Brick and mortar retail is dead.
How many times have you heard that? We’re betting plenty. But the thing is, that statement couldn't be further from the truth. While “ecommerce sales in the third quarter of 2023 accounted for 15.6 percent of total retail sales,” 72 percent of consumers still shop in stores on a weekly basis.
For every argument there is a counter argument. So what’s that tell us?
It simply tells us that the retail environment is constantly changing. For brands, that requires foresight and adaptability. It also requires a strong, yet flexible internal infrastructure. And since we’re at the beginning of the year, it’s a perfect time for brands to take stock and follow through on strategies that will help them keep their operations… optimized.
Keep up on Retail Industry Trends
Like we said, changes in the retail environment come at you fast. New selling platforms catch fire and rapidly gain market share. (Just think about what Shopify has done in the last few years.) New models pop up and scale. Consumer behaviors change. And as the pandemic showed us, shockwaves can rattle supply chains.
The point is this: brands that have their finger on the pulse of the retail industry will be better positioned to capitalize on changes and trends.
Keep tabs on your industry publications. In the fashion business? Subscribe to the Business of Fashion. Want to understand how the retail world is operating? Follow RetailDive. And don’t forget to subscribe to EDI Insider for insights on how our award-winning EDI platform, Lingo, can help your brand grow and scale.
Understand Where Your Orders are Coming From… And Where They’re Not
You likely already know where your orders are coming from, especially if you’re only selling on one platform. But say you sell on your own ecommerce site and through trading partners. Where else can you sell? Other trading partners? Amazon? eBay? Etsy? Wholesale? Through clubs like Costco? Wayfair? HSN and QVC?
The more you can understand where your orders are coming from, the better you can identify and consider new channels. It’s an omnichannel world, friends.
Consider Upgrading Your Systems
One of the most obvious ways to level up your operations (in 2024 and beyond) is to take a hard look at your internal systems, namely your ERP, your accounting system, your inventory management system and your warehouse management system. Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest taking a look at your EDI solution too. All self-promotion aside, your EDI solution – and perhaps more importantly - your EDI solutions provider, has a major impact on your trading partner relationships. Leveling up your EDI solution and partnering with a provider that offers custom integrations, U.S.-based customer support and an extensive list of mapped trading partners can improve efficiency, reduce errors, avoid chargebacks and ultimately, positively impact your bottom line.
Double Down on Integrations… And Automate Them
When your ERP, accounting, WMS and EDI systems are integrated and talking to each other, data flows accurately and efficiently. Manual data entry requirements all but disappear. Error rates plummet as do chargeback frequencies. These benefits compound when the integrations are automated.
The impact EDI-powered automated integrations can have on a brand’s overall operation is exponential.
Pro Tip: Within Lingo, you can create custom tags to trigger integration automations that also improve both internal and external communications and visibility.
The Ever-Changing Retail Environment Creates Opportunities
Whether brick-and-mortar retail experiences a renaissance or free returns go the way of the dinosaur, changes in the retail world create opportunities for those willing to identify and capitalize on them.