Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Consumer Behavior
Today’s shopping experience is nearly unrecognizable to that of just twenty years ago. In the past two decades, consumers have shifted where, when, why and how they shop. Gone are the days of shopping exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping today no longer requires you to leave your house, or even your couch, with nearly 8 out of 10 Americans reporting regularly shopping online or from their mobile device.
To keep up with this new dynamic, both retailers and suppliers have been forced to shift the way they do things, specifically in terms of providing faster delivery speeds and offering a premium experience. Amazon is a perfect example of a company that quickly adapted and is winning as a result. By offering free two day shipping in the US, and a variety of other perks via its Prime service, consumers experience an even more convenient, inexpensive and hassle-free online and mobile shopping experience – and it’s working with 80 million Prime subscribers in the U.S.
Subscription boxes, such as Birchbox and Blue Apron, have also played a significant role in this shift by providing an ultra-personalized, curated box delivered right to the consumers’ door, making a premium, customized experience formerly reserved for only the most luxurious brands accessible to the masses.
Aside from the improvements to delivery speed and experience, the market changes have also forced brands to reconsider security and privacy concerns. With more and more transactions being handled via the Internet, consumers are sharing more data with retailers than ever before, making many of them question just how much information they are willing to provide. This wariness of consumers to share their data varies, unsurprisingly, from generation to generation. But with recent data breaches at major retailers like Target and Home Depot, security is top of mind for consumers of all ages, forcing those in the logistics and manufacturing industries to invest in tools that will help to deliver the necessary security, without sacrificing experience.
The other side of consumer behavior is the growing sense of social and ethical conscience. While consumers want things to be cheap and reliable, they don’t want them made in bulk in a factory halfway around the world. We call this “The Consumer-Industrial Paradox”, which is causing many consumers to reject big companies and instead support local, smaller producers. Consumers want things to be cheap and reliable, but want to buy locally and sustainably. Even when products are mass produced, there is a greater demand for customizations, engraving, different colors, accessories and even individualized software. For those in the logistics and manufacturing fields, these changes will require a different method of production – a hybrid of mass production and last-minute postponement manufacturing, kitting and software flashing – putting more of the burden on the fulfillment operation instead of production and causing the lines between manufacturing and logistics to blur.
Consumer behaviors are constantly shifting, forcing those of us in the logistics and manufacturing industries to innovate faster than their preferences can change – no small feat. At ModusLink, we’re developing solutions to help these industries stay on the cutting edge, ensuring you are not only able to deliver the best experience possible, but also the most secure. For more information on our variety of offerings, check out our solutions page.
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