3PL News & Trends
Factoring in COVID-19, it’s clear that this year’s online shopping patterns are different from what we’ve seen in previous years. With a steady rise in options like buy-online, pickup in-store, contactless shopping, and expectations for free and easy returns, brands and retailers have shifted business models and fulfillment tactics. In this article, we’re collecting everything you need to know about new innovations and opportunities in ecommerce fulfillment.
Table of Contents
- Jan 26 – Conveyor and Sortation Solutions
According to a recent analyst report from market researcher, Technavio, the global conveyor and sortation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 5% through 2024. With the emergence of new types of packages, processes and market niches driven by the expansion of ecommerce, innovative conveyor/sortation solutions are more relevant than ever. Here are the top trends in the market as noted by Modern Materials Handling.
Handling Increased Use of Polybags
Unlike boxes, which are easy to handle due to their flat bottoms and edges, polybags are much more difficult to control and can contain a diverse range of products. “It becomes important that you have good transitions from conveyor to conveyor, rather than large gaps from one conveyor to the next…[to] help avoid problems with polybags getting jammed or losing their tracking location in the software.” This issue is driving the implementation of new sorters and belts that are better suited to move small items.
Low Voltage Systems
As companies experience pressure to expand their fulfillment reach, low voltage systems will become increasingly popular as they are generally simpler and quicker to install.
Low Cost Systems
In some cases, a throughput of 2,000 to 8,000 items per hour — while slower than some sorter solutions — can be offset by low cost, highly adaptable systems. There is currently an unfulfilled need for these systems in the market.
While many systems currently use fixed sortation, mobile robots offer an unmatched level of flexibility, configuration and scalability.
Telescoping Conveyor Systems
Following a “bring the belt to the box” concept, the telescoping conveyor minimizes overall labor effort by eliminating movement involved with loading and unloading cargo — for example, walking and carrying.
With increased customer interest in curbside and in-store pickup, having many automated points of distribution near the customer allows retailers to fulfill with maximum speed and efficiency. Options to enable this include implementing automated storage and order picking solutions in stores or in dark stores.
(Source: Modern Materials Handling)
Consumers spent an estimated $9 billion on U.S. retail websites on Black Friday 2020, a staggering 22% increase over the previous record of $7.4 billion, which was set in 2019.
Cyber Monday 2020 was the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, bringing in $10.8 billion, up 15.1% YOY.
Over Thanksgiving weekend this year, online shopping far exceeded all previous records. Total e-commerce sales over the entire Thanksgiving weekend amounted to $34.4 billion.
Curbside pickups jumped 30% from last year.
Online sales are predicted to rise 30% from last year and the entire 2020 holiday shopping season is estimated to bring in 184 billion.
(Source: Adobe Digital Insights)
This year, for the first time ever, more than a quarter of holiday sales will occur online. COVID-19 is projected to contribute $40 billion in online holiday revenue during November and December 2020.
U.S. consumers, in particular, are expected to spend a collective 43.3% more with online retailers this holiday season, reflecting a 26.1% increase in web penetration (up from 19.2% in 2019.)
Brands and retailers with brick-and-mortar locations are coping digital brands by offering options like buy-online, pick up in-store and curbside pickup.
(Source: Digital Commerce 360)