[WHITE PAPER] Retail disruption and K-shaped recovery highlight importance of freight data

Tony MulveyWhite Papers

The pandemic has sent the retail industry on a  K-shaped trajectory — the final straw that has sent many retail chains into bankruptcy while also contributing to a surge in sales for many of the leading chains. The difference has been not only offering products that customers are seeking, but also the impact of scale and supply chain sophistication that many smaller chains could not match.  

Supply chain sophistication promises to become even more important going forward as Amazon has raised consumers’ expectations for service that should be both immediate and free at the same time. Meanwhile, national-branded consumer goods companies gained share from private labels during the pandemic and many are launching direct-to-consumer and subscription services looking to reduce their reliance on retail and reach their most loyal customers. 

Those challenges and others have put pressure on retailers to build omnichannel offerings that “meet customers where they are.” That has also increased the pressure on retailers to keep other freight and logistics costs low with more capital and expense being dedicated to the development of new omnichannel strategies. 

In this report, we discuss several use cases for retailers to utilize the FreightWaves SONAR platform to increase efficiency throughout their supply chains. 

Those use cases include: 

  1. Monitoring import volume, global trade and port activity. 
  2. Evaluating freight flows for private fleet conversion. 
  3. Evaluating truckload to intermodal conversion. 
  4. Deciding on the timing of freight bids.
  5. Using SONAR data in contract negotiations with carriers and 3PLs. 


In addition, we discuss what the financial impact can be on a large retailer that is able to reduce freight spend. We estimate that retailers with average margins and an average relative freight spend could save $225 for every $1 million in retail revenue by improving freight efficiencies by 1%. That scales nicely when put in the context of multibillion dollar retail chains as we illustrate in this report.   


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