What 2020 has taught us16 Dec
2020 has been an unforgettable year for everyone, not least in business. Unprecedented circumstances have included a global pandemic and Brexit, as well as a recession.
However, hidden behind each of these challenges there has been a golden opportunity to learn and improve.
As a fulfilment service based near London, with operations in Hampshire and Berkshire, we work with hundreds of SMEs from the worlds of fashion, food, beauty, wellbeing, pet care, automotive, and many more. All retailers have had to adapt quickly, as have we.
“Smooth seas don’t make skilful sailors,” as the African Proverb goes. The wild voyage that has been 2020 has deepened and broadened our knowledge, expertise, and wisdom in ways we’ve never seen before – even after over 50 years in the fulfilment industry.
Here are 3 lessons we’ll take away from this year…
We think they’ll hold universal resonance – and carry great value - for all business owners out there.
You grow through what you go through
New situations are a springboard out of our comfort zone. They can switch things up a gear and move us forward. Many businesses experienced a sudden abundance of sales opportunities in 2020. They’ve had to ‘grow up’ fast to capitalise on this chance for big league success.
For example, those that sell products that became more popular during lockdown, or where market trends that have been on an upward trajectory for some time found accelerated momentum. The beauty industry is just one of these.
To accommodate demand, Fullers Logistics has expanded our sites with another 40,000ft fulfilment warehouse, our fourth facility.
Those who had might have had a tougher year not only built resilience, they diversified in exciting ways. Our client Simply Ingredients found a new niche in home baking supplies when their usual bakery customers were forced to close for a while.
Change is good
In recent years, the way people shop has changed dramatically. There has been a boom in eCommerce because of the stratospheric rise in smartphone and tablet usage.
When most of us were physically unable to shop in many stores this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, eCommerce went from popularity to necessity.
By the middle of the year, Retail Times reported that, despite the reopening of physical stores across England, online retail sales increased by a staggering 71% year on year, which is the highest growth ever recorded for this group.
Sometimes it takes a change to be thrust upon us for us to truly shine – and that was the case for many bricks and mortar shops that had been limiting their customer base to whoever happened to walk past the shop window…
But when their doors were forced to close, they had to think and act fast and get their products online. This switch to eCommerce meant they could trade to anyone in the world, 24/7. We’ve been working with loads of exciting brands that have moved to or improved their online store this year, helping them to fulfil an increased number of orders.
Many of these retail businesses have been cultivating virtual customer communities via Instagram and other social media channels, gathering insights that are helping them roll out products more strategically in 2020. The pandemic has given them the impetus to jump headfirst into all the benefits of online trading, when they might not have done so otherwise.
People matter most
In a year of such tragic loss, we need no reminding that it’s our families and communities that mean more than anything. We’ve got to look out for each other.
Here at Fullers, we’ve made all our warehouses and offices COVID-safe so that our staff can continue to provide the high-quality fulfilment services we’re in demand for without compromising their health or wellbeing. All stock and returns are handled within the strictest safety parameters.
Supporting our clients as they navigate the steep learning curves presented to them by this ‘new world’ they’re selling has also been paramount to us. Our client communities initiative is just one of the ways we’ve reached out to our customers old and new.
If a client needs help in a particular area of their business that’s not fulfilment – sales, marketing, or operations for example – we have played matchmaker and put them in touch with another one of our customers from whom they can learn how to improve.
We’re all in this together so let’s continue to help each other.
Onward we go to 2021, taking all this valuable knowledge with us…
Some might be quick to write 2020 off as a year of doom, gloom, and negativity. No, it hasn’t always been easy, but these lessons are some of the silver linings and they will stand us in good stead for whatever next year brings our way.
Fullers is an end-to-end multichannel fulfilment and distribution service located 5 minutes from M4, 25 miles from London. To talk to us about your fulfilment and distribution requirements for 2021, call us today on 01753 367379 or fill out our contact form.