providers to make sure their logistics needs are managed properly. Here’s why:
3PL Providers Meet Deadlines
In retail planning, it’s critical to have freight shipments arrive on time. 3PL providers like STC Logistics utilize an infrastructure based on state-of-the-art technology which recognizes an impeccable route for each specific shipment. The needs of freight shipments are handled and processed by high speed machines, ensuring superlative delivery times. Experienced 3PL providers communicate with affiliates from all over the world in order to consider each possible mode of transportation before deciding on the quickest freight shipment route. Utilizing a retail-specialized provider during holiday freight campaigns begins with computerized recognition of efficient routes with economical rates and ends with precise timing for delivery arrival before the holidays.
3PL Providers Save Time and Money
Distance, equipment, handlers, consolidation and deadlines factor into freight shipment prices. Retail-specialized 3PL providers analyze each freight shipment with a customized rate program to ensure that the most amicable and economical rates available are offered. Optimal logistical efficiency means money is saved in every possible way while the fastest freight shipment routes are taken. Freight may be combined in order to provide additional saving opportunities during the process of transportation for retail planning. Individualized electronic rate quote numbers are created when a freight shipment is rated and this number is used to reference pricing when freight is booked and tracking numbers are generated. This enables the rates and routing to be exact.
The Benefits of Electronic Logistics Format
Multiple rollouts, destinations or assembly services are no issue with STC’s Electronic Logistics Format (ELF). It is a proprietary service which STC Logistics utilizes in order to give clients the advantage. It has been specifically designed to provide an awareness of information between all involved parties during the distribution process. Customized rollouts are drafted, many containing multiple destinations for distribution, along with pieces, sizes and weights and then the spreadsheet for a freight shipment will be received by means of EDI transfer. Updates and changes are simply made and reviewing an entire program now becomes straightforward.
Before the very first pickup is made, outlined instructions that detail requirements for pickup and delivery will already have been prepared and awaiting client approval. Once approved, the ELF will be published to a custom mini-website accessible to clients through the STC Logistics client portal. Status updates are easily viewed, tracking is in real time and reports are easily manufactured. Receiving holiday freight shipments this season in a timely and cost-efficient manner by utilizing STC Logistics enables distribution that is stress-free.
3PL Providers Use Efficient Freight Shipment Methods
Retail planning requires research when partnering with a logistics provider in order to grant an overall flawless process in retail planning. Having a 3PL provider facilitate freight shipments guarantees an enhanced and well-researched process for finding available logistics. Placing an emphasis on the process of retail planning before the transportation plan occurs enables retailers to confidently be assured of the quality they are receiving during a freight shipment. Providing easily accessible status updates and paying sufficient attention to concerns with detailed instructions ensures optimal efficiency during the shipping process.
STC Logistics has established an impeccable reputation throughout its 45 years of experience as a 3PL provider. We offer unbeatable freight shipment delivery times on land, air, and sea—all while enhancing a client’s retail planning process. Our unrivaled technology and catered retail planning programs ensure time and money are saved during the transportation process. Additionally, with a damage rate of less than 1%, our customers can feel confident their shipments will arrive in pristine condition ready to be stocked for the holiday season.
Cosmetics hold a vital percentage of business in today’s retail environment. Cosmetic displays are just as important as the cosmetics themselves, as they are the ones that attract and influence customers to make a purchase. It is crucial for the process of shipping cosmetic displays to be very well planned out and executed. Logistics providers must ensure that displays are shipped on time and in mint condition.
Partnering with an efficient third party logistics provider can facilitate the process of shipping cosmetic displays to a great extent. However, it is essential that a retail company first researches various available logistic providers and their methods of packaging and shipping before a decision is made. Research is necessary to make a partnership decision based on the 3pl expertise in the industry.
A reliable logistics service provider always places an emphasis on the planning process before shipping cosmetic displays and all other similar delicate products. Therefore, the selected 3pl company that ships their cosmetic displays must follow quality organizational practices before and during the transportation process.
Detailed conversations regarding the organizational practices will a give a retailer better insight of the technologies and regulations adopted by the logistics provider. Retailers should consider the following when choosing a business partner to ship their cosmetic displays:
- Adopted packaging methods and handling instructions
- Adopted track-keeping practices – keeping track of the shipment is of paramount importance for timely deliveries
- Stocking locations
- Delivery notification practices
- Financial benefits of specific partnership
A sufficient retail industry logistic provider must have a well-built organizational pattern for performing effective and efficient shipping for new store openings and marketing/advertising campaigns. A reliable 3pl provider will guarantee smooth flow of activities on the promised schedule with no harm to the products.
Planning a successful shipment of cosmetic displays is more than flawless organization. One of the thumb rules a 3pl provider must always follow is that the shipment is delivered on time. Either for a new store launch or re-launch of an old store, timely delivery of the products is a first demand any reliable logistic company must fulfill. With all the extra time calculated in advance, the shipment must be at required destination on or before the time.
Usually, the materials used for cosmetic displays are glass or plastic appearing like glass. Not only are these products prone to cracks during the process of packing, unpacking, loading and unloading due to jolts, but are also prone to scratches, which tend to drastically deteriorate their aesthetics. Retailers or wholesalers should consider the following points to avoid entrusting the responsibility of shipping cosmetic displays to an amateur company:
- Whether the logistic company will give due care to the products during any kind of jolts, vibrations and shocks during transit.
- Whether the packaging and stocking will be done in a manner to prevent the products from dirt and dust.
- Whether the packaging will be proper to give sufficient cushions (with the help of foam packaging) to the delicate products like cosmetic displays.
For a logistic company to be a reliable service provider, paying due attention to all these concerns, its organizational practices must include different handling instructions for a variety of specific goods, in this case for shipping cosmetic displays.
STC logistics is a renowned name in the field of shipping products, with all means of transportation, including air, ocean, rail and ground. The company has gained trust of the big retail stores for the diligence, punctuality and transparency it has to offer to its clientele. If you are looking for a logistic company that meets all its promises, just make a call at 1-800-547-4324 for more details.
To learn more about our retail procurement logistics solutions, cilck below!
Sensitive freight requires top-notch logistics solutions—especially in the retail procurement and pharmaceutical industries. One way to make sure delicate freight makes its journeys end, intact, is by utilizing white glove services. These specialized logistics services ensure utmost precision and include real-time freight tracking, lift-gate services, special handling care, and additional staff/drivers on hand for last-minute, unforeseen events.
For example, planning a national, time-sensitive retail product campaign requires high-quality logistics services to make sure displays and merchandise arrive to all locations undamaged and on time. White glove solutions offer helpful services like inside and floor delivery, as well as product placement. Installation and assembly services are also available with detailed instruction to get a campaign up and running.
In the pharmaceutical industry, white glove services are necessary for many clients because temperature-controlled environments are needed for most medical freight. Specialized handling and satellite shipment tracking are also available to clients to have complete transparency during the shipment process.
STC logistics specializes in white glove services for the retail and pharmaceutical industry, but serves clients in industries across the board. While customer retention remains a top priority, our services are driven by maintaining the highest-quality logistics solutions. Our pride is derived from the ability to safely deliver your freight, whether it’s to one location or hundreds.
White Glove Services at STC Logistics
There are different options for white glove services, depending on the size of your freight. For relatively small freight, or less than truckload (LTL), we provide the following logistics solutions:
- Inside delivery / On the floor / Product placement
- Pin point or window appointment delivery 24/7/365
- Removal of debris off site
- Uncreate and unpack
- Meet point of contact/installer/representative on site
- Driver assist – 2 man
- Blanket wrap and straps
- Palletize and package
- Air ride service
- Reverse logistics
- Liftgate service
- Before and after pictures
- Call prior
- Cross dock and storage
- Small truck delivery for dock restrictions
- Installation and assembly services available (detailed instructions must be provided to determine STC capabilities)
If your business anticipates moving a large amount of freight, you will most benefit from full truckload (FTL) white glove services. This is the best option for when your freight must go direct and dedicated. This includes no handling, complete security and satellite tracking that can pinpoint the location of your freight while in transit. For FTL shipments, we provide the following white glove services:
- Padded logistic vans with blankets straps and vertical e-trak system
- 22-53FT dedicated trucks with lift gate service
- Milk runs (multiple stop deliveries)
- Driver assists
- 2 man team
- Labor ready services (extra men)
- Blanket loaded and secured on site
- Pin point delivery
- Call prior
To learn more about our specialized white glove services, call STC Logistics at 1-800-547-4324 or visit our website today.
There are thousands of 3pl companies that can offer logistics services for retailers to accommodate new store openings, remodels and product launches. However, few are capable of meeting the necessary requirements for a seamless process from start to finish. Retail industry logistics requests are not limited to just loading and unloading goods; they involve well-planned and well-executed supply chain management. STC Logistics is versed in the specific necessities for rollouts and distributions.
Planning new store openings and store remodel rollouts and distributions may not be as easy as it sounds for many logistics providers; there are challenges such as time constraints and unforeseen events that must be dealt with properly and anticipated in advance. STC will work as an extension of your team to help get the job done.
The Essentials of Planning Rollouts and Distributions
When retailers accept to work with a specific 3pl provider that specializes in the retail industry, there are certain standards that the 3pl provider must uphold:
- Timeliness is key
- Minimal handling of goods (link to Express truck)
- Cost consciousness
- Well managed warehouses
- Transparency throughout the process (link to ELF)
- White glove services available
To meet these standards for rollouts and distributions, top-notch 3pl providers engage in a detailed planning process. Top-level logistics providers also utilize logistics management software solutions, as they make adopting the best industrial practices that are in line with the international regulations possible within short time spans. Advanced notice of locations and products allow STC to employ consolidation efforts to save time and cut costs.
Different rollouts and distribution needs require different packaging processes and handling instructions and delivery requirements. Logistics provider must be well prepared to handle shipments of various products, such as cosmetic displays, store fixtures, mannequins, POP displays, and kiosks all while knowing how to move the products efficiently and as quickly as possible.
Timely Delivery is Vital for Successful Rollouts and Distributions
While planning rollouts and distributions, 3pl providers must consider the crucial need for timely and professional delivery of retail procurement items. Most deliveries are made to installation teams or corporate executives, there has to be an understanding of the product and carriers must be professional. Therefore, experienced leaders in retail logistics industry begin with the planning of shipment and other activities with the help of software systems and by selecting the most qualified carriers. This lays out a perfect road map for the efficient and timely execution. The plans laid out are often aimed at cutting unnecessary cost and benefitting both parties involved. This kind of organizational practice used by STC Logistics cuts the risk of delay in deliveries and reduces the likelihood of any harm to products shipped by ensuring the ability to adjust to unforeseen issues, creating websites for client visibility and offering stress-free adjustments through planning.
Use of Modern Day Technologies
Modern day logistics providers use advanced logistics software programs to prevent any kind of process gaps that may result in late delivery. These software solutions enable the logistics providers to have enhanced data related to the supply chain, which is usually vital during rollout and distribution. Advanced technology systems ensure flawless and timely delivery of products by modern logistics providers. It also makes them the 3pl of choice when retailers are faced with new developments in their business, such as new product launch or opening of a new store. STC provides custom “mini-websites” to our clients providing visibility and flexibility, seamless transfers of data and custom reporting tools.
STC Logistics’ advanced methodologies for managing inventory and warehouses give us an edge over our competition that do not use similar solutions, and assist out logistics team tremendously in dealing with the most complex situations of rollouts and distribution.
There are numerous companies that specialize in planning rollouts and distributions, but the best are 3pl providers that use modern software solutions, better practices for managing inventories and warehouses, and deliveries without delay, irrespective of the quantity or category of the product. While looking for a 3pl provider for retail needs, it is imperative that the 3pl provider has a knack of dealing with different kind of requirements and specifications:
- Flexibility to accommodate any size/type of shipment
- Suitable warehouse management
- Packaging assessments
- Value added services
STC Logistics specializes in logistics solutions for rollouts and distributions. With extensive experience in retail procurement and marketing/advertising industries, we have the tools and knowledge to ensure all details are well-planned out for a timely rollout or launch. To learn more about our logistics specialties, click the button below!
A successful new store launch requires a meticulous rollout management plan. Everything from advertising and deadlines to budget and risk management has to be planned in great detail for a seamless process from start to finish. However, the first step towards success is recognizing logistics and supply-chain management as a crucial part of the strategy for the entire process.
Why Opt for 3PL (Third Party Logistics) Providers for Retail Logistic Best Practices and Good Rollout Management?
1) Speed and Responsiveness
Supply chain speed and responsiveness are usually considered more often than the price of a logistics service, but too often, many supply chain tiers are skipped by working with companies that are not experienced in all aspects of logistics. This is why logistics services should not be bundled blindly; for example, ordering transportation directly from a POP display manufacturer is far from optimal in terms of responsiveness, speed, and cost (they specialize in POP displays, not transportation, after all).
By opting to work with a 3PL provider, store owners don’t have to order various products through multiple supply chains. 3PL providers can handle all moving parts of the supply chain, so they serve almost as a one-stop shop for retailers. On top of time-efficiency, reliable and trusted 3PLs eliminate supply chain risks that come with bundled services and facilitate communications during the rollout management process.
2) Dynamic and Resilient Logistics Strategy
During rollout distribution management, it is crucial to adopt logistic practices that focus on execution-based processes and technologies that will not be interrupted by internal and external changes. For example, if a store owner is forced to swap electronic equipment due to legislation change, postponing the opening of the store should absolutely not be the result.
Trusted 3PL providers can identify and adapt to these changes as they happen because of the logistics management software programs they use. These software programs can identify bottlenecks and problems before they can impact a store owner. This helps the store owner in responding to changes in competitive and regulatory retail environments.
3) Fast Mall Deliveries
It’s obvious that supply chain speed is crucial for a timely launch of a new store opening, but there is no need to force a rush delivery for store merchandise when display shelves are arriving at least a week after. It is especially important that POP displays and other display shelves are delivered to the appropriate location before merchandise arrives and well in advance of the new store opening to ensure store layout and placement details are correct. Store managers should be able to count on reliable 3PL providers to meet the tightest deadlines and simplify the process for new store owners so they can focus all energy on opening up the store.
With leading transportation and logistics technology, STC Logistics not only provides a full, well-rounded solution for new store openings and mall deliveries, but also takes pride in providing clients with effective rollout management and distribution plans, regardless of the industry sector. To learn more about our specialized logistics specialties, including retail, marketing and advertising, click below!