The largest retail day of the year is nearly here. This new peak trading period has found its origin in the U.S., and has entered the European shopping market as fast as bol.com’s shipping time. But black Friday is so much more than ‘just’ shopping. That brand new pair of sneakers you will put in your shopping cart was once the subject of a well-thought-out forecast. It takes a lot of strategic planning in order to get the product into distribution centres and stores on time and to get it from origin to final destination. Everything is put in place to balance store inventory needs with customer experience. Here are five tactics how retailers manage their supply chain efficiently.
- Expanding the sale window. Many retailers are offering deals under the Black Friday umbrella for the entire week or even month. This type of supply chain planning tactic is a great way to spread out the demand over a more manageable timeframe.
- Omni-channel logistics. By using omni-channel logistics, retailers take the advantage of nearby options by sourcing products from the nearest source to the location of the customer placing the order. Digital and physical operations should be integrated, flexible and seamless.
- Cross training. Making sure that all of the employees receive cross training throughout the year ensures the retailer to face Black Friday with a balanced workforce.
- Focus on customer experience. While optimizing supply chain efficiency with standardized processes and automation, supply chain professionals should be focused on the customer experience. Of course, a tech check-up right before the troops hit the decks is mandatory!
- Learn from previous editions. Look back at Black Friday 2016 and see what went well and what didn’t. Start planning for 2018 as soon as Holiday Season 2017 ends.
Thus, retailers who are unable to plan, allocate and forecast across their omni-channel operations will continue to struggle to meet customer expectations and elevate customer experience. Those retailers that improve their planning, allocation and channel replenishment process will boost sales, increase margins and cut inventory costs.