As consumer brands step-up efforts to scale and grow their direct to consumer (DTC) business channels, the inevitability of further COVID restrictions reinforces the pressing need to equip brands with the tools and knowhow for success in an increasingly unpredictable and digital global economy.
As we have seen over the course of the pandemic, standard DTC e-commerce logistics networks achieved unprecedented levels of product and information flows between online stores and consumers despite the most challenging of operating circumstances, gridlocked supply chains and all-time high e-commerce trading volumes.
While many brands are well advanced with their online transition programs, most have yet to realise the promise of the digital e-commerce experience, whereas a connected ecosystem of parcel and postal fulfilment and distribution networks now heralds the arrival of the advanced DTC logistics network, a more distinctive e-commerce competitiveness enabler.
Using advanced technologies, brands can now harness multiple logistics networks to generate new insights into consumer behaviour and logistics performance, maintain control over the consumer journey while creating differentiated services that complement the drive for incremental sales. These platforms equip brands with a much wider range of e-commerce options that include scale at speed, backup redundancy, standardised operating methods and simplified interfaces that provide a common user experience and frictionless network operation from any number of locations around the world.
Driving DTC sales requires understanding and careful balancing of revenue, cost, brand differentiation and business insight with consumer demands for greater levels of personalisation including free delivery and returns, exclusive merchandising, product personalisation and a host of other online service options, which can now be supported through advanced DTC logistics networks.
While service performance standards do vary, advanced DTC logistics networks employ a range of technology, operations, analytics, and agile capabilities. They are particularly adept at connecting systems like the back end of the online store and order management systems to the logistics network using middleware to facilitate uninterrupted data flow and real time visibility between order management, warehouse management, inventory, fulfilment, and transportation. Data from each of these systems is captured and presented through customisable dashboards on a real-time basis to drive service execution, performance consistency and cost competitiveness.
Rather than simply ride out the current storm in expectation of a return to normal, consumer brands must begin their digital transformation if they have not already done so or stay the course with their current digital programs, taking every opportunity to compliment these efforts through advanced DTC e-commerce logistics networks.
Meet The Author: Julian Carroll, Vice President Service Solutions at Titan Solutions
Julian equips customers to compete within the digital economy. This activity spans Europe (including the UK), the USA and Asia with tailored e-commerce, 4PL and other services that are continuously evolving in response to Brexit, COVID-19 and the ever-accelerating pace of supply chain digitalisation.
Leading a dynamic team of supply chain specialists and service partners, he helps companies to understand, deploy and reap the benefits of emerging "Digital Technologies" within their supply chain networks across many diverse business sectors (Consumer, Retail, Life sciences, eCommerce, Aerospace and Technology to name a few).
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