COVID-19 surge, port delays threaten retailers’ holiday plans – Part 2

Research suggests that both retailers and transportation and logistics companies are concerned about streamlining the returns process for consumers.

According to the National Retail Federation, online returns more than doubled between 2019 and 2020. Plus, 77% of North American transportation logistics professionals said they are collaborating with retailers to streamline their returns process for shoppers, according to Soti’s 2021 State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics report.

Cumbersome returns processes “become the first purchase barrier,” said a vice president of product strategy, a provider of mobile and IoT management solutions. “As an example, I may go in and purchase a couple of different extra pairs of pants or shirts or jeans, and then be able to return it if the return is easy. So a lot of companies are now looking into how you make that returns process easy.”

One of the common headaches that retailers face is antiquated practices and software. Some retailers, for example, have said that their legacy technology systems aren’t integrated with transportation and logistics software, leaving retailers to manually pull or copy and paste data from one software to another. Or, some transportation and logistics companies required truck drivers to manually call in every half hour to update them on their progress, which slows them down from reaching their destination.

“I want to be able to know exactly what’s happening with my shipment, the entire process.”

“Now you kind of expect that with almost all of the things that you purchase. Where are they? When will they arrive? I want to see a live update. So this integration between retail and [transportation and logistics] — it has to happen. And if it doesn’t … people will find that you’re very slow.

Source: Retail Dive

Omnichannel options
As COVID-19 resurges in the U.S., preparing for the upcoming holiday season becomes more complex. Retailers, like other sectors, are facing labor shortages and limited inventory capacity.

“Every time there is a resurgence of COVID, it not only impacts the consumer, but it limits the capacity of a company to serve or to produce products, and we all are seeing it in the supply chain blockages we’ve seen last year.”

Because consumer behavior is changing in response to the evolving pandemic conditions, retailers don’t have a choice but to adopt an omnichannel approach to serve consumers and adapt to changing supplier conditions.

Retailers will also lean into omnichannel options such as buy online, pickup in store or curbside pickup. Retailers may also equip their in-store staffers and shoppers with mobile technology to help find inventory on the floor and review information about the products available. Retailers like 7-Eleven, Crate and Barrel, Kmart and Sears have previously tried out this strategy to improve the in-store shopping experience or provide useful store insights for staffers.

Though retailers have increasingly used an omnichannel approach during the pandemic, these options are expected to stay, and some retailers will even integrate technology tools to bring customers using these omnichannel options back to their stores in the future. Other retailers, however, may continue to make fast shipping their top priority.

“If the perception is that you’re slow, your brand gets affected as somebody that can’t change in accordance with the time … And it might reduce sales.

NEOLink cooperated with our order processing system. He did not replace it or force solutions. Logfret did it better than other companies on the market – it adapted its system to ours. Logfret didn’t come to us saying, “We have this solution, and you either use it or we won’t cooperate.

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My suppliers have less or zero experience with international logistics. Thus, not able to create proper documentation which leads to tremendous delay. Thanks to Logfret who provide training to all suppliers and work with us to build up a consolidation hub to reduce transportation costs significantly.

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