It is easy to forget some of the internationally famous failures in the warehousing and distribution world that took place last Christmas now that summer is in full swing, but if we are to avoid making some of the same mistakes again, we will need to start planning now. Those retailers who are already in talks with their warehousing and distribution partners to prepare for the 2014 holiday season are those who will handle the pressures best.
What caused the warehousing and distribution kerfuffle last year
Christmas 2013 was bad. Brands that had been known for going from strength to strength for decades faltered dramatically, and the ubiquity of social media made sure that the news spread around the world in minutes. While the Amazon Prime warehousing and distribution disaster over in America started the media frenzy, social media pundits and news outlets of all kinds smelled the blood in the water and looked for any minor misstep locally that they could use to sell a few more papers.
Overall, the social media response from UK retailers was good, but insufficient. Gift cards and apologies didn’t win back the customer goodwill that was lost. It is vital that UK retailers avoid making the mistake again this year.
And how can we keep our warehousing and distribution performance spotless this year?
The companies that didn’t have much trouble last year understood how to leverage their analytics data to predict their holiday shipping volumes accurately. As they were prepared for what happened, their warehousing and distribution operations performed well overall.
This could present a problem for SMEs and other retailers who can’t make heavy investment in big data this year, of course. Most smaller retailers would be better served partnering with a 3PL or warehousing and distribution provider who already has this capability, and experience using it.