The Postal Service and other shippers are poised to capitalize on major increases in online holiday shopping, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 22.
USPS expects to deliver 600 million packages during the holidays, an increase of 10.5 percent, while UPS and FedEx project increases in the 10-12 percent range.
To keep holiday shipments moving, retailers are employing new methods of inventory management, the Journal reported.
For example, instead of stocking 50 sweaters at each store, some retailers will keep 10 on hand, leaving the rest at a centralized distribution center that also fills online orders. When that store runs out, it will order 10 more for “just-in-time” restocking.
Because retailers are sitting on smaller inventories, freight shipping rates have dropped, the Journal reported.
Retailers are currently working toward “full visibility” of every item in stock, in stores and at distribution centers, industry analyst Steve Osburn told the Journal.
“[U]ltimately the long-term play is if you get better use of inventory, you don’t have to carry as much inventory,” he said.