Supply chains are back to more predictable fulfillment patterns as many retailers return to more traditional, leaner inventory practices. By reducing their stock on hand, retailers can bring down storage and handling costs, reducing the risk of having expired or obsolete products and improving their ability to forecast demand for the right product mix for their in-store customers. 

With inventory imbalances costing retailers $1.7 trillion in 2023, right-sizing inventory can be a boon to retail cost savings. But what retailers do risk is frustrated customers who can’t find what they want on store shelves. In 2021, a third of shoppers reported turning to other retailers when products were out of stock. 

With that in mind, wholesalers need to up their logistics game to accommodate on-demand deliveries in smaller-than-normal quantities. Crowdsourced delivery is an ideal solution. When retailers are ready to receive just a few cases of a product — but not a whole pallet — crowdsourcing offers delivery options that are a perfect fit.

Wholesalers help retailers achieve inventory success

Best Buy is one major retailer already seeing success by keeping its shelves and storerooms lean. In the second quarter of 2023, it reported that inventory at the end of Q2 was down 6% YOY and up approximately 16% from pre-pandemic levels. 

With such impressive results, it’s no wonder more retailers are leaning (pun intended) toward inventory reduction and right-sizing. Nike, Macy’s, Walmart, Kohl’s and others report higher profits amid inventory management efforts. Strong vendor partnerships play an important role in their results by allowing the companies to respond quickly to industry trends and inventory fluctuations.

This perspective puts wholesalers in an important role in the shopping cycle. Effectively responding to changing delivery expectations — like small product quantities ordered on demand — translates into store shelves stocked just right. This keeps shoppers happy and coming back to their favorite retailers, which will continue turning to their wholesale partners for quick product fulfillment when they need it.

Crowdsourcing solves the small-volume order puzzle

Implementing nimble crowdsourced delivery is the perfect way for wholesalers to adapt their retail distribution strategies to current needs. No pallet? No problem. Need it tomorrow? How does today sound? With crowdsourcing, a flexible, on-demand fleet is just the beginning of a long list of benefits for wholesalers:

Speed & agility: Crowdsourcing with Roadie gives wholesalers access to 200,000 independent drivers with vehicles ranging from Fiats to flatbeds. And no matter what you’re sending, deliveries within 100 miles usually arrive the same day or next day.

Reduced costs for low-volume shipments: Using the Roadie platform for on-demand deliveries comes without the unexpected accessorial fees traditional LTL carriers might apply for non-standard load sizes, certain freight classifications, non-commercial deliveries and other common circumstances. Additionally, crowdsourcing provides more direct delivery routes and gives you more control over when orders are delivered.

Minimized empty miles: With right-sized vehicles and optimization technology, crowdsourced delivery reduces the occurrence of empty miles. Each trip is maximized by matching nearby drivers to convenient routes so no one has to go out of their way with an empty truck.

Enhanced customer satisfaction: The responsiveness of crowdsourced delivery means shelves are stocked (but not overstocked) when customers come in to shop. Meeting these expectations enhances the wholesaler’s reputation and fosters long-term relationships.

Scalability for peak season: Roadie gives you the capabilities to scale up and down with your business needs and consumer demands. When product demand increases during peak season, simply use Roadie to get connected with independent drivers more frequently so you can fill additional orders for as long as you need.

Transparent technology: With easy-to-use dashboards, real-time order tracking and photographic delivery capabilities, the Roadie API is made for retailer-wholesaler relationship success. Both senders and recipients can keep an eye on exactly where their order is at any time. This means wholesalers can feel confident in their on-time delivery rating, while retailers can effectively plan to have staff on-site to unload trucks and stock shelves quickly. 

Add crowdsourcing to become a retailer’s dream partner

Retailers are embracing lean inventory management, which means wholesalers must too. Integrating crowdsourced delivery can be the transformative logistics solution your wholesale operation needs to maintain positive partnerships in a demanding retail environment. By leveraging the flexibility, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of crowdsourced delivery, wholesalers can meet small-order demands while reducing the costs associated with low-volume truck shipments and empty miles. 

Reach out to Roadie today to see how easy it is to add crowdsourced delivery to your logistics mix. Your retail partners will be glad you did!