5 reasons why Wholesale DC’s struggle in fulfilling e commerce orders for fashion brands
Most Wholesale Distribution Centers are incredible at the shipping and receiving apparel at the case level in a rather inexpensive and quick manner. This expertise however does no good in helping them prepare for all rising requirements of the e commerce fashion brands.
Here we have listed 5 key reasons why wholesale distribution centers struggle in fulfilling e commerce orders for the fashion brands.
Product Storage and Shipment
The wholesale distribution centers are adept in storing and shipping the case level quantities of the products however e commerce fulfillment demands the warehouses to segregate and break down the case of the goods. When it comes to fashion garments, putting them away to facilitate their pick and pack can often be a difficult, expensive and a time consuming affair for most DCs.
Presentation of the orders
The wholesale DCs know, understand and acknowledge the massive difference in the packaging parameters as well as the labeling requirements of a fashion retail and the wholesale accounts. Though demanding and specific, these standards differ from the ones that are prerequisites of the e commerce consumers. Fashion orders are presentation specific and involve tissue papers, boxes of different colors, shapes and sizes, stickers, etc. Thus, in order to please the fashion consumers, a DC would need a completely different set of packaging material that might have never been used in the wholesale orders.
Volatility of the order
The wholesale DCs are one step away from the end customers. They are used to longer lead times, regular shipping schedules and ship by date orders. On the other hand, the e commerce fulfillment operations do not have such an exemption. Every order shipped by them reaches the customer directly. This direct connection that e commerce orders have with the customers leads to higher order volume volatility. It therefore gets hard for the wholesale distribution centers to be able to keep pace with the quick volume fluctuations thereby making them incompetent to deal with the end customers.
Accuracy of the order
Order accuracy is of course a common ground for both e commerce and wholesale order fulfillment. However, there is a massive difference in the intricate details that lie within. When it comes to the wholesale fulfillment there is no direct contact between the end customer and the warehouse. The wholesalers deal with the stores and the stores deal with the consumers. So, in times of error, the customers are not affected directly. Such is not the case with e commerce order fulfillment. Here, any and every order fulfillment error may account for the dissatisfaction of the customers. For the e commerce customers, it is imperative for the brand to communicate with the customers.
Last and definitely the most important aspect of the e commerce for the fashion brands is returns. Trend says that as many as 20 to 40% of the items ordered get returned. So, unlike the wholesale returns, the e commerce returns go straight at the distribution centers in the order packaging that may have not more than one or two units. Thereafter, every returned packaged is examined and carefully inspected so as to examine whether the seller will accept the returned items or not. Aspects such as – how long ago the item was purchased, is the item worn, are the tags in place, etc are checked. Once the seller accepts the returns, the fulfillment center has to place these items back in the inventory. On the other hand, the Wholesale Distribution Centers are not used to tackling the returns that demand such intricate detailing. Neither are they accustomed to handle thousands of small packages on every day basis.
The wholesale distribution centers as well as their processes are thus not designed to cater to the demands of the e commerce fulfillment for the apparel and the fashion brands. Thus, it is imperative to find a partner who understands the expectations of the fashion and apparel customers as well as the unique process of order fulfillment in e commerce.