Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Inc.
Today’s digitally centered societies make adapting to unique circumstances, such as pandemics, slightly easier than they would be otherwise. With increased demand for technology to provide for us in a time that requires flexibility and physical distancing if possible, there’s clearly a need for effective and efficient e-commerce platforms and partnerships.
Supply chain professionals are feeling the many effects of the world’s COVID-19 contagion. Demand for higher inventory levels and accelerated e-commerce adoption are sparking organizations to rethink operations – and they need to do so quickly.
Sarah Becker, a vice president in the Engineering & Operations and Sales & Marketing executive search practices at Charles Aris Inc., sees the importance of maintaining a well-run e-commerce platform and strong relationships with suppliers.
“In the e-commerce world, your relationship with suppliers becomes more critical,” Becker said. “The consumer has an expectation of immediate gratification and there is a higher case of buyer’s remorse, as they are making buying decisions from a picture online.”
Retail e-commerce was already on the rise when this coronavirus propelled it ever higher. Given stay-at-home orders and other efforts to contain the virus, consumers around the globe are increasingly and steadily relying on online services to provide them with everything from masks to groceries. In early April 2020, the Capgemini Research Institute’s Consumer Behavior Survey found a 7-percentage point increase in the number of surveyed individuals who had high levels of interaction with online channels.
Becker is seeing an uptick in the amount of consumable products produced and purchased in home-geared companies. People are spending more time in their homes, and products such as furniture, home décor and even garden supplies are in great demand, setting these companies up for success in the long term if they can effectively strategize, plan and execute.
How are companies keeping up with this sharp rise in e-commerce demand? The answer lies within the team.
“There’s an increase in hiring senior e-commerce talent who understand the end-to-end, e-commerce go-to-market strategy,” Becker explained. “Top-grading company leadership and its teams to put best practices in place to ensure customer satisfaction and fulfillment while maintaining profitability is crucial.”
Becker emphasizes the need to top-grade talent in positions of online product placement, market strategy development, customer service, supply chain, shipment and delivery.
“You have to make sure you have the team in place to support the e-commerce cycle,” she said, “or you’ll bury yourself quickly and become irrelevant on the web as consumers buy elsewhere.”
E-commerce, of course, is not just about putting products on a website; it’s about making sure you have the support for that sale, which includes everything from ensuring you have inventory in the right locations for prompt delivery to having each order’s time posted and deadline met.
Meeting increased demand from suppliers is vital to success in e-commerce, and companies’ teams must rise to the challenge. Maintaining strong foundational relationships with suppliers and keeping a top-notch team on your side will help your business ensure it doesn't fall behind.