5 Ways to Utilize Your Distribution Data to Improve the Supply Chain

With so much data at your fingertips, your business is probably far more equipped for optimization than you may think. Case in point, most businesses have a broad array of distribution data at their disposal, and the proper application of such information can have a significant effect on your operating costs. Moreover, the power of data can help reduce costs and boost your company’s performance at the same time. Of course, this all depends on which data collection processes you have in place and how you decide to utilize the information to which your business is likely already producing but may not be accurately tracking.

Knowledge Is Power

You may or may not have all the data collection tools you need in place for each stage of your supply chain. But just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you know how to use them properly or even have a full understanding of everything that they can do for you. Although the specifics of your own supply chain system may vary, here are just a few of the benefits you can secure from the proper implementation of your distribution data.

  • Predicting future performance: Using distribution data as a forecasting tool may seem like a tall order. Yet, the volatile nature of the market and the increasingly complicated product offerings that many companies adopt in the interest of remaining competitive underscore a real need for demand prediction. Your business already has so much data on hand regarding customers, suppliers, pricing history, and the like, that you can easily run against a variety of external factors, giving you integrated analytics that provide you with opportunities for improvement.
  • Boost your distribution network: Your supply chain is a complex web of processes and tools that governs a jaw-dropping percentage of your customer-facing business, affecting everything from delivery tracking to your sales strategy. For that reason, you should investigate how data can enhance your distribution network itself. Take a look at key elements and identify growth potential. You may also choose to display the data you find in more organized forms such as charts or graphs so that you can more easily gauge your progress. (*Hint: we have some software that could help you with that!)
  • Guidance on pricing optimization: We’ve already mentioned the vital way that predicting demand and market conditions can improve your business, but consumer data can also be used to develop pricing models that may drive sales. Whether you choose to focus your pricing adjustments on a specific product or additionally use the data to finetune your upselling strategies, the shopping behavior of your customer base should be a key part of your sales (and pricing) strategy.
  • Manipulation of delivery routes: Your distribution data may unlock hidden revelations you can employ to optimize your business, but one of the best areas for direct change on how you relate to your customers is delivery. With the data you have, you can closely analyze delivery routes to make necessary alterations and generate alternative routes, ensuring that each vehicle opts for the best available choice. Many systems provide visual representations for each route, and shrewd application of delivery data can change the way you view the decision-making process centering on delivery.
  • Set up information conduits: To truly make the most out of your business, you should explore the establishment of information conduits. For those unfamiliar with this term, it refers to whatever means a business relies on to both share and track data with clients and customers. Though it might seem like an obvious addition to your supply chain, you might be surprised how often this aspect of your business gets overlooked. Given that it provides an effective and timely way to optimize supply chain management, be sure that your business makes efficient use of the information conduits you have in place.

Time to Optimize

Your company’s supply chain is one of the most critical elements of your relationship to consumers, and as a result, its efficiency can have tremendous bearing on your long-term success. As technology continues to evolve, no doubt the tools you can use to accrue a powerful data set on your customer base and the many opportunities for improvement that lie within how they interact with your business will continuously change. However, with the right strategy in place to leverage your distribution data, you’ll have all the means you need to sharpen your performance to heretofore unseen new heights, and the end result will almost certainly benefit both you and your customers in equal measure.

For more invaluable insights into how you should approach marketing your eCommerce business and use automation to drive future success, check out our new eBook, “Key Marketing Automation Strategies for Ecommerce Store Success.”

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The Fashion “Evolution” from a Retailer’s Perspective

The ephemeral global apparel business is a challenge to stay in and adapt to. The size of the global apparel business is growing exponentially and is expected to generate double digit growth between now and 2020, much of it coming from developing markets.

In a world so saturated with choices, retailers and manufacturers are having to change their ideas about fashion with the speed of light, or perish!

As a Data Analytics Lab, specializing in retail, with a deep and intuitive understanding of the apparel- retail industry, we at IntelligenceNODE have been studying consumers of fashion for quite some time. And our observations have been very interesting, especially from a retailer’s perspective.

We discovered 3 main types of fashion consumers:

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How Mobile Commerce Reshaping Consumer Behavior

Mobile is becoming the integrated platform to get almost everything done today. And retailers are very aware of this fact. A lot of know- how, reports and miscellaneous facts exist online and offline about mobile platforms.

This knowledge is now becoming a healthy return on investment for many businesses. Consumers are now using mobile devices to shop, exchange ideas and create personal histories. Ecommerce websites and etailers are cashing in on this deluge.

It is not just a passing fad though; it is a way of life. According to forecasts, worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce spending increased by 20 percent in 2014, reaching $1.5 trillion in sales. Ecommerce has clearly outpaced many other industries today. It has in fact become a medium for most industries to increase their customer base.

Mobile commerce is, for most intents and purposes, user centric. It focuses on the consumer. Everything from aesthetics to ease of use that you might wish for, as the consumer you get it! In fact, after taking years to build an online presence, retailers are only now beginning to cash in on all that hard work.

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Refurbished goods, An offshoot e-tail industry – A booming business

E-Tail has become a booming business all over the world. While online retail contributed just about 0.4% of the overall retail market in 2014 (India), it is expected to reach 3 per cent of the total retail at $32 billion by 2020, according to a Technopak study.

This is supported by the mobile internet traffic statistics as well. Mobile data traffic in India is projected to grow 24-fold between 2013 and 2018 at a CAGR of 88 per cent. Clearly, an indication of the way the winds blow.

But as amazing as the ecommerce numbers sound, there is an aspect of e-Tail that we all have not given much thought to. Ever wondered what happens to those products that we order online, maybe try out, and send back to the e-Tailer?

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The Promise of Large Retail Sales- Webrooming

You wish to buy new boots; you have been looking for a good design sometime now. You trawl various online marketplaces, looking for options, prices and ideas. You select a few popular brands; add them to your wish list on many of your favorite websites. You narrow down you list to three possible choices.

Now you are sure that you will buy one of the three pairs this weekend. Why weekend? Because that is when you can go to the mall of course! You can go to your favorite shop, try out a few other pairs just for fun, and finally get that coveted pair of boots too! And the trip to the mall means checking out all the new stuff, in person and even splurging a little more than you initially intended. All in all, a good day, then.

If you have done this, you will be pleased to know, you are not alone. There are many who check out products online, but end up buying at brick and mortar stores. The marketers have a new buzz word for what you are doing. They call it ‘webrooming.’

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Toasting the New Year…

Today is the last day of 2014. You might even end up reading this in 2015. The New Year is literally, round the corner. And it will roll in with great fanfare, all over the world.

This is one night that everyone on the planet chooses to party away without reservations. There will be the usual – great food, great conversations, lots of cheer, and of course- lots to drink. It is universally accepted that the best way to celebrate, and especially the coming of the New Year, is by toasting it.

Worldwide consumption of alcohol circa 2010 (WHO report) was equal to 6.2 liters of pure alcohol consumed per person aged 15 years or older, which translates into 13.5 grams of pure alcohol per day. As a rule, high-income countries have the highest alcohol per capita consumption and the highest prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among drinkers.

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The Mandatory Opinion Piece – The Flipkart Big Billion Sale…

6th October was a landmark day for online retail sales in India. People (read millennials mostly, although others were also involved) literally changed their daily schedules so that they could log on to flipkart.com the moment the much advertised Big Billion Day Sale opened.

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Virtual Friendship – A Reality Check…

With social media becoming the new “friendship test tool,” it is becoming prudent to ask whether friendship is even a real relation any more…

The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

Friendship is valued highly because it is one of those relations that we choose to make. But today the choice is, more often than not, virtual. We are just a click away from forming a friendship, mostly, online.

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Blast from the Past!

The past has always been an enigma. We have always wondered how those who came before us lived, what they did, etc. After all our predecessors created our society as it is today. This curiosity has been sated by archaeologists, anthropologists, etc, who study the past in correlation to the present.

The study of the past has had many milestones that have made it easy to comprehend what transpired. Case in point- the Rosetta Stone, discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, etc. There are also many conspiracy theories revolving around history today.

But for too long, archaeology has revolved heavily on traditional methods. The procedures on famous dig sites are much too old to truly be considered technologically advanced. Of course, practices like carbon dating, modern forensic science, etc refute this fact. But there is so much more that technology offers, which can truly change the way we see the past.

One of the groundbreaking ways to understand that which was- Big Data Analytics! According to Harvard-trained anthropologist Eric Kansa, “it turns out that the past has a future. That is, archaeology has a chance to transform its print-bound publishing norms into a digital-age machine for gathering, sharing, and analyzing vast stores of field data. Such information — often paid for by public funds — is more likely now to be hoarded and parceled out to journals that would be obscure or expensive for most people.”

Archaeology needs visionaries who will comprehend the need for shifting this huge print based industry to digital. As Kansa said, “Please, start an open-access journal.” As a matter of fact, Britain-based Archaeology Data Service is archiving some open data content that is in accessible file formats, and can be legally transferred for free.

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