Said no one ever.
Have you ordered Starbucks recently? Tried to buy a car? Already worried about your backordered Mattel toys? We feel you. As many of you know, we’re experiencing yet another ripple effect of COVID-19, the global supply chain crisis. While the pandemic has brought this crisis to the forefront of the modern consumer’s daily life, supply chain generally has been undergoing heightened stresses with the shift from physical to digital shopping. Business of Fashion’s recent State of Fashion, co-authored by McKinsey, reports that by 2025, e-commerce will account for one-third of all global fashion sales. It’s slated to reach 40 percent and 45 percent in the US and China respectively.
The current supply chain crisis is representative of the challenges ahead for retailers not equipped with the proper tools to handle the new normal. For example, traditional shipping solutions weren’t built for the volume of packages going through our domestic ground and air infrastructure today. In the same BoF and Mckinsey report, “transport capacity” is in the top three concerns by surveyed retailers.
Thanks to the exciting e-commerce growth fueled by the pandemic, our B2C supply chain constraints are only exacerbated. In many ways, the current state of domestic B2C e-commerce is like trying to retrofit an airplane for space travel. So, if you’re a consumer reading this, it’s not (entirely) UPS, USPS, and FedEx’s fault those Christmas presents are delayed. As we look towards 2022, 87 percent of fashion executives expect supply chain disruptions to negatively impact margins. Yikes. With many components of a retailer’s supply chain out of their control, we recommend retailers explore enterprise technology solutions that give agency back to their business. Defy is here to share four tactical technology solutions retailers can implement so Santa gets more sleep next holiday season.
Airspace. We’ve all been there, it’s December 22nd and we’d pay anything to get the drone our kid wanted in time for him to open it under the tree (Okay, I don’t have kids yet but this scenario sounds stressful). Airspace is unlocking net-new access to logistics partners for goods that have time-sensitive demands on their delivery. This could be a manufacturing plant part, vaccine boosters, or your kid’s toy. Airspace is a software layer in between hundreds of shippers optimizing solutions outside of just standard carriers to get your items from A to B. In short, Airspace makes the magic of Santa happen, no Rudolph required.
Target retailer: Large enterprise customers
Soundcommerce. If Airspace is helping items get from point A to B quicker, Soundcommerce is streamlining your warehouse and inventory optimization. Most warehouse management systems are simple input-output systems. Receive an order, ship a package. There’s very little intelligence going into package prioritization or even which warehouse the items are shipping from. This obfuscation of customer identity and supply chain attributes is no longer serving brands and customers. What if you could understand who this package was for and their LTV to your brand? How might that change your supply chain priorities? Soundcommerce is unlocking these data silos for customer and SKU level information. Your elves will thank you later for making their job easier with Soundcommerce’s data platform.
Target retailer: Midsize online/offline retailers to large omnichannel retailers
Prive. One of the biggest challenges at Gap was predicting which SKU’s would be big winners; in turn, making sure we had enough stock for the holiday rush. With subscriptions, brands know which products are being consistently re-purchased. This visibility into future sales powered by subscriptions is an inventory management hack every retailer should be considering. Prive is empowering brands with the platform they need to create flexible, customer-centric subscription programs. The result? Unlocking leading indicators of popular products and more predictable supply chains. If growing subscription revenue is a core focus for your brand in 2022, Prive should be top of your implementation “nice” list.
Target retailer: Shopify enabled retailers, $10 million + in revenue with a focus on driving subscription revenue.
Novi. We’ve covered last-mile needs, customer identity, and inventory optimization. However, do you know what’s going into the products you’re shipping, packing, and subscribing? Enter Novi, a platform that empowers retailers and brands with the data to understand the chemicals and ingredients that make up their consumer products. As consumers continue to demand sustainable and clean products, brands and retailers need a trusted platform to verify their products. Novi is becoming the single source of truth for sustainable and clean ingredients. In turn, Novi is a powerful platform giving brands the tools to vet, discover, and procure transparent ingredients that meet their clean or sustainability standards. As your company looks towards its 2022 sustainability initiatives, Novi can eliminate toxic coal for those charcoal face masks (and much more!).
Target retailer: Any brand or retailer who produces or sells beauty and personal goods items.
A key theme across each of these technology platforms is unlocking data to give brands and retailers the information they deserve. Soundcommerce and Prive are empowering brands with better data about actions that are already happening within their supply chain. Airspace and Novi are at opposite ends of the supply chain yet, are marketplaces that enable retailers and brands to make smarter, more transparent decisions.
While continued supply chain challenges loom ahead, treat yourself with some of these efficiency-gaining technology platforms that will generate a more seamless 2022 peak season.
Madison & the defy team