With the holiday shopping season in full swing, PAN sat down with Radial’s EVP of technology services Stefan Weitz to discuss the rise of omni-channel commerce, its role in retail disruption and the future of the industry.
PAN: What does Radial do, exactly, and who are some of your top clients?
Weitz: Radial provides a full eCommerce stack to retailers and brands of all sizes. From order management to payments and fraud, fulfillment and transportation to customer service, we are the second largest eCommerce operations footprint behind Amazon in the U.S. We have 31 fulfillment and customer care centers across the U.S., Canada and Europe, and a technology stack that helps keep retailers profitable. Radial helps retailers build and/or scale their eCommerce operations by assembling the workforce, fulfillment footprint and technology so packages get to consumers’ doors quickly and efficiently. A few of our clients include Shoe Carnival, Aeropostale, DSW, Hibbett Sports, and more.
PAN: Why are major retailers paying attention to eCommerce’s last mile?
Weitz: It’s no secret that consumers are shopping online more than ever and their expectations around their shopping experience are changing – due in no small part to Amazon’s influence. Amazon has changed the game for many retailers when it comes to what consumers expect from an eCommerce shopping experience. Consumers expect retailers to deliver packages quickly and at a reasonable price.
PAN: What are the biggest challenges to brands and retailers when it comes to the last mile?
Weitz: What most don’t know is that delivering a seamless experience is a complex and costly undertaking, especially during periods of high demand. On average, retailers spend 70 cents on the dollar to fulfill eCommerce orders, which is simply not sustainable. To provide the experience consumers want, retailers need an integrated order fulfillment system and secure back-end processes for seamless omnichannel execution, however, many struggle to manage the associated costs.
PAN: What strategies are brands implementing to keep up with consumer expectations around last mile?
Weitz: For many retailers, outsourcing offers the key to providing the flexibility, scale and depth needed to deliver an Amazon-like customer experience affordably. Working with a partner who can scale your operations quickly and cost-effectively can mean the difference between meeting demand or playing a losing game of catch-up. By outsourcing, retailers will be better positioned with a long-term solution to address shifting customer demands, while growing efficiency and limiting costs.
PAN: What are the biggest opportunities for brands and retailers in the face of eCommerce and retail disruption?
Weitz: We are facing a peculiar time in retail, which many have pegged the “Retail Apocalypse.” While some blame eCommerce, we are really just going through a period of innovation, and retailers that recognize that have the biggest opportunities. Retailers that understand that the customer experience doesn’t end after a purchase, apply a flexible fulfillment model, and standardize order processes, can meet growing expectations and ensure every interaction is seamless.
PAN: How do you expect the eCommerce landscape to change in 2018?
Weitz: Retailers will continue to strive to deliver a seamless last-mile experience, and I am expecting to see three major trends in 2018:
- Retailers will incentivize buy-online, pickup-in-store: Retailers that are unable to meet shipping expectations will prioritize and incentivize buy-online, pickup-in-store options. They will offer discounts or perks for customers who choose to take a multichannel purchase journey.
- Retailers will prioritize making global delivery attainable and affordable: eCommerce companies and retailers will optimize their fulfillment and logistics efforts to improve cross-border delivery capabilities.
- Dropship will become the new normal: Consumers will grow increasingly used to a dropship model of retail. We will see more stores emulate the strategies of Nordstrom and Bonobos, prioritizing the buying experience over the instant gratification of a purchase.
For information about Radial and its work with PAN Communications, read our press release here.