When the coronavirus pandemic began, it changed many things. Quarantines had people working from home. Restaurants and retailers closed their doors, as did fitness centers and gyms. Businesses were forced to think quickly, change strategies, and execute on the fly. For restaurants, this meant moving from typical dine in services to take-out and delivery. For retailers, it was shifting to an e-commerce strategy to reach consumers.
With stay at home mandates in place, consumers didn’t stop shopping. They just changed how they shopped. Instead of going to stores, they picked up their electronic devices. The world’s biggest mall complete with restaurants, grocery stores, electronics, indoor gardens, and home gym equipment was at their fingertips. And open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Consumers’ expectations haven’t changed either. They still want their orders with-in two days or less.
E-commerce sales increased at a pace never before seen during the pandemic. According to Adobe Digital Economy Index, e-commerce sales in June 2020 were greater than the 2019 holiday season, and a 77% increase year-over-year. Home fitness equipment companies saw sales rise five times above forecast. While companies like Rise Gardens, which sells smart, indoor hydroponic gardens, saw a 700% jump in sales. Even with brick and mortar businesses open again, e-commerce sales have not dropped. Consumers have just increased the stakes by purchasing online and choosing in-store pickup. According to Forbes, in-store pickup of online purchases increased 195% in May 2020.
Having a business surge like that of what has occurred over the past six months, is a welcome disruption for revenue, but creates extreme complexities for supply chains. This holds true for both start-ups operating in the e-commerce arena and large retailers trying to create an omni-channel experience for consumers. That is where working with a third party logistics provider can help.
With the introduction of the pandemic, there were quite a bit of interruptions in supply chains. Nobody was prepared for a global pandemic, and there is no playbook for that. At Ryder, we helped customers by focusing on how to build solutions for the problems, using best practices we have developed over our eight decades of experience.
We were also able to combine our e-commerce fulfillment solutions and leverage our traditional supply chain solutions to get products sourced overseas, or in Mexico, to fulfillment centers. For example, Rise Gardens’ products are manufactured in Mexico, and we were able to use our logistics and cross border expertise to get their products to the fulfillment center and to customers expeditiously. This, along with quick changes in strategy, helped the company keep up with its 700% spike.
Watch the video above from Subscription Innovations and learn how Rise Gardens partnered with Ryder to create a seamless supply chain that was able to quickly scale up with demand and create a more resilient supply chain during the pandemic.
What we’ve learned from the pandemic is companies no longer have time to wait when it comes to implementing e-commerce fulfillment solutions. The pandemic has cast a wide net for online shopping, far beyond the typical electronics, clothing, and gadgets companies were used to. And because of this, companies are facing a multitude of challenges with logistics and their supply chains including visibility of inventory, constantly adjusting fulfillment capacity, delivering goods of different sizes, navigating last-mile delivery, and managing product returns efficiently to keep customers happy.With the trajectory of e-commerce growth continuing to accelerate, outsourcing distribution and logistics becomes a logical approach, as we are well positioned to help companies overcome various challenge from pandemics to labor shortages, seasonal peaks, and shifts in consumer behavior. A third party provider, like Ryder, can provide the people, space, and systems to quickly shift strategies to help companies develop a supply chain that is well prepared for any future disruption.
Ryan Singerline is a Sr. Director of Logistics with Ryder’s E-commerce Fulfillment Solutions. Ryan joined Ryder in 2016, to help grow and lead business within our Retail and Consumer Brands vertical. Since joining Ryder he’s led multiple teams with focuses on tech, health, consumer packaging, and e-commerce fulfillment. Ryan currently leads our E-Commerce Fulfillment Team, where we’ve opened over three buildings and added over 700,000 square feet of fulfillment space over the last 18 months.