Micro-Fulfillment: The Future of E-Commerce Fulfillment
The speed at which the retail industry is evolving to navigate e-commerce and gig economy disruption is happening far faster than we could have predicted. Gone are the days when shoppers were battling for parking at the local mall to take advantage of a department store sale, or shuffling through the aisles to hunt down dinner in a rush after work.
Today, consumers can shop any retailer in the world at any time of day from the comfort of their own home. And while two-day shipping started out as a luxury, it’s quickly become the industry standard for online ordering that modern consumers now expect and demand.
With this increasing consumer demand, options for online ordering have also increased, giving customers more power in where and how they shop. And if a shopping experience or product doesn’t meet their high expectations, they can easily take their business elsewhere. In fact, 41 percent of consumers say they’re less likely to return to any store of the same brand where they’ve had a bad experience, and 69 percent say they’re more likely to shop at a competitor after even just one bad experience, according to this recent ServiceChannel report.
With customer loyalty on the line now more than ever before, retailers must focus on providing a positive and differentiated shopping experience at speed, tailored for consumers based on shopping habits and preferences. And to be future-forward, retailers must shift how they think about technology and space in their approach to order fulfillment.
The Rise of E-Commerce
While brick-and-mortar stores still capture nearly 90 percent of all retail sales in the United States, e-commerce is growing four times faster than overall retail, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Most experts agree that this growth rate will only continue to increase in the coming years.
As consumers do more of their shopping from their smartphones and laptops, they’re also demanding faster fulfillment, with the ability to conveniently pick up items via click-and-collect options at the store of their choosing or have items delivered directly to their doorsteps.