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ArcBest Industries Served

Managing Retail and Consumer Goods Shipments

The retail and consumer goods industry is exciting and fast-paced. But it also requires a lot of planning and coordination to make sure you’re meeting expectations and reacting to changes at the right time. Take a look at some of the trends the industry is experiencing, see what challenges they may present, and learn how the right logistics provider can help you navigate them.

Retail Industry Trends that Affect Your Supply Chain

Technology, culture shifts and competition can all influence how people buy goods. Retailers and vendors have to adjust to meet those needs. How you react to changing behaviors can impact sales, customer experience and overall business success. Here are some of the biggest trends in retail that may affect the way you ship.

Consumers Wanting More from E-Commerce

Online shopping is still growing in popularity (U.S. online sales increased by 15% in 2018), but it’s no longer enough just to provide a way to purchase products online. Instead, shoppers are looking for benefits like free delivery and returns, fast shipping, in-home product set-up, and customized subscription services to make their experiences easy and personal.

Meeting these demands requires a streamlined supply chain. Balancing inventory management with specialized transportation and delivery services is essential for providing a good buying experience. But retail shippers have to keep their bottom line in mind, too.  

Retailers Enforcing Stricter Guidelines

As customer demands change, so must retailers. That’s why many big box stores have made changes to the compliance requirements they set for their vendors. These rules ensure products arrive on time, damage free and ready to be put on the shelves. Meeting them means better relationships with retailers and a better experience for in-store shoppers. Failure to meet them means potential financial penalties and even the risk of no longer being able to ship to that retailer.

Holiday Shopping Season Changes

It’s no secret that the holiday shopping season seems to start earlier every year. In fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates “about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.” This could be for a few different reasons — a need to spread out spending, a desire to get shopping finished while stores are less crowded, etc. — but these early shoppers are forcing retailers to get items out quickly. According to the NRF, “many retailers are putting holiday merchandise on the shelves in September” — almost two months before Black Friday, the “official” start to the shopping season.

These timeline adjustments impact retail shippers in a few different ways: holiday inventory has to be ready faster, and available for longer. While some people may start buying months in advance, last-minute shopping is still prevalent.

Adjust to These Trends with a Reliable Logistics Partner

To help you succeed in the ever-changing retail industry, ArcBest® offers a portfolio of retail shipping services. Whether you’re a mass-market supplier or a small-business shipper, our supply chain solutions allow you to simplify your shipping process and easily meet vendor compliance requirements. Learn more about our retail logistics options.