SME retailers are optimistic about the future but are still failing to meet customer demand or deliver goods on time, according to new research.
The 2017 E-Commerce Fulfilment Report found that more than a third (35%) of respondents were struggling to maintain efficient business processes. A similar number also admitted that paperwork was getting on top of them.
In fact, purchasing and forecasting processes were identified as the main areas in need of improvement by growing retailers over the next 12 months.
The report questioned more than 150 retailers from across the globe – 80% of these had a turnover between £1m-£25m.
Research found that 82% of respondents posted a profit last year and nearly nine out of ten (89%) had forecasted a rise in sales in 2017.
However, more than three-quarters of SMEs interviewed said they struggled to meet demand at peak times and more than half (52%) were forced to hire temporary staff to cope with sales orders.
Retailers identified a number of other areas of improvement, with 48% of organisations claiming to be unhappy with their fulfilment and warehouse operations. In fact, more than a quarter admitted they struggle to find time for essential warehouse upkeeping due to daily demands.
Many organisations are using disjointed solutions to manage different parts of their business. Only 38% of retail firms said they had an integrated ERP solution with a third indicating a desire to improve their internal systems to meet sales growth in 2017.
The report adds that there’s never been a better time for retailers to invest in integrated software. “Fortunately, for those retailers still without or delaying investment in dedicated e-commerce fulfilment platforms, it is now easier than ever before to equip their warehouses with the tools necessary for maximising productivity, accuracy and profitability,” the report concluded.
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