The challenges of e-business logistics in times of CoronaEmma Dijkstra
Logistics is a complex and challenging area at the best of times – and now, COVID-19 has changed everything. The impact on business is enormous. So, what logistical challenges are retailers currently dealing with – and how?
Clearly, the first priority for all retailers is to ensure safety: for warehouse staff, for delivery drivers, for store employees, and for customers. How do you pick and pack orders in a warehouse while minimising the risk of infection? How can staff keep distance from each other; how do you make sure that equipment is sanitised regularly? What protocols should be in place for order delivery?
Retailers are having to find solutions for all of these issues – often while dealing with much larger workloads than usual, since online purchases for certain types of products have increased massively. There is impact on other areas of the business: high workloads in the warehouse can lead to slower deliveries, which in turn increases pressure on your customer service team, as more customers are phoning to ask about their order.
Then there is the impact of suddenly having to close all stores: no more click and collect, no more return in store. How do you replace these services? Should you open new return channels? How do you get returned products back to where you need them most? And how do you inform your customers about the changes in your service?
And there are stock issues: stock for high-demand items may be running out in the warehouses, while stock in closed stores cannot be sold online and is therefore inaccessible. Seasonal stock may soon become unsellable. How do you prevent stock issues leading to loss of sales, and how do you make your store stock accessible again?
And finally, whilst in the midst of this crisis, while dealing with all kinds of pressing day-to-day issues, retailers need to prepare for the future. How will you make sure that you are ready for what happens next? What will you do when stores open again? What is your plan for when there is another shift in demand for certain product types? And if you found yourself badly prepared for the current crisis, how will you prepare for the next one?
There seems to be an endless list of such questions and challenges. This may seem daunting – but our e-business experts at Emakina have made an analysis of the major issues, and created a playbook that provides you with possible solutions in two areas:
- What can you do immediately to relieve your logistics issues, prevent loss of sales, inform your customers and unlock store stock?
- What can you do to prepare for the future?
Would you like to receive the playbook for free? Get in touch with Jos Strijbosch at firstname.lastname@example.org.