Retail Supply Chains

Jeff Wells/Supply Chain Dive

Note from the editor

The supply chain has always been one of the engines of the retail industry. Without the flow of goods, store shelves lay bare. 

But today, the supply chain plays an even more important role for retail. Traditional logistics channels have given way to a bevy of omnichannel options, from store pickup to curbside delivery. Consumers seek more visibility into the origins, ethics and sustainability of the products they purchase. They witnessed stockouts and shipping delays as bottlenecks lengthened lead times.

Retail supply chains have transformed into a complex web of goods movement and technology, with more touchpoints to the consumer than ever before. 

The stories below highlight case studies and trends in retail supply chains. Read on for stories about RFID, Home Depot and Lowe's omnichannel work, and 6 charts showing the pandemic's effects on retail.

Shefali Kapadia Lead Editor

6 charts show how a pandemic upended retail supply chains

Consumers moved online and retailers pivoted to move inventory locked in brick-and-mortar locations.

• Published March 22, 2021

Retail's new fad? Charter ships to ensure sales, even if it's costly.

Container ship charter rates are at all-time highs, but companies are still pursuing charters because the alternative is worse.

• Published Sept. 22, 2021

Ship from store makes sense in a pandemic. Does it make sense long term?

Making the fulfillment method work requires physical changes to retail stores and a view of inventory down to the SKU level.

• Published Nov. 17, 2020

Home Depot, Lowe's build on supply chain foundations to make quick work of omnichannel

When the pandemic arrived around the same time as the home improvement retailers' busy spring season, they had to pivot to meet demand.

• Published March 29, 2021

RFID and sensor tech get cheaper, faster and more pervasive

Advancements in identification technology help retail supply chains track inventory and shrink. Are visioning robots the next evolution?

• Published Sept. 7, 2021

Retailers leverage open calls to add diversity, sustainability to supply chains

Faced with empty shelves over the past year, companies like Kroger, Lowe's and QVC are looking for new or more local suppliers that meet their needs.

• Published July 22, 2021

Bed Bath & Beyond revamps supply chain with a tech stack and 4 warehouses

Regional distribution centers are the first step in cutting down store replenishment time from a "noncompetitive" 35 days to under 10 days, the COO said.

• Published April 20, 2021

For Home Depot, tackling capacity crunch key in pandemic strategy

The need to charter its own ships is "just a reality of where we are in the industry," said Home Depot VP of Transportation Sarah Galica.

• Published Sept. 22, 2021

How the pandemic drove retailers to on-demand warehousing

Supply chains had a front-row seat to volatility over the last year, and a need for more flexible operations.

• Published April 12, 2021

Macy's plan to speed up its supply chain starts with inventory management

Integrating store and warehouse inventory will allow the retailer to increase delivery speed and inventory utilization, according to Dennis Mullahy, chief supply chain officer at Macy's.

• Published July 13, 2021

Case studies and trends in retail supply chains

Supply chains are more important than ever for retailers. Traditional logistics channels have given way to a bevy of omnichannel options, from store pickup to curbside delivery. Consumers seek more visibility into the origins, ethics and sustainability of the products they purchase.

included in this trendline
  • 6 charts show how a pandemic upended retail supply chains
  • Home Depot, Lowe's build on supply chain foundations to make quick work of omnichannel
  • Retail's new fad? Charter ships to ensure sales, even if it's costly