Mitigating retail seasonality with EDI retail technology

by | Jul 25, 2019

Order slumps and spikes are a nearly unavoidable seasonal byproduct if you operate a business within the retail industry. Retail seasonality consists of everything from shifts in industry/production practices, to weather patterns, holiday shopping periods, and more. It can also occur in any time interval, so how it affects your supply chain can be different for every type of business.

From a retail IT perspective, these seasonally-driven volume spikes can put your technical support team under a stress test, and potentially negatively impact your customer’s experience and your company’s brand perception.

While companies often pay lip service to the significance of system integration, and automation as a necessity in retail, many are missing out on the growth opportunities that these things can solve that exist within their supply chain. Here are some ways you can reduce the stress that seasonality places on your technology infrastructure:

Organize your staff and systems for success

Retail supply chain and retail information technology teams should consider making some strategic changes and enhancements to their information, process, and system integrations by incorporating effective, long-term strategies rather than dealing with seasonality challenges as they occur.

Existing legacy systems often struggle to manage spikes in order volume, especially during peak holiday shopping periods. If your existing technology and teams are not adequately synched and prepared to spot when and why they happen, or you lack the right retail technology to help you scale during these fluctuations, you could be neglecting opportunities to mitigate or leverage their effects.

Incorporating Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is one way to gain better control of these seasonal spikes that disrupt your information chain.

Eliminate production issues related to retail seasonality with the right technology

During top shopping seasons when documents are being sent back and forth tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times per day, opportunities for errors are everywhere. The right EDI solution with automation features in place can speed up the entire operation. Everything communicates quickly and easily — you enter in data once, and each system has direct access to that data for its particular use.

Not only does EDI eliminate error-prone barriers for accomplishing tasks, completing manual processes, and fulfilling orders, it also helps to eradicate cross-departmental silos.

A better way exists that seamlessly integrates legacy systems

Retailers and suppliers alike have the same goals in mind: accurate transactions, efficiency, and fewer costly mistakes. An example of this is automating the EDI 855 Purchase Order Acknowledgement (POA) and EDI 856 Advanced Ship Notice (ASN), which can help you accomplish these goals, especially during high volume periods.

POAs enable suppliers to confirm products, quantities, and prices before the first case is shipped. ASNs allow retailers to know with certainty when the orders are shipped, what quantities are included, and when they’ll arrive, allowing for better forecasting.

Your business’s peak season is unique your retail technology should be too

How do you presently plan your year from a technology perspective? Do you see these seasonal surges and expected patterns at your organization? We can help your information technology team prepare for the blips that come with different shopping seasons.

By connecting our cloud-based solution to your existing business systems, you won’t have to worry about continually updating or fixing technology since our systems are purpose-built to run without disruption, even in times of double or even triple order spikes.

To learn more about our system integration and automation capabilities, check out our list of available integrations, or, request to speak with a retail and supply chain expert.

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Michele Kamenar

Brand Communications Content Strategist at SPS Commerce
Michele Kamenar is a brand communications strategist for the SPS Commerce marketing team. She is responsible for building and maintaining relationships that promote the SPS brand through messaging, creative storytelling and thought leadership content that highlights e-commerce strategies and topics related to retail supply chain optimization.
Michele Kamenar