Retailers Adding Many New Products

Retailers are adding more products to build a larger assortment of product offerings. How are they doing this? They are not building bigger stores. Instead they are adding new products to their web stores and revamping what is sold in stores to stay close to their customers’ needs.

Amazon, a major driver of competitive retail trends and whose aim is to “sell everything to everyone,” sells over 200 million products. Other retailers are responding.

  • Home Depot is expanding its depth and breadth of products and now has 600,000 items available from its online store. A typical Home Depot store stocks about 35,000 items.
  • A Walmart supercenter has about 150,000 different products. But online, Walmart offers over 5 million items.
  • Sears says they have 30 million products available from their web store.
  • Target announced in October the addition of 35,000 new items and free shipping for the holiday season.

What This Means For Your Small Business

Online shelf space is virtually unlimited. However, retailers have to please their particular kinds of customers. Be ready to show buyers the niche you serve and how it relates to the demographics of the retailer’s customers. Show a willingness to work with potential retailers in trial marketing with a limited number of stores or to start exclusively with their web store.

You do not have to get into physical stores to expand your distribution. Starting with a retailer’s online store can prove your product has an audience and earn the opportunity for shelf space in stores later. Or you may have a viable market that is entirely online.

Your new retail partners may stock your product in stores or they may ask you to ship straight to consumers, or they may want your business to do both. Be ready to support EDI drop shipments to individual consumers with branded packing slips.

Contact us anytime to find out more about how we can assist your small business.

Retailer Omnichannel Challenges That Affect Suppliers

Retailers face several key omnichannel challenges that affect suppliers. Retailers are in a very competitive race to give consumers the products they want in a seamless online to in-store or in-store to online experience.

Any channel the consumer chooses must be executed with fast delivery whether that means pickup in the store, or shipment from the distribution center or shipment direct from the supplier.

Omnichannel expectations are becoming pervasive and the tipping point has been reached. Last year about 37% of adults shopped both online and in stores. This year the expectation is that over 50% will do so.

The challenges that retailers face have a ripple effect that impacts suppliers.
Continue reading

Omnichannel Sales Driving Large Investments in Fulfillment Centers

Leading retailers are aggressively investing in new fulfillment centers to support rapidly rising omnichannel sales and ship orders directly to consumers.

Amazon added four new fulfillment centers in the month of October. Amazon now has a total of 44 such centers in North America.

Home Depot opened two direct fulfillment centers in Georgia and California earlier this year and has plans for another one next year. The centers are focused exclusively on shipping online orders. The home improvement chain estimates that the new centers will support delivery time of 48 hours to over 90% of the zip codes in the U.S. This year, Home Depot is also piloting buy online and delivery to store for its customers.
Continue reading