Few events are more important in the retail industry than new store openings and new product rollouts. It’ll often be the first time a consumer interacts with your brand, and you should leave nothing to chance. Everything must be planned down to the finest detail for the launch to come off without a hitch.
Managing Product Rollouts and Store Openings
But of all the details, one of the most critical is logistics and supply chain management. After all, openings and rollouts come with fixed dates. Postponing isn’t usually an option — nor is empty store shelves. Of all the steps involved in launching your new products into the marketplace, selecting the right type of carrier usually isn’t at the forefront of any store manager’s mind – but a lack to dedicate time to find one sure will make this the focal point of your busy season. Although we can’t imagine anything more exciting than seeing you think about freight and transportation as much as we do, we understand that it’s your job to manage your business and our job to take the logistics piece off your mind.
That’s why choosing the right partner to provide true flexibility and creative solutions to ensure all the logistics around your supply chain come together in time for launch is critical. Otherwise, you run into problems. But choosing the right partner isn’t as quick as a selecting the first result of a Google search. Having a logistics and supply chain partner for your new product rollouts or store openings is a big deal; after all, this relationship should last beyond your initial launch date. Be on the lookout for someone who can handle your requests for volume of shipments, transit times, communication, and customer service.
The following are just a few of the issues you might encounter by selecting the wrong carrier:
Sorry to break it to you, but same-day shipping is definitely not an option here. Retailers have enough on their plates coordinating all aspects of new store openings or new product rollouts without having to manage the logistics of the supply chain. In fact, with so much going on, some can even struggle to order deliveries properly, leading to shipping delays. A third-party provider can schedule, optimize, and complete the transport of goods from anywhere around the world and manage this aspect of launch for you, allowing you to focus on more pressing matters.
We did some research by interviewing hundreds of logistics managers around the country to ask them what their biggest irritation was with their carriers. The answer?
There is never “good timing” for cargo damage to occur. New product rollouts or store openings are perhaps amongst the worst time for this to happen. That’s why selecting a carrier that understands how your goods must be handled is critical. To add some complexity to the case, it must be kept in mind that keeping your actual product in good condition isn’t your only responsibility in the shipping process.
Obviously, you need merchandise for a successful opening. But if displays are mishandled during delivery, you could find yourself without anything to put the merchandise on. Working with an experienced shipping and logistics company often reduces the chances of structural damage or weakening to display units in transit, and the best carriers know the safest and quickest routes to limit the time spent handling and moving everything necessary for launch. And in the case that your goods do get damaged, you’ll want your money back. Insuring your cargo can keep you out of financial disaster’s way. Also, ensure you understand your cargo insurance options and pick the right one for your company.
What’s worse than damaged display cases showing up? How about no display units arriving? We would love to tell you these are all hypothetical circumstances that would only happen to the worst, most unorganized store manager ever – but this is unfortunately not the case. We’ve heard the horror stories, talked to these managers in person, and realize that it is rarely the fault of the manager. Sure, it is your job as a good manager to be on top of informing your carrier of when your merchandise and display units need to be transported, but it’s also the job of your carrier to fulfill their end. And too many carriers won’t handle your needs the level of care that you need.
Displays and merchandise must arrive not just on schedule but in an orderly fashion to maximize efficiency and guarantee a successful launch. It should go without saying, but you want display units to arrive well in advance of your merchandise. This will allow staff the time needed to finalize layout, placement, and setup details of your stores. Selecting the right shipping and logistics company can help simplify the logistics involed in product rollouts. Everything from ordering, transporting, and delivering displays and merchandise must be done under well-defined, tight deadlines.
Misuse Of Resources
When opening new stores or initiating product rollouts, capital is often of great concern. By working with a shipping and logistics company, you cut down on the cost of staffing, technology, and transportation. The onus is on the carrier to deliver products, display units, and other collateral by a specific day, cutting down the chances of costly mistakes on your part or expending more resources than necessary. The shipments are the responsibility of someone who’s been in the shipping and logistics industry for years. Allocating, delegating, and managing your resources efficiently and effectively is a must for store owners.
Please – please don’t let this be a hard-earned lesson. If you’ve hurt your business in the past because of these issues, we are happy to help restore the pieces. But if the whole concept of product rollouts or store openings is new to you, you don’t have to learn this by trial and error. You have control over your resources and assets – allocating and deligating them correctly should be of utmost concern in the upcoming business season.
What Can You Do Now?
If you’d like to learn more about the logistics involved with new store openings and product rollouts, we’d be more than happy to answer your questions and discuss your concerns. The team at Interlog USA has spent years working closely with retailers under tight launch timelines for store openings and product rollouts. We have knowledge, insight, and tips for you as you move forward with your business plan and we would be delighted at the opportunity to start a discussion around related topics. However, if this is resonating with you in any way and you are realizing the gravity of selecting the right carrier for your business, we would love to have a conversation and see if we would be right for your business.
There’s no harm in reaching out for a quick conversation at any level of interest!