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WEBINAR OVERVIEW: Retail’s Path Forward: The Need to Intensify Digital and Build Greater Resilience

In a recent InternetRetailing webinar, Retail’s Path Forward: The Need to Intensify Digital and Build Greater Resilience, we heard from Philip Hall, managing director of Europe at CommerceHub, about how retailers can:

  • Intensify their digital offer to capture the upswing in consumer demand
  • Go inventory free and build greater resilience in their supply chains by using drop shipping

Alex Sword, Europe Editor of, chaired and set the context. Philip’s presentation started with a brief overview of the current headwinds facing the retail sector, including not only COVID-19 but also the existing problems before that: rent increases, shop closures, the rise of the marketplace and Brexit.

He outlined the specific impacts of COVID-19:

  • Acceleration of ecommerce adoption
  • Falling consumer confidence
  • Disruption to supply chain, such as shutting down of distribution centres for staff safety

This last bullet has ushered in the need for retailers to strengthen their digital supply chains to make them more agile and resilient. This is now mission-critical for retailers and it can be done via drop ship—partnering with suppliers to diversify distribution, improve logistical efficiencies and protect the customer experience.

Customers overwhelmingly want choice and this is the driving force for expanding product range. Retailers can do this without the capital expense of housing inventory by utilising a drop-ship program to add more products in certain categories that align with and deliver on their brand promise.

How drop ship benefits the customer experience:

  • Filling in gaps – adding more complementary products to categories that the retailer already offers (e.g., another line of paint brushes in your home improvement category)
  • Fulfilling the shopping mission – building a full assortment around a one-stop shop for a certain buying journey such as a home improvement project
  • Selling in adjacent categories – a home retailer extending into selling garden products

He explained that drop shipping, which is offered by CommerceHub, is a proven and effective approach for intensifying range: in some cases, retailers relying on the CommerceHub platform see a 12% GMV increase for every 10 products added.

Philip explained CommerceHub’s drop shipping offering and how going “inventory free” means being able to add new products without adding new warehouses while closely monitoring and ensuring the quality of the fulfilment experience, including the capability to identify stock by location that is outside of the retailers’ network and rely more on the competence of their supplier network to ensure customers get what they need quickly.

The webinar ended with a Q&A session. To see the webinar in full, including the slides, speakers and Q&A session, see the top of this page. To explore InternetRetailing’s previous webinars, click here.

Large-scale retailers that rely on CommerceHub to manage their drop-ship programme have seen a return on investment of more than 400% in less than 3 months. The CommerceHub platform is a proven, tested and reliable way for retailers to ensure an agile and resilient supply chain that can quickly adapt to changing consumer demands. You can read more about drop shipping and its growing applicability to retail in Philip’s executive brief here:

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