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Survey: The leading cause of fulfillment error is…


Retailers looking to place blame for problems with inventory or fulfillment may want to find a target besides their IT systems.

According to a new survey of 200 retailers from inventory management technology provider Stitch Labs, two-thirds (63%) of inventory or fulfillment issues are caused by human error from manual process management. Delayed shipment from suppliers causes another 15% of inventory and fulfillment difficulties, with faulty technology only responsible only 12.5% of the time.

The survey also revealed that almost half of retailers (45%) say that an out-of-stock product after a customer placed an order is the leading inventory mistake that results in lost customers. Twenty-two percent of respondents cited oversold products that couldn’t be backordered, while 17% said having the wrong product packed and delivered resulted in lost customers. Another 7% mentioned misplaced inventory in the warehouse.

When it comes to making customers happy with inventory and fulfillment, 40% of respondents said consistent, on-time order delivery is key. Twenty-three percent stressed the need for empowered, knowledgeable customer support staff, while 19% said always having product in stock put smiles on customer faces. Other responses included low prices and free shipping (11%) and special offers (7%).

Other notable findings include:

• Almost half (46%) of retailers report they will invest a majority of their IT spend in 2016 on warehouse inventory management.

• Half of retailers (50%) expect to see more free shipping as e-commerce fulfillment competition heats up, and nearly one-third (29%) anticipate an uptick in same-day shipping.

• Only 3% of retailers expect to see more delivery via drones in 2016.

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