Steve Denton, CEO The Technology Driving Supply Chain Flexibility
Today’s digital-first economy has undeniably changed the way that consumers shop. Merchants can no longer expect to funnel shoppers through a single sales channel but must employ a multichannel approach to meet their customers on the platforms where they’re already shopping. Between online marketplaces, ecommerce shopping carts, social media marketplaces, and traditional sales channels, merchants must maintain a seemingly ubiquitous presence in the market to compete for the digital consumer’s attention. What’s more, the recent COVID-19 pandemic further tipped the scales in favor of online sales, and many merchants who once considered themselves B2B or B2C saw a dramatic shift in their customer base.
Ware2Go CEO Steve Denton likes to call this new era of doing business B2E (or Business to Everyone). The B2E model requires fully optimized digital sales channels, which yield the flexibility to switch channels on or off based on performance and consumer demand. However, merchants who optimize digital sales channels without first building an equally flexible supply chain to support them will forever struggle to keep pace with consumer expectations. This inevitably leads to poor online reviews, poor customer retention, and even lost sales.
Ware2Go’s solution for success in the new B2E era is a cloud-based platform that includes a Warehouse Management System (WMS), Order Management System (OMS), and Transportation Management System (TMS) that bridges the gap between digital sales channels and supply chain and fulfillment processes. Their platform, FulfillmentVu, integrates with any sales channel and is supported by a distributed warehouse network that enables merchants of any size to offer 1 to 2-day delivery to all of their customers. This integration allows merchants to meet their customers on the channels they’re already shopping on and deliver to them by any transit mode. By leveraging technology rather than fixed assets, Ware2Go’s solution is fully scalable, resilient, and can pivot quickly in response to any shifts in the market.
“The barriers to entry in the online marketplace are very low at the moment, so the playing field is fairly level. However, when it comes to supply chain, enterprises have a huge advantage over small and medium-sized companies due to sheer size and scale. SMB’s need a scalable supply chain that integrates operations, logistics, and fast shipping capabilities for maximum flexibility in order to deliver goods to wholesalers, retailers and e-commerce consumers seamlessly,” says Denton.
Denton asserts that most brands entering the online marketplace will now engage with customers they haven’t previously done business with. While executing perfect personalization, price transparency, and availability of products is essential on the sell-side, these organizations also need to nail the operations on the supply chain side. A digital customer expects affordable (or free) one to two-day delivery, the ability to real-time track their packages, an easy return process, contactless delivery, and much more. Companies operating on a B2B model are likely not accustomed to meeting such expectations.
With over 49 warehouses across the country, we offer the much-needed flexibility, scalability and also the expertise to amplify our clients’ sales channels
“If they don’t meet these expectations, they have lost an opportunity to retain new customers or may have earned themselves a bad review,” he explains. Many organizations moving forward in this B2E world lack the dynamics to be able to ship both B2B and B2C.
Leveling the Playing Field
This is where companies like Ware2Go are making a difference. Changing the industry narrative, Ware2Go empowers merchants with a nationwide fulfillment network designed to help them easily position products closer to end customers for a fast and reliable order-to-delivery experience. Their network is supported by a cutting-edge logistics technology platform that connects all of a merchants’ sales channels for full supply chain visibility and seamless transportation management. “We’re making resources available to SMB’s that they would never have access to otherwise,” states Denton. “With over 49 warehouses across the country, we offer the much-needed flexibility, scalability and also the expertise to amplify our clients’ sales channel.”
In the digital model, orders may pile up over the weekend, and SMB’s may be given low priority by warehouses moving large volumes early in the week. To that end, Ware2Go aggregates its clients’ inventory to negotiate top tier SLA’s previously available only to high-volume and enterprise retailers.
Keeping up with the New Normal
To add more perspective, Denton emphasizes that organizations shifting to the B2E business model require a supply chain that is optimized for multimode. For instance, a client of Ware2Go who, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic primarily made sales through their retail stores quickly pivoted to online D2C sales when stay-at-home orders were put in place. As Ware2Go was associated with the client from the beginning, it took only 48 hours for the client to switch to an ecommerce fulfillment model. Before the pandemic, Ware2Go was shipping LTL pallets to retail stores accounting for almost 85-90 percent of the client’s commerce. Instead of 300 pallets a day, Ware2Go is currently shipping 3,000 small packages directly to consumers’ homes. And should consumer shopping habits change again, the client will have the flexibility to pivot seamlessly again with no disruption to their sales or service levels on the fulfillment side.
2020 Peak Planning
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated ecommerce sales, and since May, shippers have been operating between 15 and 25 percent above 2019 peak levels. Ware2Go is preparing for an increase in demand of 10 to 15 percent for peak season this year, and with the high rate of returns for ecommerce sales, plans to operate at peak levels through January.
A Prospective Future
Ware2Go is currently migrating all of its warehouse partners and merchant partners to its robust new platform to set them a step ahead in the market. Ware2Go is also investing its time and energy in demand forecasting through artificial intelligence and large data sets. This will help the clients better predict demand trends and simplify inventory planning, buying, and replenishment.
Further, as the clients want to grow their capabilities in perishable goods, Ware2Go will provide all the support in terms of cold storage capabilities. “Our mission is to simplify the supply chain to ensure that merchants of all sizes can compete and win in the world of commerce. We also look forward to expanding geographically and enhancing our analytics and insights to equip our merchants for strategic long-term growth,” concludes Denton.