COVID-19 is responsible for a lot of change. From shelter-in-place orders, to social distancing practices, to cautious healthcare processes, and even to the way we buy things, our lives have been completely altered. The global shift to ecommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) deliveries is one specific trend that’s accelerated throughout the course of the pandemic.  Shippers, retailers, and their logistics partners need to quickly adapt to the new ecommerce and DTC model.

During the pandemic, shopping behaviors and consumer preferences rapidly transitioned from traditional brick-and-mortar business to a frenzy of online sales. Shippers and retailers have struggled to figure out how to adjust their distribution processes to meet the needs of today’s consumers. In the past, companies relied on historical data to determine their next move. However, this approach is no longer a viable option with all of the current industry disruptions.

At this point, many companies are starting to feel the weight of their operational inefficiencies. Shippers need to prevent unnecessary supply chain costs and service failures to thrive in this new post-pandemic reality. Now, let’s discuss how shippers can transition to the new ecommerce and DTC model.

Diversify fulfillment networks

Having a limited number of warehouses and carriers in your fulfillment network won’t cut it anymore. Speed has become key in ecommerce and acts as a major competitive advantage for companies. Amazon’s one-day Prime service wouldn’t work without the support of a complex and diverse fulfillment network.

Maximizing flexibility in your shipping processes is now essential when any one of your facilities could shut down at a moment’s notice. Additionally, it has become a struggle to find available capacity from your regular carrier. Shippers that have more fulfillment flexibility will be able to ultimately access more capacity and assume less risk as a result.

Create better partnerships

You can’t do it all on your own. Third-party logistics providers (3PL) have state-of-the-art technology that can help shippers seamlessly move to an online environment. This is a great option for companies that are currently too cash-strapped to develop their own internal platform. By leveraging a 3PL’s advanced technology and automated ecommerce processes as well as their established network and expertise, you can improve shipping efficiency, increase visibility, optimize order management, expand your brand’s reach, and boost profits.

Tech-enabled partners with the right infrastructure can help with other supply chain improvements. They can provide better inventory management and faster receiving and put-away times. 3PLs that provide asset-based services like port drayage transportation near your key ports of entry are also valuable.

Ecommerce and DTC is a long-term trend

Retailers experiencing growth in their DTC business must find partners who understand that business. Having the experience to manage DTC distribution requires an ability to manage what are typically smaller order-sizes, but at higher volumes. Clearly, speed and accuracy remain a top priority.

It’s important to make sure you’re sufficiently prepared to handle the way the shipping industry is evolving. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start assessing how you should respond to the “new normal.”

About O’Neill Logistics

O’Neill Logistics is a leading 3PL with operations in Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Savannah, GA; and Newark/Monroe, NJ. We service many verticals including Garments, Fashion Accessories, Footwear, Furniture, Home Goods, & Electronics. Additionally, our services include omni-channel distribution and all value-added services. Lastly, we focus on retail “drop shipment” fulfillment and item-level fulfillment services with same-day service offerings.

We have over 2 million square feet which are all state-of-the-art facilities, offer dray services to support the warehouses, and handle distribution to retailers and wholesalers.

Our main drive is to simplify your supply chain by delivering exceptional service and optimizing your operational performance. Therefore, we aim to build, protect and foster strong business partnerships.

O’Neill’s reliable 3PL platform, combining sophisticated technology with robust, flexible processing designs and speed-to-market gateway models, was built by our management team of seasoned executives with backgrounds in transportation, distribution and technology across domestic and international supply chains.