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Top trends in ecommerce fulfillment in 2024

In this blog, we highlight the top trends emerging in ecommerce fulfillment for 2024 and beyond.

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Ecommerce businesses just capped off another banner year, with an estimated 20.8% of retail purchases taking place online in 2023. Looking forward, ecommerce sales growth worldwide is expected to increase by 9.4% to $6.33 trillion in 2024.

For ecommerce businesses, the start of a new year means planning and preparing for the year ahead by reviewing the previous year’s performance, creating or updating business plans, identifying areas for improvement, and setting goals. Some businesses may evaluate whether they wish to expand onto new sales channels or outsource any of their logistics operations – like warehousing and distribution, inventory management, or order fulfillment – to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider in order to help their business grow further.

With the ecommerce landscape constantly changing, it’s also important to be aware of any emerging trends that could impact your business in 2024 and beyond. In order to help you prepare and position your ecommerce business for a productive year ahead, we asked six team members from Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) – a 3PL service that provides fast, reliable fulfillment for orders placed off Amazon – the following question:

What do you think will be the most interesting trend or innovation in the ecommerce fulfillment space in 2024?

Here are their responses:

Barb Pawlak headshot on bright blue background
Explosive growth in social commerce
As we kick off 2024, I believe that social media stores will continue to be a popular sales channel for ecommerce businesses. We’re witnessing more and more products being sold directly on social media websites – like TikTok, Meta (Facebook), and Instagram – and social media commerce is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026.

With behavior-based targeting and a highly engaged audience – TikTok users, for example, spend an average of 95 minutes per day on the app – social stores provide a unique opportunity for businesses to extend their reach and grow their customer base through increased brand awareness. For new ecommerce merchants, social media stores offer a chance to launch their business with minimal capital investment.

If you’re expanding your ecommerce business across social media, working with a 3PL, like MCF, can help you manage the increase in orders that you’re likely to see. 3PLs can fulfill orders placed across multiple social media sites, scale to support a surge in orders that may occur if your products go viral, and meet any social media site’s delivery requirements – so that your packages will arrive on time on your customers’ doorsteps. 3PLs also have a suite of integration options that make expanding onto social media stores a hassle-free experience. Merchants can simply set up a store, integrate with a fulfillment partner, and begin selling their products on that channel.
Barb Pawlak Account Representative, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Ali Moghtaderi headshot on bright blue background
Increased need to automate order fulfillment
I predict that we will see more and more ecommerce businesses looking to automate their order fulfillment in 2024. With the increased demand for ecommerce businesses to expand and sell on multiple sales channels – like brand websites, ecommerce stores, and social media stores – merchants can get overwhelmed trying to overcome the operational challenges of a multi-channel selling strategy. Managing a multi-channel business is complex, and integrations are available to help simplify and streamline your operations.

From ecommerce solution providers to inventory and order management solutions, there are many integration options out there that can reduce the time and effort required to manage order fulfillment. Developers have been innovating to support businesses by making improvements to existing integrations, like increasing the number of channel connections, reducing onboarding steps, and expanding the business functions that can be performed on the integrations.

If you integrate your sales channels with your back-end systems and automatically send orders to your 3PL provider for fulfillment, you can streamline your business and offer faster fulfillment. I believe integrations will become an essential tool for ecommerce businesses.
Ali Moghtaderi Sr. Tech Partnership Manager, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Emily Boychenko headshot on bright blue background
Optimizing DTC websites to help boost bottom line
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) selling continues to rise in popularity. In fact, 64% of consumers regularly make DTC ecommerce purchases from brands, and that number will only increase. Brands are aiming to meet customers where they shop most, with new DTC websites emerging every day (on top of the over 7 million existing ecommerce websites around the globe). With increasing competition and new features becoming available, like ‘buy online, pick up in store’, it’s even more important for merchants to adapt and optimize every stage of their customer journey.

Cultivating your DTC website experience can positively impact your bottom line by allowing you to improve conversion and acquire more customers with less advertising investment. When shoppers arrive at your site, they’re looking for a smooth shopping experience from checkout to delivery. This can improve brand loyalty and customer retention, one of the keys to a successful ecommerce business.

Merchants can leverage Amazon’s services to help optimize their ecommerce website. MCF helps merchants delight customers by offering fast, reliable order fulfillment for any channel, including their DTC website. Buy with Prime, on the other hand, allows merchants to offer Prime shopping benefits on their site and convert new shoppers with the trust of Prime, the promise of fast, free delivery, and a checkout experience that millions of shoppers trust. By utilizing MCF and Buy with Prime, merchants can position themselves to offer a positive customer experience in 2024.
Emily Boychenko Account Representative, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment
Stay up to date with new Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment features, best practices, and more.

Ankit Dhingra headshot on bright blue background
Efficient inventory management
Merchants who view their supply chain as a differentiator and focus on optimizing their inventory management can gain a competitive edge in 2024. Although inventory management remains a challenge for ecommerce businesses, those that can manage to maintain the right amount of product, in the right place, at the right time can benefit hugely.

During the pandemic, consumers may have been understanding of stockouts and late deliveries due to supply chain delays. Now, shoppers expect to see in-stock products that are delivered on time. When partnering with a 3PL, you can meet and even exceed customer expectations by utilizing their expertise and analytics to accelerate your business growth.

A 3PL can help with demand planning to make sure you don’t miss out on potential sales. In addition, consolidating your inventory with a single 3PL allows you to avoid the costs of maintaining multiple inventory pools and are able to distribute your inventory effectively. MCF, for instance, automatically distributes your inventory across Amazon’s fulfillment network to get your inventory as close as possible to your customers, delighting them with fast, reliable fulfillment. Offering your customers faster deliveries can help increase customer satisfaction and retention.

If you succeed in managing your inventory efficiently, you’ll build brand loyalty and customers will return throughout the year, including critical shopping periods like the holidays.
Ankit Dhingra Product Marketing Lead, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment

CJ Iannini headshot on bright blue background
Technological innovations in ecommerce fulfillment
I’m excited about the technological advancements that are sweeping through the ecommerce fulfillment space. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help make better business decisions is one trend that is top of mind for me. For instance, by monitoring shopping trends and customer locations using AI, merchants can make accurate forecasts and have the potential to automate decisions surrounding inventory distribution to position products even closer to customers. AI can also help optimize fulfillment operations (by reducing manual effort and errors) and provide true visibility with real-time inventory levels to automate inventory management.

Besides AI, I’m noticing more usage of high-tech devices during each step of the fulfillment process, from warehouse robotics during the pick, pack, and ship to drones and autonomous vehicles during last-mile delivery. This trend is developing in 2024, and will continue to impact ecommerce in the years to come.

Selecting a 3PL provider – like MCF – that both stays up to date on the latest developments in ecommerce fulfillment while leveraging cutting-edge technology will be hugely beneficial for businesses.
C.J. Iannini Sr. Technical Business Development Manager, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Karl Hemmelgarn
Focus on sustainability
For 2024 and beyond, there is going to be a big emphasis on sustainability in ecommerce fulfillment. Initiatives like eco-friendly packaging to minimize waste, delivery route optimizations and electric vehicles to cut down on carbon emissions, and improved data analytics to run facilities more efficiently are coming to the forefront of many conversations for ecommerce businesses.

Why should merchants consider focusing on sustainability in the coming year? Prioritizing sustainability not only helps the Earth, but can also help your bottom line. By reducing packaging and working more optimally, you can save money. One study found that S&P 500 companies that build sustainability into their strategy have an 18% higher return on investment (ROI).

You’ll also appeal to shoppers with Earth-friendly preferences. In a recent survey, 66% of respondents say that they consider sustainability when they make a purchase. Consumers take note of things like orders being shipped in recyclable packaging and may even return to those brands that best fit their values.

Merchants that wish to be environmentally conscious should be sure to seek out a 3PL with similar values and practices in order to support their overall mission. MCF, as a part of Amazon, is committed to building a sustainable business for customers and the planet. Amazon has eliminated 1 million tons of packaging since 2015, and plans to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Karl Hemmelgarn Sr. Technical Business Development Manager, Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Conclusion

With many upcoming opportunities and challenges for ecommerce businesses in 2024, remaining up to date on the ever-changing trends will help you succeed. It’s also important to select the right 3PL provider and the right sales channels for your ecommerce business. By doing so, you’ll be poised to grow your business in 2024 and beyond.


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