The relatively new trend of Websites offering daily and weekly deals for goods and services is adding complexity in the marketplace as big names like Google join pioneers like Groupon and Living Social.
The sites that offer reduced pricing on goods are all looking to ship goods purchased quickly, meaning the supply chain requirements are much quicker and more dynamic. Product manufacturers and their retail partners have to adjust their order fulfillment practices – not all of these deals are just to clear old inventory. This leads to more pre-orders before deals go into effect as well as quicker responses to fulfillment needs if the orders outstrip existing inventory, which the major deal sites say happens regularly.
Fulfillment centers and other points along the supply chain will need more information around these sales channels, including many more updates throughout the day about volume levels for orders and inventory around both the overall sales numbers and based on geographies to facilitate larger shipments.
There are plenty of opportunities here for third-party logistics providers and other partners, since the ability to meet all of these needs may be beyond the in-house capabilities of smaller companies participating in the process. They key here is for partners to establish early-on their lines of communication, expectations, and the urgency around when orders and information must be passed along.
Retail and fulfillment partners must work on their pre-planning of stock ahead of promotions and deals. This covers both general numbers around inventory as well as the packaging and preparation of the products in question. Getting inventory to a point where all it needs is a shipping label can speed up the entire process, and a suggestion like that coming from a 3PL would show great interest in helping customers as well as proving your interest in the overall process.
The biggest prep work will come around volume handling, not only in coping with larger than normal sizes but also with general fluctuation as orders roll in. Many deal sites report high volumes of orders around certain times of the day, including early morning, lunch hour, and as the workday ends. - Geoff Whiting