Why are syncing and fulfilling orders, one of the biggest D2C challenges?

Posted on March 3rd, 2021
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Why are syncing and fulfilling orders, one of the biggest D2C challenges?

Eliminating intermediaries enables brands to have complete visibility over their customer preferences, allowing them to delight customers better.

With the Direct-to-Consumer approach, brand owners are able to cater to end-to-end order-to-delivery to their customers, gaining better control on order fulfillment, packing, and shipping as well as the returns cycle too.

However, each step in the syncing and fulfilling process has its nuances, from choosing the correct packaging to routing to managing inventory, forecasting, and planning production based on forecasts and above all syncing of the data in order management systems (OMS).

But why is the synchronization of orders a challenge?

Or why is fulfilling the order so daunting?

While one may say, automate the orders from all channels to simplify - does this cater to this challenge that D2Cs look at as a nightmare?

Here are the reasons why...

Managing Sales Channels in Real-Time

  1. With bulk orders pouring in from multiple channels, it becomes a daunting task to accumulate data in real-time and for the brands to have the details of orders that need to be fulfilled, in real-time. For initial years small D2C brands manage to combine the data manually from all e-commerce sites but with the advancement in the number of sales, moving to an OMS becomes essential. The back-end order management system provides automation and integration across each step of the order journey but still lacks the ability to combine sales done via offline channels.

  1. Along with combining the orders that need to be fulfilled, it is equally important to have the inventory updated and stock availability checked in real-time post each sale. While most of the OMSs cater to the order consolidation and provide automation, not every one of them has an in-built inventory to update stock, thus still leaving this part to be done manually. Integrating an ERP system might help obtain ready data on inventory but the lack of sync between the OMS and ERP will still lead to manual intervention.

  1. For every D2C brand, offline sales are channelized via physical outlets or dealers. With most leading OMSs not having a facility to sync orders generated through dealers and outlets, the offline consolidation creates situations for manual updates.

Order Fulfillment

  1. The shift from Primary Warehouses to Distribution Centers

With primary warehouses or manufacturing hubs at just a few major cities, goods distribution is a challenge that D2C brands face. This centralized storage approach leads to a time-consuming process to ship products or sometimes delayed delivery of products to customer locations as and when the demand arises.

  1. Bulk Vs Individual Deliveries

Typically B2B packaging and shipping procedures are simple as consumer goods brands are used to shipping finished goods in large volumes to wholesale distributors. In D2C, shipping and packaging have to be customized - for each customer order, the shape, size, and type of packaging boxes must be chosen carefully while the products that need to be padded with a bubble wrap or labeled with a warning must meet standards and regulations.

  1. Dealing with Distributors Vs. Customer Demands

On purchasing products from a brand, customers expect complete transparency from the seller - details such as when the order is shipped, transit details, and partners handling their delivery. If the supply chain lacks visibility, it becomes difficult for logistics managers to monitor on-ground operations, and take preventive measures in case of any deviance from planned delivery schedules. D2C brands that fail to establish an efficient delivery tracking system, might not be able to build trusted relations with their customers.

In a nutshell

A clear need for leveraging technology, and a single, comprehensive platform that syncs data across all channels, automates production, inventory synchronization and optimization, managing and reconciliation of accounts, logistics, and customer experience. System intelligence is the key here to provide real-time insights for better decision making, and moreover faster decision making.

Best Practices

Posted on:
March 3rd, 2021