Supply bottlenecks in online retail in 2022

Almost the entire e-commerce market is affected by supply bottlenecks. Even after Corona, the logistics situation has not yet recovered.

Delivery bottleneck at Christmas and Cyber Monday

Since the coronavirus crisis, there have been supply bottlenecks for goods and materials from suppliers in the Far East. This affects sales materials, textiles, furniture and electrical goods. Not only are the end products missing, but the supply chains have also been interrupted due to a lack of raw materials for production.

The second supply bottleneck is caused by the high number of online orders. This not only refers to the approx. 16% increase in online retail in 2021, but also to high sales days such as “Cyber Monday” and the Christmas period.

On “Black Friday”, around 34% of all orders for the year arrive in online stores. These two campaign days alone are expected to generate sales of around 4.9 billion euros in 2021.

An interesting LIVE map of the worldwide Shopify online stores shows how much is currently sold in one minute and how high the turnover is. The numbers soar, especially on campaign days.

On these days, there are bottlenecks in order processing and by the shipping service providers. Large cities and their parcel centers (PZ) are more affected by these delivery bottlenecks. This is because parcels accumulate more quickly in urban areas and there are longer delays before the parcels are delivered.

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Bottleneck in the parcel center of the big city

In logistics, there is sometimes talk of a bottleneck. Parcels that need to be sent out of the city or to the big city pile up in the main hub of the mail order companies. This is why DHL has been setting up mechanized delivery bases since 2013, which are supplied by the parcel centers. At the delivery base, the appropriate parcels are automatically assigned to the deliverer, minimizing manual sorting work and optimizing the shipping process.

Micro Fulfillment

A new trend is the use of storage space within the city. This Mico Fulfillment is suitable for shipments that remain within the city. These can be picked on the same day and delivered directly to the customer in the city. Large providers such as Amazon are already using warehouse space within or just outside the city. But retailers are also increasingly becoming mini hubs. For example, if a shoe store in the city sells a product online, the customer can pick it up directly or the item is delivered to the customer on the same day.

What can I do as an online retailer?

As an online retailer, the bottleneck in the parcel center of the big cities should be avoided by using a fulfillment center outside the big city.

Nevertheless, micro fulfillment centers are useful to ensure fast delivery within the city.

To achieve both, it can be a good strategy to store the goods in the warehouse outside the big city and deliver partial quantities to the micro fulfillment center as needed. This strategy is already being implemented in the area of Pre-FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). This solves storage costs and space problems.

What can I do as a buyer?

The simplest rule is, of course, to order the goods in good time. Pay attention to the delivery times in the online store or on the marketplaces. In any case, assume that the goods will arrive later.

For important products that you need, it would be advisable to ask the online retailer directly whether the goods are in stock and how long the delivery time is.

Avoid returns on these days and before the Christmas period. You can do this by informing yourself about the product in advance, ordering only the required number of products and, if possible, waiting until after the holidays to return them.

If you have received a parcel or a returns bill with our address (Subke GmbH, c/o online retailer), you can ask your question in advance in order to possibly solve the problem before the return.

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