3 Quick Lessons for Brands to Overcome Supply Chain Challenges
One thing is for sure, there hasn’t been a lack of challenges in ecommerce this year as we’ve experienced incredible growth driven by consumer shopping changes. As brands, quickly learned this spring, the shift to online shopping has put extreme pressure on product supply chains and unfortunately, we never know what curve ball a retailer will throw. For example, in August, Amazon instituted limits on product shipments from third-party sellers to make room for their goods during the holiday causing third-party sellers to say they can’t restock quickly enough impacting sales and inventory.
Lesson 1: Supply chain will impact search
Here’s more from our Director of Ecommerce, Scott Sinclair – “A wise man once told me, in brick and mortar, once you get your placement and you go out of stock you don’t lose your space on shelf. The space is empty for a few days, but online you actually lose your placement and you drop out of search. We estimate if you’re out of stock for a week, it can take nearly a month to get back to the same volume you were previously at.” Don’t let months of search placement results fall by the wayside due to neglected foresight on inventory.
Lesson 2: Plan by what you can do (not what you want)
“We’ve had to make early calls with clients when we foresee any inventory issues in the next six months,” says Jimmy Barber, VP of Client Management at OneStone, “For one client, we had to shift hard in July for Q4 based on our supply chain impacting future promotions. It evolved into a plan based on what we can fill versus what we want and that ended up paying off.” The reality is any deal on an in-stock product is better than a deal on an out-of-stock product. We’ve seen brands that didn’t plan out the selling strategy with supply chain at the core and they experienced heavy penalties on out of stocks and for months could not catch up with demand. If you’re out of stock, no one will see your item and no one will buy your item.
Lesson 3: Do the grunt work
The OneStone team believes supply chain is the core of ecommerce and companies want to talk about the flashy stuff like marketing. If you don’t show up and do the grunt work of supply chain, you’re not playing the game. You have to build your plan around the supply chain. Unfortunately, not all ecommerce platforms are built alike so you need a dedicated team who will dig deep into your supply chain challenge, determine if it’s a one time issue or something more systemic, and make the early calls for your business to avoid major pitfalls in the future. Bonus tip: invest in drop shipping capabilities as a back-up lever.