Customers of H&M, Esprit, and similar companies have high expectations: They want to be able to order new clothing online, pick it up locally (“click & collect”), check availability at their local stores online, return items bought online at the nearest store, and have sizes and colors not available in their local store delivered to them at home. So the fashion industry expects its merchants to have a virtually unparalleled level of omnichannel savvy. Because before you can offer your customers click & collect, online availability checks, and in-store ordering options, you must first prepare your materials management, warehouse management, and shipping logistics. Dr. Franz Vallée from the prestigious consulting firm Vallée and Partners is hosting a discussion forum at TradeWorld 2017 entitled “Cross-channel and other trends in fashion logistics” that is sure to provide attendees with a wealth of useful tips, even those in other industries. “Fashion logistics must find solutions for long supply chains, growing inventories, expanding product lines, and above all for ever more demanding customers,” Vallée explains. The purchase, pickup, payment, and return processes are increasingly playing out in a variety of sale channels that need to work together effectively, he says. “The expert forum explores logistics solutions that can be applied to other industries as well.”
Real-world insights for optimized supply chain processes
Other forums within the larger program accompanying TradeWorld 2017 address themes that are important well beyond the fashion industry. Barbara Bergmann, Editor-in-Chief of the trade journal Versandhausberater, talks about succeeding in the last mile. “Vision and reality in e-commerce logistics” is the subtitle of her expert forum. Because retailers face big challenges satisfying customer expectations with highly customized shipping solutions using parcel services. “The customer is king and decides when and where the package is delivered,” Bergmann explains. “Our experts reveal how they use innovative time slot deliveries and alternative delivery locations to personalize the last mile in a way that meets customer demands and also serves the bottom line.”
Once the customers have received the goods, the next challenge begins with the issue of returns. TradeWorld 2017 picks up the thread with the expert forum “Practical solutions in returns logistics,” moderated by Matthias Pieringer, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the trade journal LOGISTIK HEUTE. Commerce and logistics experts examine how a clear strategy for returns can be a major factor in ensuring success. Active returns management helps omnichannel merchants not only manage their customer returns as efficiently as possible but avoid them in the first place.
B2B commerce also facing challenges
The optimization of cross-channel digital trade processes is something that challenges B2C and B2B traders alike. That’s why Stephan Meixner, Founder and Publisher of neuhandeln.de, is hosting the expert forum “E-commerce in B2B & B2C” to show how business-to-customer best practices from can be applied to the business-to-business segment. “What can B2B learn from B2C? How do I approach my retailers, and what ways are there for keeping the quantities of returned shoes, for example, in check?” With questions such as these, Meixner gives a taste of the insights attendees can expect from the real-world stories of the invited specialists.
“Success in B2B online trade also means taking into account issues that are almost unknown in end-consumer sales,” notes Dr. Georg Wittmann from the renowned research institute ibi research. Wittmann leads the forum “B2B in the digital age,” which is designed to build upon the insights gleaned from the B2C segment. “Digitization does not leave wholesale and production-to-production trade in Germany untouched. Experts anticipate more and more business procurement processes to migrate online in the future,” as Wittmann has found in his research.
Looking into the future of retail logistics
The TradeWorld 2017 program wraps up with a gaze into the crystal ball. “The future of retail logistics” is what Dr. Volker Lange, Director of Packaging and Retail Logistics at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, calls his forum on “retail logistics 4.0.” “Electronic devices, machines, and vehicles today are in many cases equipped with sensors, data storage, and software – making them ‘smart’ objects,” explains Lange. The forum on the future will explore the potential applications for logistics and trade. The LogiMAT discussions “Packaging 4.0 – The future of packaging” and “Auto-ID as an Industry 4.0 enabler” offer an opportunity to deepen this insight into the future of e-commerce and omnichannel.
Retailers need to chart a course now
“The forums at TradeWorld and LogiMAT offer an impressive view of the interrelationships between intralogistics and digital trade: Logistics providers are getting better and better at responding to the demands of commerce as it digitizes. At the same time, smooth and efficient processes are a necessary precondition to successful online trade. Experienced speakers and distinguished experts will share exciting insights with the attendees of the TradeWorld expert forums,” explains Dr. Petra Seebauer, Managing Director of EUROEXPO Messe- und Kongress-GmbH in charge of TradeWorld. Seebauer emphasizes how important it is to deal with the relevant digital trends now: “The 100 largest online merchants already account for nearly half of German e-commerce sales. At the same time, many customers already take omnichannel functions such as click & collect and online availability checks for granted. Those who don’t adjust their processes now will soon lose the ability to keep up with trends in commerce. TradeWorld’s forums are the perfect opportunity to learn about the most important trends from the source.”
TradeWorld 2017 – a special strategic component with its own program of expert forums – features exhibitors showcasing e-commerce and omnichannel solutions for businesses in the manufacturing, commercial, and service sectors as part of LogiMAT, the 15th International Trade Show for Distribution, Materials Handling, and Information Flow. LogiMAT welcomes more than 1,300 international exhibitors to the Messe Stuttgart convention center from.
The event offers innovative e-commerce concepts for designing, managing, and integrating digitization in the areas of procurement, online shops and marketing, payment, software, intralogistics, shipping, fulfillment, returns, and after-sales. Rounding off the program is the TradeWorld expert forum in Hall 6, with a different program of presentations each day exploring such issues as B2B in the digital age, e-commerce in B2B & B2C, success stories in smart retail logistics, cross-channel and other trends in fashion logistics, practical solutions in returns logistics, and innovative last-mile solutions.
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