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Ecommerce Peak Season 2023: Insights from 1,254 Leading Companies

Originally published on December 18, 2023 by Erhan Musaoglu, Updated on May 6, 2024

The fulfillment landscape went through major changes during ecommerce peak season 2023. Knowing how your high-volume fulfillment operations did during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is key for staying competitive. With the right insights, you can evolve and better meet future ecommerce demand.

Logiwa’s “2023 Peak Season Analysis” covers the KPIs and warehousing trends that emerged during this latest peak season. In this blog, we’ll delve into those key takeaways and offer valuable insights for retailers, 3PLs, and distributors. Let’s explore the highs and lows, challenges, and strategies that defined ecommerce peak season 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • The 2023 peak season saw a significant increase in order volumes, with a notable shift towards smaller and more diverse orders.
  • Successful businesses during the peak season optimized warehouse efficiency, lead times, and fulfillment success rates using modern Cloud technology and automation.
  • Shipping preferences shifted towards multiple platforms and aggregators, while effective inventory preparation prevented overstocking during demand surges.
  • Top fulfillment operations succeeded through adaptive strategies, tech investments (AI, robotics), diverse shipping, smart inventory management, and dependable WMS.
  • To assess success, monitor essential KPIs like lead time, uptime, fulfillment success rate, and returns.

Evaluating Peak Season 2023

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) data provides invaluable insights into emerging trends and operational challenges for the industry. The same goes for your own operational data. For example, you can work out bottlenecks to help your fulfillment operations be better equipped to market demands.

This year for peak season we looked at data from November 23 through November 29. Logiwa gathered actionable insights to help you optimize your fulfillment strategies, customer satisfaction, and bottom line.

Key Trends During Peak Season for the Logistics Industry

Logiwa’s report examined online sales, logistics technology, and warehousing insights from Black Friday through Cyber Week. By comparing this year’s peak season result to the previous year, we can learn what may be in store in the long term.

Increased Order Volume and Diversified Orders

A notable trend was the dramatic increase in order volumes year over year. For Logiwa users alone, there were 111% more average daily order lines vs. non-peak times. The notable increase in international orders reflects a global expansion across ecommerce platforms.

Businesses needed to adapt logistics technology and fulfillment strategies to handle high-volume demands at maximum efficiency. That means reducing human errors and addressing rising costs in smart ways.

Moreover, consumer behavior shifted towards diverse and frequent purchases, with fewer units per order. This trend suggests the need for a broader range of products. It also indicates the need to adapt fulfillment strategies to handle a large number of smaller, diverse orders.

Higher Operational Efficiency

Online businesses had to adapt quickly to meet the increased demand. Businesses that succeeded did so by optimizing their fulfillment operations and supply chain management.

The 2023 peak season demonstrated significant improvements in efficiency. Average shipment lead times improved, indicating enhanced system efficiency in high-demand scenarios. Those that embraced AI and cloud-based Fulfillment Management Systems (FMS) were able to streamline operations and reduce costs.

Diverse Carrier Use and Increased Stockpiling

A shift in shipping preferences occurred in the 2023 peak season. Specifically, use of native carriers decreased while the use of multiple shipping platforms increased. Use of price aggregators also increased. This indicates a market leaning towards more flexible, cost-effective, and integrated shipping solutions.

Average inventory levels during the peak season revealed effective forecasting. Inventory preparation strategies, including increasing safety stock, helped operations meet surges in consumer demand without overstocking.

Lessons Learned: Winning Warehouse Strategies for Future Peak Seasons

Top fulfillment operations succeeded during peak season in several key ways:

Adaptive Fulfillment Strategies

To meet increased order volumes and changing consumer needs, operations turned to adaptive fulfillment strategies. Smart picking and robotics strategies were among the most impactful strategies used to maintain accurate, on-time deliveries. By embracing logistics technology trends, businesses were able to combat labor challenges and meet high-volume demand head-on.

Investment in Technology

The success seen in operational efficiencies emphasizes the importance of investing in AI automation, cloud-based systems, and robotics for scalable, efficient fulfillment operations. These technologies tackled a larger volume of tasks and orders with ease. As a result, operations ensured timely fulfillment and maintained customer satisfaction.

Expanded Shipping Options

Embracing a variety of shipping platforms and price aggregators can offer more cost-effective and customer-centric shipping solutions. With leading features like rate shopping, businesses were able to offer more options to customers while reducing transportation costs. Streamlined integration technology allowed businesses to establish new connections as needed.

Strategic Inventory Management

Structuring inventory planning for diverse orders made a difference for many operations this peak season. Using features like directed putaway also improved fulfillment results. Organizing items based on buyer behavior or product traits improved the efficiency of picking and packing.

Logiwa found that more operations engaged in cautious inventory preparation. Forecasting and  strategic stockpiling allowed operations to prioritize product availability.

Reliable Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

The pursuit of exceptional performance and reliability led businesses to embrace modern WMS solutions. Seamless, real-time data exchanges and steady order processing was a top priority for operations. This led many to depend on highly integrated platforms like Logiwa WMS, which maintained 100% uptime.

The ecommerce peak season of 2023 brought both challenges and opportunities for warehouse and fulfillment logistics operations. Increased order volume and shifting consumer behavior posed challenges, but strategic planning and technological upgrades drove industry success.

Measuring Peak Season Performance and Supply Chain Optimization

Did returns become a problem for you during this peak season? Were your lead times consistent across your fulfillment centers? Knowing those answers will help with benchmarking and see where you stand in the industry.  

Consider examining:

  • Uptime
  • Lead time
  • Fulfillment Success Rate
  • Return rates

How Logiwa Users Did During Peak Season 2023

Logiwa’s Fulfillment Management System (FMS) helped our customers surpass their goals this peak season. Our Cloud-native solution processed more orders than any other year and shipped 52% or more of orders within 15 hours. 

This was possible through our robust integrations, high-efficiency API connections, and webhooks. And with the addition of smart warehouse automation technology, Logiwa users experienced:

  • 34% improvement in lead time in 2023 compared to 2022
  • 43% increase in order lines in peak season 2023 vs. 2022
  • 29% increase in order lines during Black Friday and a 47% increase during Cyber Monday

Ready to achieve peak performance during your next ecommerce season? Experience the power of Logiwa’s Fulfillment Management System (FMS) and unlock your fulfillment potential today.

FAQs Related to Peak Season

How has consumer behavior changed during the peak season of 2023?

People are purchasing a wider range of items more frequently. However, they are buying smaller quantities of each item. This indicates that people enjoy having a diverse selection of items when they shop. Compared to Covid-19 pandemic trends when buyers were buying the same items in bulk, consumers are embracing item diversity.

What technological advancements contributed to operational efficiency?

The integration of AI automation, cloud-based systems, and robotics significantly improved operational efficiency and order processing times. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) played also helped enhance operational efficiency. It enabled real-time visibility and control over warehouse and fulfillment processes.

How have shipping preferences shifted during peak season for fulfillment operations?

Operations are embracing data driven decisions. Native carrier usage has decreased while adoption of shipping platforms has increased. This indicates operations prefer more flexible and cost-effective shipping solutions.

What is the importance of inventory management during peak seasons?

Strategic inventory management ensures product availability to meet surging demand while avoiding overstocking, which is crucial for operational success during peak seasons. 

To access more insights on Fulfillment Management Systems (FMS) visit Logiwa.

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