The last two years have directly affected how businesses work today. With offline movement restricted, brands are turning online to give consumers world-class offerings, leading to a huge spike in e-commerce businesses. Sources from the India Brand Equity Foundation predict that e-commerce is set to grow by 21.5% in the next few years. Unfortunately, with logistical disruptions, longer delivery times have become a norm, and customers don’t like to wait for their products. The longer they wait, the more likely they are to demand discounts and freebies. If you are a business that is looking to fulfill orders and keep customers satisfied with shipping times, here are a few things you need to know to run a successful e-commerce logistics operation.
What Are E-Commerce Logistics?
E-commerce logistics refers to the processes involved in storing and delivering products, from the time they are ordered to the time they are delivered to a customer’s doorstep. It also refers to the systematic management of ordering, fluffing, and inventory management processes. Digital fulfillment is one of the most important aspects in current logistics, and many companies are trying to integrate digital systems into their processes to streamline efficiency.
What are the parts in the Logistics Process?
Looking back to 30 or 40 years ago, the logistics process was quite simple. But with new technologies, fierce competitors and global trade of products, the supply chain has evolved drastically to provide a new experience to customers, where they can expect speedy deliveries and undamaged products at a click of a button. For businesses to get it right from the start here are five factors involved in efficient logistics management:
3PL & 4PL
3PL & 4PL Suppliers are reliable logistic partners who help e-commerce businesses with a variety of processes like fulfillment centers, and warehouses to store products. Integrated logistic partners are excellent options for today’s e-commerce businesses, as they are a one-stop-shop for all supply chain logistical purposes. At Floship we offer our customers services like shipping, warehousing, fulfillment and digitally integrated management platforms to fulfill a business’s e-commerce logistical needs. A 3PL (third-party logistics) partner manages the complete process of fulfillment, from warehousing to shipping. A 4PL (fourth-party logistics) partner coordinates with a 3PL partner on behalf of the customer.
Fulfillment centers are the warehouses in which the products are stored and ready to ship. They hold a business’s inventory and are an important part of the logistics supply chain. They ensure that each product is categorized and organized so that the customer receives the right orders, delivered as efficiently as possible. It is important to pick a logistics partner who can advise you correctly on warehouse locations to suit your business. Location matters because it influences shipping cost- the closer to the client, the lower the cost. Warehouse preferences are based on target markets and routes. For example, in the US one can choose from 3 locations (west coast, east coast or central). The UK or EU has rigid import requirements, regulations, and tax and paperwork, which can be avoided by shipping to Lithuania by the ocean, then trucked to the rest of the UK and EU. China is a manufacturing hub and cost-effective for southeast Asia shipments, Hong Kong being tax-free, saves a lot when it comes to high volume goods. For alternatives other than China, other SE Asian countries are also gaining popularity.
Floship has warehouses & distribution hubs globally and we are able to advise businesses where they should place their items based on their client location, to optimize costs and delivery times.
Intelligent Logistics Management
The third part of the supply chain is distribution. Since e-commerce companies have global supply chains, they need several distribution methods that fulfill the orders efficiently. A key aspect for businesses in this process is to manage inventory in a timely and efficient manner. With Floship’s industry leading tech platform, clients can oversee multiple warehouses and distribution centers with one platform. With features like automation rules, our platform can help automate the supply chain and help clients to continue expanding their market globally without needing to keep their eyes on logistics 24/7.
Sorting facilities ensure that each product is individually sorted for each customer and ensures that the customer is getting the correct order. At Floship, we are also able to help optimize the packaging to save even more money for our clients.
The logistics and shipping industry is highly dependent on external factors like government policies, weather, taxes, and socio-economic factors like the political stability in a certain country. This is why it is important for 3PL and 4PL partners to offer flexible solutions to their clients when it comes to placing orders, order fulfilment, and shipping options. For example, if there is an issue with the manufacturing process, then the logistics partner can waive the shipping fees or provide shipping insurance to the client so that the order fulfillment process goes smoothly.
Customized Packing at Warehouse Locations
Sometimes, depending on the size and type of product, the order placement, storage, and packing process need to be adapted. This is known as customized picking and packing. This means the product can be packed according to certain specifications and alternator shipping methods can be used to get it to the customer. For example, if there is a sale of buy 2 and get 2 free, the warehouse workers might put all four items into one box to reduce the weight and size of the shipment. This could also mean that the 3PL or 4PL partner can find the quickest way to ship the product to the customer to get it to him on time, improving the customer experience.
The carrier or the vessel can refer to the ship or mode of travel through which the products will be shipped. It can be through air, land or sea, and it depends on how quickly the carrier can get the customer’s order. Here, the carrier option depends on which carrier has the lowest rate and fastest shipping time. It can also depend on which carrier is closest to the warehouse and which type of carrier has the best connections to where the customer resides, as well as how much time it can be shipped to the customer and fulfill the order on time. The 3PL partner should offer domestic carrier options, as well as international carrier options, along with the rates so that the customer can get his product on time.
A good logistics platform has the requisite technology to be able to handle large orders from multiple customers. Not only does the 3PL or 4PL partner need to know about the delivery time and shipping time, but they need to have that information as quickly as possible integrated into one platform for the successful delivery of orders. Floship has smart platform integrations with e-commerce sites like Amazon and Shopify so that when a customer places an order through any of these platforms, it is possible to check up on how the order fulfilment process is going and inform the customer in case of any delays so that they are not wondering whether the order will come or not.
Account Manager & Customers Support
Studies show that 80% of customers feel more connected to a brand when customer service support solves their queries and they have a personal interaction with the brand. At Floship, each client has an account manager who are proactive in their approach to solving customer queries and providing suggestions about the best ways to ship goods which will monetarily benefit the client. They also function as an extra pair of eyes and ears to the latest industry news and trends. In fact, some of Floship’s clients in the USA rely on the Account Manager in Hong Ko0ng to tell them about certain impacts that shipping their products to Asia may have and how they can find solutions for it.
How to find the Right Logistics Company
Faster shipping options and more products are the obvious choice when trying to find an e-commerce partner. However, other factors include:
- The ability to store inventory successfully in an organized manner
- The presence of their own fulfillment centers
- Robust technology that helps in the logistics process from order to fulfillment to delivery
- Ability to provide discounts and reductions on shipping costs
- Ability to offer quicker shipping options
- Ability to provide a good price for shipping goods domestically and internationally
- A reputed partner who has had a good experience in the shipping industry having good delivery times
- The ability of the logistics partner to negotiate a good price for shipping needs, as well as flexibility on quotations
- Access to warehouse locations that are convenient and easy to ship from with multiple connections to seaports, airports, and highways.
- A logistics provider who is flexible and can provide alternative solutions to you when you face an issue during the order fulflment process
To excel in the e-commerce industry, you need to be vigilant about what the requirements of the customer are and have the ability to fulfill them as soon as possible. Having a reliable logistics partner is key for this goal. A good E-Commerce provider offers a range of services like warehouse location suggestions, and management, shipping options, flexibility in providing solutions, as well as packaging alternatives like customized picking and packing. A good 3PL partner is also a team player with constant client coordination and account management. It has the requisite resources to ensure that the order fulfilment process is not delayed so that it can predict issues and circumvent them before it reaches a stage where the client is unhappy. With a full-service partner like Floship, and its tech platform, your e-commerce fulfillments become much easier and you can expect speedy, timely deliveries no matter where in the world you are.
Ready To Upgrade Your Logistic Solution?
Speak to Floship ecommerce logistic consultant about improving your global support chain today