Right now, one out of every three people buy the products they want online directly from the manufacturer. This tidal wave of direct-to-consumers (DTC) trade is forcing many companies to rethink the way they do business.
Many businesses today are investing in more sophisticated materials handling solutions that optimize and maximize throughput while minimizing mistakes that can instantly damage their reputation.
Changes in Packaging
One of the most immediate changes many companies are making is changing their packaging. Shipping bulk products to retailers require bulkier, less costly packaging like pallets and cases secured with shrink wrap.
But with DTC commerce, individual products often need to be packaged individually using new materials, such as polymer bags. While most consumers will gladly absorb the cost of this packaging, businesses are left to figure out how to restructure their shipping departments to accommodate packaging that can change size and shape with every order.
When manufacturers sell their products to retailers, there is a lot more room for error. Packages that are mislabeled, spoiled, or damaged can be easily returned and replaced with end-user customers being none the wiser.
With DTC commerce, however, errors in shipping and damage to products can damage a company’s reputation. Rather than giving the manufacturer time to apologize and rectify the mistake, consumers are often compelled to write and post a nasty review on their social media accounts or elsewhere online immediately.
While it’s not fair to businesses, it is one of the new realities of DTC commerce. As a result, manufacturers are motivated to minimize mistakes with every order they ship.
Speeding Up Delivery
Another new reality in the DTC business environment is that consumers expect and demand faster shipping. With companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and others promising next day or even same day delivery for online orders, other companies are challenged to find faster and more efficient ways to get their products into the hands of web-based buyers.
As a result, many businesses are investing in automated conveyor systems with modular conveyor platforms that allow retailers and system integrators to process and ship orders faster and more accurately than ever before.
These types of platforms include automated features that offer more flexibility and customization while allowing for the rapid handling of smaller and lighter packages in a variety of configurations. This can result in dramatic reductions in package damage while allowing more accuracy in hitting smaller, tighter delivery targets.
DTC commerce is here to stay. Businesses that can’t adjust to this new reality may not be.