Apparel Fulfillment and Logistics Solutions

Order Fulfillment Solutions for Omnichannel Retailers and Wholesalers

Fashion moves quickly. Even before they have their summer styles on the shelves, retailers and wholesalers have to be thinking ahead to what’s coming next in the fall and winter. Keeping track of these trends and knowing what goes where — and when — isn’t easy. With the right systems in place, companies can effectively juggle these and other requirements while also prioritizing orders, fulfilling them quickly, and keeping up with consumer demands. 

After all, it’s those consumers who drive order fulfillment and expect faster delivery times, an “infinite shelf” of choices, and a seamless shopping experience. You need solutions that can increase order fulfillment capacity (with speed and accuracy) with a system that offers system scalability while reducing operating costs.

What are some current fulfillment challenges for apparel retailers & wholesalers?

Here are the three most common challenges your retail business is likely experiencing:

Denser population in cities, smaller warehouses:

  • By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will be living in urban environments 
  • Smart cities, enabling of an interdependent ecosystem
  • Close to consumer or micro-fulfillment for non-grocery markets
  • This trend is driving apparel companies to get products closer to urban centers, with smaller warehouses, leading to increased labor costs

What are some successful apparel logistics strategies for retailers?

E-commerce fulfillment services have consistently generated returns more frequently than brick-and-mortar purchases. As e-commerce sales continue to grow at double digit rates it is expected returns will follow the same path or trajectory. An unfortunate consequence has been the environmental impact of high returns rates with a staggering 25% of returns will end up in landfills. While the reasons for throwing out returns varies — from damaged goods to health and safety regulations — the sustainability consequences are hard to ignore. And consumers are overwhelmingly looking for brands to incorporate sustainability efforts into their overall business practices. 

No matter when a company’s peak season is, preparing for it can’t be done on a whim. Indeed, many companies have looked to the flexibility and scalability that automation provides to meet the manufacturing and order fulfillment demands of their busy seasons.

Fulfilling online orders in-store is unsustainable because it puts a strain on in-store supply and real-time inventory management. When retailers choose to fulfill online orders with in-store inventory, they risk products being unavailable for consumers that choose to shop at the physical location, resulting in a potentially negative experience for in-store shoppers. As retailers explore micro-fulfillment as a solution to their e-commerce business challenges, there is an opportunity to support inventory needs for other nearby retail locations, dark stores and urban fulfillment centers. Micro-fulfillment meets modern consumer demand for quick fulfillment, while enabling retailers to maintain control of the shopping experience, retain critical customer data to personalize the shopping experience, and make rapid order fulfillment profitable.

The first 24 hours are the most critical in returns processing. If returned items can be processed and made “rack ready” within 24 hours of receipt at the DC, there’s a significant opportunity to increase overall sales volume and reduce the potential of holding returned inventory for a longer timeframe. If the returned item is a seasonal or fashion item, reducing holding time and getting the item back into inventory for sale quickly are even more important. 

What automation solutions should you consider for apparel fulfillment?

Dematic enables apparel logistics, allowing retailers and wholesalers to offer a responsive and satisfying order fulfillment experience for their customers. Our solutions optimize the order fulfillment process for all channels, including e-commerce, traditional brick-and-mortar stores, and buy online/pickup in store.

With successful apparel reference projects operating worldwide and deep process improvement expertise, Dematic engineers modular, flexible, and scalable solutions that meet consumer demand for a seamless omnichannel shopping experience — from micro-fulfillment solutions installed in back rooms of existing retail stores to fully automated DCs.

  • Labor Cost Reduction/Availability:​​​ Customers are trying to solve for both the labor shortage and high cost of labor.
  • Inventory Visibility/Management: The ability to see and track inventory within the distribution center (DC) — as well as within store networks — is becoming increasingly important. This will grow in importance as store inventory and DC inventory is used to handle direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments. Also, the growth of click-and-collect operations is placing an even greater emphasis on inventory visibility within the supply chain.
  • Space Savings/Utilization: Optimizing fulfillment space is becoming increasingly important as cost of real estate increases. This is especially true for companies that want to get closer to consumers in urban hubs.
  • Fulfillment/Replenishment Speed:​​​​​ Filling orders fast and replenishing product for order fulfillment are critical and becoming more important as their DTC channel grows.

What criteria should you use when evaluating an apparel fulfillment automation partner?

Dematic’s long history of success in apparel logistics helps us understand and solve your most pressing business challenges. We offer differentiated solutions that increase accuracy, productivity, and efficiency. We have a large solution portfolio that spans multiple customer sizes and growth paths that expand as your business grows.

It is critical to select the right supplier - one that will be a trusted partner throughout the entire process.

As a company that’s led innovation in Supply Chain for more than 200 years, Dematic provides the widest range of solutions and the expertise to build the solution you need for complete control and visibility over your operation. 

Our solutions are tailored to your business challenges. Using standardized sub-systems and industry-leading insight and expertise, Dematic provides world-class integrated hardware, software, and support to help you empower people, optimize space, drive growth and improve efficiency.

With Dematic, you can grow your business to compete locally, retain customer loyalty, and deliver with speed and accuracy on a global scale.

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