Adventures in Food Supply Chain Fulfillment

How will consumers buy your food product in the near future? Some companies are experimenting with new ways to fulfill the food supply chain, and it’s tracking to some degree with how people are buying everything else.

This includes experimentation with specialized, limited-edition online sales channels and a new kind of brick-and-mortar grocery shopping that is bent on getting rid of lines at the cash register.

In both cases, the story seems to be about disrupting existing sales channels and creating new kinds of fulfillment. Mondelez International Inc’s holiday eCommerce offering is about creating demand based on scarcity, using a dedicated eCommerce channel for customers to buy something they can’t buy anywhere else. Amazon’s POS-less grocery experiment is about combining the tech-giant’s supply chain and advanced technology to give customers a hassle-free in-store shopping alternative to online order fulfillment.

Im-POS-sible Food Supply Chain Outlet

Let’s look at Amazon Go, first. The company that seems to have single-handedly changed the game in online eCommerce, is now poised to rewrite the books on grocery shopping.

Amazon’s 1,800-square-foot pilot convenience store in downtown Seattle combines technology used in self-driving cars with smartphone apps that allow customers to enter, grab food items and leave without having to queue up at a cash register.

The US grocery retail business is currently dominated by Wal-Mart, which itself has bumped up its eCommerce game to insulate itself from Amazon’s competitiveness. But, as Business Insider observed, the queue-less brick-and-mortar grocery shopping option will embed Amazon deeper in the minds of consumers by providing a seamless physical shopping experience.

The Limited-Time Offer

Mondelez International, which owns popular confectionary brands, is experimenting with a specialized eCommerce channel for limited edition tins of Oreos that are unavailable through other channels. The holiday website sells Oreo tins for $19.99, lets customers send cookies to friends, using only a mobile number or e-mail address.

Mondelez had a holiday website in the US in 2015 but outsourced the logistics, cutting down on profit margins. This year, Mondelez will handle logistics to increase margins. Mondelez believes it can increase sales significantly with limited-time, exclusive seasonal offerings.

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