What Food and Bev Brands Need to Know About Retail Fulfillment

Allison Champion
3 min read
March 26, 2024

Landing a product on the shelves of a major retailer is the dream for many food and beverage brands—often a sign of impending success. For many brands, retail sales mean you’ve “made it.”

But as retail sales volume grows, so do the number of partners involved – including retail and grocery distribution centers locally and nationwide. This leads to challenges connecting your logistics and fulfillment partners, in real-time, with the right information and formatting flowing back and forth. 

When mistakes are made in retail fulfillment, the consequence is chargebacks – monetary non-compliance penalties, which can significantly impact your bottom line. 

A lot must happen before you scale your business from an e-commerce outfit to the shelves of a brick-and-mortar store, as we explain in this webinar with New Hope Network. 

Expanding Fulfillment Capabilities for Retail

While great for your profits, retail partnerships are also complex. Each retailer has its own unique requirements, which can be difficult, not to mention costly, for brands to manage. 

Target, for instance, has varying sets of standards for inventory that is fulfilled to one of their numerous distribution centers. The procedures and specifications for sending inventory to Target are very different from fulfilling product directly to consumers. You could face a significant non-compliance chargeback penalty if your brand makes a mistake.

So, food and beverage brands (and their fulfillment partners) must have the operational capabilities and fulfillment technologies to scale into retail and other channels.

Attaching manual labels on products might seem doable the first few times. But, as you scale into more sophisticated partners, you must manage this process across multiple channels to meet compliance standards. This comes down to a partner with deep experience in retail compliance and managing retail orders at the operational level.

Many larger retailers require Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which reduces human error by standardizing specifically formatted product information, such as purchase orders or invoices, to exchange with suppliers. This can increase automation and minimize disruption in retail fulfillment. 

EDI integration allows partners to save time and money with a faster, more efficient business process than fax, email, or paper documents can provide. An EDI solution can also boost capacity planning and facilitate e-commerce growth. This means a lot is riding on proper EDI setup and implementation, which leads many brands to look for a partner that can help.

However, it’s essential to understand how your fulfillment partner handles this capability. Do they outsource it? If so, which EDI partners do they work with? If your partner outsources various complex projects simultaneously, it could lead to massive delays that cause your brand to miss out on a whole season or push back a retail project by an entire year. 

Retail Fulfillment with Flowspace

If your inventory is being sold on store shelves, Flowspace’s B2B fulfillment can keep them
stocked. The Flowspace platform’s global inventory planning allows you to maintain a
multichannel view while also keeping your retail partner happy.

If you’re fulfilling orders directly to the customer via digital retail channels, Flowspace ensures the customer experience is seamless between the order, which takes place via the retailer’s ecommerce channels, and fulfillment through Flowspace.

The Flowspace EDI Advantage: Avoiding Chargeback Penalties

Flowspace’s EDI capabilities ensure retail compliance, reduced chargebacks, and on-time replenishment. Integrations with SPSCommerce, TrueCommerce, CommerceHub, Logicbroker, and more ensure that food and beverage brands can share accurate, adequately formatted data and information.

Flowspace provides fulfillment centers with the data, tools, and guidance to ensure Routing Guide EDI compliance for every retail transaction.

And if a non-compliance chargeback penalty does occur, Flowspace quickly investigates and resolves the issue to decrease or eliminate retailer-issued non-compliance fees.

Ready for Retail? Fulfill with Flowspace

The transition to retail is a significant leap for any food and beverage brand. It demands not just a vision, but a solid, experienced partner who can provide the expertise and capabilities to support your retail scale.

EDI is the backbone that streamlines communication between businesses and retailers, and Flowspace is the partner that will keep your operations in alignment. With our cutting-edge technology and robust EDI integrations, we offer a seamless fulfillment experience designed to align with your brand’s ambitious retail goals. 

Flowspace ensures that your products move smoothly from warehouse to retail, minimizing hiccups and maximizing satisfaction across the board.

Find out how to get started now.

Written By:

flowspace author Allison Champion

Allison Champion

Allison Champion leads marketing communication at Flowspace, where she works to develop content that addresses the unique challenges facing modern brands in omnichannel eCommerce. She has more than a decade of experience in content development and marketing.

Table of Contents