Guest Column | November 27, 2019

Guaranteed On-Time Delivery Is Making The Season Bright For Retailers

By Arnold Engel, Tundra

Delivery Driver

Tundra eases retailers’ holiday stress with its delivery guarantee.

Placing a wholesale order for seasonal inventory can admittedly feel like a gamble. Buyers have to use their best judgement based on sales forecasts and customer insights to predict what to buy and how much. No one is ever completely sure when orders will arrive as most suppliers will quote a fairly large delivery window. There’s a chance that shipments could be delayed which means more markdowns that have to be taken. According to one study, U.S. retailers lost an estimated $300 billion or 12 percent of sales to markdowns in 2019. One mitigation tactic could be to place orders months ahead of time, but then retailers will have to factor in inventory holding costs which can be another 20 to 30 percent of your inventory value.

In other cases, a store may be in a situation where they’re out of stock before the peak of the holiday season. In this day and age when digitally-native consumers are able to get what they want with next-day shipping, being out of a seasonally relevant product means a missed sale. Retailers are left wondering if they should take a risk on that replenishment order arriving on time to avoid losing potential sales.

Delivery Dates Have Routinely Been Hard To Nail Down

There’s a clear industrywide need for more robust delivery dates to reduce the stress around seasonal planning. However, the root causes behind the uncertainty are not trivial by any means. Here are some of the challenges:

  • Variability in supplier performance. Retailers source from many different suppliers with varied levels of reliability. Buyers may not have access to information to determine if a supplier has a track record of on-time delivery, especially if it’s a new relationship.
  • Lack of transparency into logistics providers. Suppliers tend to work directly with their preferred logistics partners. Retailers are dependent on each supplier to provide updated tracking information and keep them informed of any changes.
  • Reliance on overseas shipments. Ordering products from overseas suppliers introduces additional unknowns like factoring in international transit and customs processing time.
  • Low prioritization for independent retailers. For a product that is in high demand, small independent retailers are likely to be prioritized last as far as receiving on-time delivery. Independent retailers don’t have the bargaining power or economies of scale that larger chains do.
  • Complexity of managing multiple platforms. Retailers have multiple suppliers and shipments to monitor and each may use a different platform or tracking system, adding to the complexity.

The wholesale industry has accordingly had to come to live with the uncertainty of delivery windows. But to meet rising consumer expectations, why should retailers just settle for a status quo that negatively impacts their bottom line?

Guaranteed On-Time Delivery On Tundra

At Tundra, we are reimagining the modern wholesale marketplace and that means not settling for “good enough”. From day one, we’ve been firmly committed to serving the best interests of the independent retail community. We started with a no-commission business model that puts more money back in the pocket of suppliers and allows retailers to get the best pricing. Our Gold badge recognizes over 500 brands on Tundra with guaranteed best prices and lowest minimums compared to any other online platform. And this holiday season we launched our Gold+ Badge for brands that provide guaranteed on-time delivery on Tundra — we guarantee it will arrive on time, or it’s on us. Retailers can now say goodbye to unnecessary stress, markdowns or lost sales due to slipping delivery dates.

This program is the first of its kind offered by an online wholesale platform. We were able to systematically address the challenges posed above because of the unique infrastructure we’ve built on Tundra’s platform. Our supplier metrics provide a clear track record for reliability. Our powerful logistics software and algorithms help us ensure we can accurately calculate and predict deliverability. A majority of our suppliers are based in the United States and Canada and have lead times of seven days or less. Our marketplace model includes community reviews and ratings, giving independent retailers a collective voice so every Tundra order is prioritized just as if it were coming from a top account.

The Gold+ Badge is a guarantee that creates a perfect partnership: it helps retailers buy with confidence as they know their orders will arrive on-time, and it allows suppliers to maximize their seasonal product sales. This guarantee also dovetails with our mission to create more value within the wholesale ecosystem — starting with this holiday season and continuing through the rest of the year.

About The Author

Arnold Engel is the CEO and cofounder of, the wholesale marketplace that allows independent businesses to freely transact, scale and thrive. Arnold and his wife and cofounder Katie started Tundra to address the structural inefficiencies built into the traditional wholesale buying processes. Today, tens of thousands of businesses transact freely on and save themselves time and money. Prior to Tundra, Arnold ran a global supply chain company that bought, sold and shipped products worldwide. He lives in San Francisco.