Cross-border shopping is driving retail growth, but also creating complexity for retailers who, in the past, mainly worked with domestic customers. In this QAD Precision Report we look at the benefits of global trade management software for retailers.
The internet has turned the world into a global marketplace of 24/7 shopping — from anywhere to anywhere. The unstoppable rise of online shopping has allowed small digital retailers to become global giants. In addition, bricks-and-mortar retailers are now able to sell to customers far beyond their geographic area. Managed correctly, the growth of cross-border online shopping can bring great rewards. However, there are significant complexities too. And where there is complexity, there is also risk. Nowhere is this more true than when managing global trade.
A study by UPS found that 71 percent of European shoppers made a cross border purchase in 2017. You would be right to assume that large numbers of shoppers in European Union countries buy goods from other member states. Nevertheless in 2017, more than half of EU shoppers also purchased goods from retailers outside the bloc. Shoppers do this looking for better prices or specific brands of products.
Consumers in the United States are less inclined to shop internationally than Europeans. Having said that, nearly half — 47 percent — of US shoppers made an international online purchase in 2017. In contrast, 83 percent of consumers in Canada and 78 percent of shoppers in Mexico made a cross-border purchase over the same time period.
Cross-border e-commerce has grown exponentially in China too. In 2016, cross-border retail ecommerce sales were worth $78.5bn. This figure is forecast to exceed $140bn by 2021.
Cross-border e-commerce markets in the developing world may be smaller, but this is likely to change. One telling example is the DHL Africa eShop. DHL launched this e-commerce app earlier this year, which allows retailers to sell goods to Africa’s consumers markets.
Today’s global retail supply chains are increasingly distributed. Rather than shipping large volumes of product to a central hub, retailers today are working directly with customers in more markets and delivering significantly greater numbers of small shipments than just a few years ago.
This creates a challenge for retailers, since the global trade management software that retailers used in the past are optimized to a centralized supply chain model comprised of fewer vendors in fewer countries. Today, retail supply chains need to support multiple selling channels, multiple sources of origin and multiple supply chain models.
So how is the retail supply chain changing, and how does global trade management software help to optimize them?
A hundred years ago, Sears and Roebuck transformed the retail industry by introducing catalog mail sales. Unlike the local general stores that were never quite general enough, you could order anything from Sears: shoes, tools, barns or even houses. As the American population left their rural roots and settled in cities and suburbs, stores like Sears opened stores in cities and suburbs where they could reach many customers from a single location.
At the time, retail supply chains were all about centralized operations that served many people, replacing old models of locally sourced and sold products. But today, retail is an industry where products can arrive in customers’ hands through multiple channels: e-commerce, apps, mail order catalogs and stores. And these customers are now all over the world, as are the suppliers that provide the goods they’re buying.
The increasingly distributed nature of retail sales — with products moving to and from points around the globe on their journey to the consumer, to stores or even to retail partners like Amazon — is creating an increasing need for global trade management software to help retailers keep up.
When it comes to global trade, reducing risk, effort and costs while providing an excellent experience for your customers drives higher margins. The more customers you have overseas, the more complexity and risk your supply chain faces. These risk factors include:
Research shows that for each retailer, approximately five out of every ten parcels shipped to international customers get delayed due to documentation or license requirement errors. These delays can lead to cancellation of outstanding orders, damage customer loyalty and impact future revenue. Global trade management software ensures that all such requirements are correctly completed.
Organizations that do not have a global trade management software system must manually screen every order from an international customer to ensure that customer and associated parties are not on any sanctioned party lists published by various government agencies. With a global trade management software, retailers can automatically screen orders. The system either instantly clears the order for shipment or flags it for export compliance issues. This capability eliminates bottlenecks and allows the company to focus on manually evaluating only that small percentage of export orders that are flagged for possible violations.
Floods and other natural disasters can create supply chain choke points that can severely impact global trade between countries doing business in the affected areas. If your overseas supplier’s port facility is impacted by a disaster, you may not be able to get your goods on time – or at all. You’ll need to find alternate routes, and fast.
GTM solutions along with multi carrier shipping software helps you manage this risk. Multi carrier software limits the impact of disasters by giving retailers access to carriers and modes of transport across every major destination and region. Retailers can reroute shipments to keep the flow of goods moving seamlessly and cost-effectively.
Increasing supply chain reliability and on-time deliveries, while reducing stock outages and improving customer satisfaction, all make global trade management software a must for retailers who want to leverage cross-border shopping to grow their business.
QAD Precision (Precision Software), a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade management, transportation execution and multi carrier shipping software solutions from a single, integrated platform. Preeminent industry leaders in every region of the world rely on QAD Precision’s global support centers to leverage thousands of carriers and manage millions of shipping transactions every day. Our open architecture easily integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning, Warehouse Management Systems and legacy solutions. An ISO-certified company, QAD Precision assists companies to minimize shipping costs, optimize first mile and last mile deliveries, automate free trade agreement compliance, avoid customs delays and mitigate the risks associated with dynamic trading environments to maximize their competitive advantage. QAD Precision’s customers span multiple industries including banking and finance, life sciences, high technology, retail, industrial, automotive, higher education and public sector as well as logistics providers. For more information about QAD Precision, visit www.qadprecision.com.
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