As the landscape of retail has changed significantly over the past decade, the entire supply chain of consumer goods has shifted as well. Manufacturers are under pressure from customer-facing retailers to offer quicker, more efficient service and a wider range of goods than ever before.
Wholesale bedding manufacturers are among those who seek to partner with retailers in satisfying customer demands for high-quality products and timely delivery. Manufacturers are working within new models of retail, encompassing e-commerce as well as brick-and-mortar point-of-sale locations.
In order to optimize returns in those new models, manufacturers are investing in advanced technology. This technology helps improve communication channels with retailers, resulting in a shorter and more efficient supply chain from manufacturer to consumer. In the wholesale bedding industry, manufacturers are investing specifically in dropship capabilities.
How Dropshipping Improves Retail Efficiency
With the arrival of the e-commerce revolution, fewer retail stores needed to maintain brick-and-mortar locations in order to showcase goods. Online storefronts, for both emerging and established retail brands, increasingly took the place of detailed planograms designed to maximize customer purchase.
As consumer focus switched to online stores, retailers had less need to keep inventory on hand. There are no shelf displays to fill or aisle ends to stage with promotional product. This phenomenon gave rise to a potential opportunity: customers could order goods from the retailer but receive their goods directly from the supplier or manufacturer. This process, whereby the retailer never touches the product it sells, is called dropshipping. It reduces the retailer’s inventory burden while still ensuring quick order fulfillment.
Wholesale bedding manufacturers, like other distributors of consumer goods, have noticed increased demand for dropship capabilities. In addition to e-commerce stores that have no brick-and-mortar presence, big box stores are also seeking to partner with dropship companies in order to fulfill customer demand. By keeping up with consumer trends, these brands are revitalizing their online presence and staying relevant in the rapidly changing retail industry.
How Technology Improves Dropship Capabilities
Wholesale bedding manufacturers are developing new technology to streamline the dropship process. This increases their value to their retail partners by improving efficiency and expanding capacity. There are many phases of the dropship process where technology enhances communication, making the dropship option a better fit for e-commerce fulfillment than supply chain models of the past.
Dropship fulfillment has been a feature of retail since before the introduction of e-commerce. Retailers benefit from using a dropshipper because they utilize the manufacturer’s capacity to purchase and store inventory and to ship orders as needed. There is no excess stock held by the retailer or shipping delays, as they package and ship an item from the store itself.
In days past, communication between the retailer and the order fulfillment center was less rapid, involving phone calls between companies and sales agents who acted as a go-between in order to ensure the customer got the right product. Before technology allowed for a virtual connection between the supplier and the store, there was a hefty amount of paperwork and on-the-ground labor conveying orders to suppliers and arranging for shipment.
With new technology in place, the process is seamless. It begins when the customer places an order with the retailer, online or in a store. The retailer typically accepts payment and promises delivery within a certain time frame. Order details are sent immediately to the dropship manufacturer as soon as the customer places the order, without the need for a retailer to ask for the goods to be sent.
Communication between the store and the manufacturer is maintained through specialized software solutions such as VendorNet and CommerceHub, which transmit customer information directly to the site where the order is packed and shipped. Once the order is received, it is queued up for same-day fulfillment using an automated system. The retailer receives an ASN or packing list and is automatically billed the wholesale rate for the order.
Wholesalers and retailers use technology for more than order fulfillment. The right tools assist in all aspect of operations. The retailers can use certain software solutions to get real-time data on the availability of certain products, so they can take steps to appease the customer if an item is out of stock.
Customers, retailers and wholesalers can monitor individual orders through a portal that electronically tracks the location of all goods prepared for shipment. In this way, customers feel in control of their purchase while retailers are aware of any potential delays or barriers to fulfillment. With advance notice of any potential challenges, retailers can take steps to keep the customer happy — an ideal use of human capital.
Modern Dropship Fulfillment From Bedding Wholesalers
Technology has changed the face of retail by making it easier for consumers to find, select and purchase products. Modernizing the back end of retail, product fulfillment, has been achieved by adding new technology solutions to the dropship model. With these tools in place, dropship companies can maintain efficient and profitable relationships with retailers, serving both customers and retail buyers who want orders to complete quickly and with a high level of satisfaction.