Columns and Commentary

Qwick Takes: The impact of low inventory on holiday shoppers

November 23, 2021

Posted by Irina Slav

This week, Talking Biz News Deputy Editor Erica Thompson reached out to Qwoted’s community of experts to inquire about the impact of low inventory on holiday shoppers and the importance of supply chain management during the holiday season.

Check out some of the top commentary:

Barry Conlon, CEO and Founder at Overhaul:

The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s never been more important for retailers to take a proactive approach to managing their supply chains. The world of logistics is managing chaos with lots of unknowns and gaps, and that’s where technology comes in to help. Integrating SaaS technology into the supply chain process helps to provide real insights to create a more efficient and well-oiled supply chain, which is especially important throughout this holiday season as shoppers have been preparing more in advance this year. Increased visibility, integrity and security will give retailers the ability to learn from past mistakes and create better supply chain best practices moving forward.

Frank Kenney, Director of Strategy at Cleo:

It was always easy for larger organizations, like Walmart, to ship products directly to consumers. But, in a pandemic situation, retailers are also shipping goods with low shelf lives, such as groceries, that can’t sit in a hot truck for 2-3 days in transport. This drove large and small enterprises to invest in eCommerce platform integrations as well as D2C logistics initiatives and partnerships.

However, in-person shopping is back in many regions across the U.S. But consumers have become accustomed to their online orders, curbside pickup, and D2C deliveries. So, now enterprises must embrace the retrenchment of eCommerce due to in-store shopping, while simultaneously balancing their investments in eCommerce solutions to ensure business can be conducted in online channels as well. This omnichannel strategy, which combines D2C and traditional brick-and-mortar supply chain processes, is a tight-rope act for any organization. We’re going to see a lot of supply chain-oriented organizations pursue cloud-based integrations that enable them to view, track and manage omnichannel exchanges from a single viewpoint. With this strategy, organizations can easily ensure that business exchanges with their ecosystem of partners, suppliers and customers – regardless of channel – are progressing seamlessly to completion.

Reid Jackson, Vice President of Innovation & Partnerships at GS1 US:

Supply chain bottlenecks and reports of low inventory and bare shelves at retailers have nudged consumers into starting their holiday shopping earlier than ever.

On the business side, the biggest supply chain challenge during the season and beyond is visibility. Retail companies lack the ability to pivot once they learn that product shipments will be delayed because information about product movement along the supply chain is not fully digitized, shared too late or not at all. This real-time view of inventory is critical, but still not prevalent in retail.

To create visibility and resiliency, businesses need to focus on digitizing their data and leveraging data standards so that information can be exchanged accurately, electronically and understood by all stakeholders to inform business decisions. And thinking ahead…this creates a foundation for the adoption of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning as well as sustainability and circular economy.


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