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Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

The Critical Role of Logistics During the Holiday Season

Guest Author

Winter typically calls for cold weather and holiday festivities. For many businesses, it also signals the busiest time of the year. With only 22 days between Cyber Monday and Christmas, businesses and consumers alike are feeling pressed for time. According to Adobe Analytics, online holiday shopping between the months of November and December in the United States is projected to be $143.7B, a 14.1% growth compared to last year.

With the increase in seasonal purchases, a unified logistics process is vital for getting orders to your customers quickly, accurately, and efficiently. In today’s modern business world, consumers are now the drivers of the supply chain. Never have items been easier to purchase and harder to fulfill – customers can place orders at the click of a button and it’s up to your business to fulfill these orders and meet customer demands.

The benefits and convenience of online shopping and fulfillment options such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) in our increasingly busy lives is obvious. However, getting those items to you in a timely manner can be a tough task for businesses. To meet quick shipping expectations, medium and midsize businesses need to have the infrastructure to support the increase in orders which results in more storage, transportation, and labor needs. Companies unwilling or unable to adapt their logistics operations to meet these heightened demands will lose customer loyalty and sales.

Businesses can breathe a little easier this holiday season if they address these core issues in their logistics operations:

  • Freight and transportation costs are difficult to anticipate, especially with the unpredictable volume of orders this time of year. Large retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart are normalizing same-day and two-day shipping. For most medium and midsize businesses, quick shipping isn’t the only challenge. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Holiday Retail Survey, 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping. With customer expectations set on free shipping, many retailers are forced to do the same to remain competitive and transportation budgets have to be adjusted accordingly.
  • Visibility into product information and availability is essential for your customers and your business. Solving customer concerns is impossible when there is a lack of visibility into current inventory levels and shipment status.
  • Omni-channel functionality is becoming increasingly common, and can be challenging for businesses to adopt. Consumers have grown accustomed to multiple sales channels such as brick-and-mortar stores, mobile websites and applications, and third-party marketplaces. Adobe Analytics reported that there were 39% more BOPIS orders placed this year compared to 2018, with 37% of consumers planning to use the BOPIS option during the holidays.
  • Scalability is a common concern as businesses experience growth in order volume and shortened fulfillment times. Insufficient warehouse and fleet capacity can lead to delays in delivery, which ultimately lowers customer satisfaction.

While these obstacles may appear daunting, companies can improve their operations by adopting a complete logistics solution. By ensuring a seamless logistics process, businesses can also create a seamless customer experience for consumers.

Oracle Logistics Cloud is a complete cloud-based solution composed of Oracle Warehouse Management, Transportation Management, Global Trade Management and IoT Fleet Monitoring Clouds. With Oracle, businesses are able to support complex omni-channel fulfillment and transportation processes and achieve better revenue attainment and order profitability.

Traditional warehouse management solutions are not equipped to handle omni-channel fulfillment and returns. Customers expect to buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere, and return anywhere. Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud offers global visibility from the distribution centers down to the store shelf and the ability to support multi-channel demand and execution.

Transportation costs are constantly increasing as businesses attempt to meet consumer demands for free and quick shipping. While these costs can be difficult to forecast, Oracle Transportation Management Cloud allows you to optimize your shipments across multiple modes of transportation, receive real-time shipment data, and automate billing and payments so that you are receiving the best price for each shipment.

Ultimately, Oracle Logistics Cloud allows you to streamline your entire logistics process and enable omni-channel functionality.

Are you looking to have a relaxing holiday season? Find out how you can transform your business with Oracle Logistics Cloud.

By Evelyn Tao, Product Marketing Manager, Supply Chain, Oracle

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