The Era Of Ecommerce Logistics (Guide)

Ecommerce is the best way to sell your products nowadays. Your customers will be able to shop at their own convenience, there is no time pressure like the closing time of a physical outlet, and they can do that all in the comfort of their own homes. As the ecommerce industry grows, the logistics of getting orders to customers has become more complicated. 

Now more than ever — at a time when people are choosing online over in-store, the communicated speed at which consumers receive their orders can play a deciding role in whether they choose to buy from your online store or a competitor’s. Further, International ecommerce is an undeniable growth opportunity. As the proliferation of digital tools increases and availability of the Internet is now worldwide, any company can sell online. 

Making international ecommerce easier than ever before for both pure play companies and brick and mortars. Now that China’s ecommerce market, the biggest in the world has almost double the US due to how the Internet has made cross-border communication instantaneous, taking orders is no problem. However, you will still have some hurdles to overcome if you want to establish your ecommerce business, and one of them is logistics.

The goal of logistics is to meet customer requirements in a timely and cost-effective manner. It all boils down to the two major functions of logistics,which are transportation and warehousing, though logistics management, can involve some or all of the following business functions, including:
  • Inbound transportation
  • Outbound transportation
  • Fleet management
  • Warehousing
  • Materials handling
  • Order fulfillment
  • Inventory management
  • Demand planning

When it comes to transportation, it is all about transportation management. The focus is mostly on planning and optimizing routes and shipment loads, executing the use of vehicles to move goods between warehouses, retail locations and customers. It also involves order management, freight auditing and payment.

Moveover, it can extend to yard and carrier management. Yard management oversees the movement of vehicles through the yards outside warehouses and distribution facilities. Carrier management on the other hand, is an important aspect, since the price availability and capacity of transportation carriers can vary widely. 

Not surprisingly, transportation management is a complex process.
In recent times, logistics, particularity ecommerce logistics, has gotten much more complicated due to rapid growth of international trade. The more complex your business grows, the more of an effort you must make to continue doing the things that got you your core customers — and continues to win new ones over. That is why, ecommerce companies typically use transportation management system (TMS) software to help meet the demands of transport-related logistics.

Worrying about issues in a warehouse? Thinking about how you could potentially delight your customer or sell more product?
In logistics, warehousing or warehouse management, includes such functions as inventory management and order fulfillment. It also involves managing warehouse infrastructure and processes. 

For example, in a fulfillment center, where orders for goods are received, processed and fulfilled, thus shipped to the customer, most companies use warehouse management system (WMS) software to manage the flow and storage of goods as well as track inventory.
Most vendors who offer enterprise resource planning (ERP) software also offer TMS and WMS modules, specialized components for inventory management and other logistics functions.

When it comes to logistics, Inventory management is exceptionally important and it's also frankly a science. Synchronizing your inventory, is always worth paying attention to. Including restocking items, and not having too much excess. How much buffer to have, and how much you want to have in stock, really varies based on your situation as a retailer. In most cases, it comes down to what you sell and where you find yourself financially.

There’s a lot of information about how to evaluate how much inventory to hold, but it boils down to a few variables:

How much does your inventory cost?
How much do you typically have on hand at any one time?
How predictable is your demand?
How do you replenish your inventory?

The simpler these variables are, the more feasible it is for you to manage your inventory. Conversely, the more complicated they are, the more difficult it will be. Is your inventory coming from China? If yes, then you have to have a one month or two month lead time. However, for a vendor that sits up the road, things could get simpler.

Warehouse Management System And Control

Although there is some overlap in functionality, warehouse management systems (WMS) can differ significantly from warehouse control systems (WCS). Simply put, a WMS plans a weekly activity forecast based on such factors as statistics and trends, whereas a WCS acts like a floor supervisor, working in real-time to get the job done by the most effective means. 

For instance, a WMS can tell the system that, it is going to need five of stock-keeping unit (SKU) A and five of SKU B hours in advance, but by the time it acts, other considerations may have come into play or there could be a logjam on a conveyor. A WCS can prevent that problem by working in real-time and adapting to the situation by making a last-minute decision based on current activity and operational status. 

Working synergistically, WMS and WCS can resolve these issues and maximize efficiency for companies that rely on the effective operation of their warehouse or distribution center. For these companies, ecommerce represents a new way of picking and shipping orders – often very different from the full case or full pallet orders they are used in handling. 

Many of these manufacturers address ecommerce by setting up small sub-sections of an existing distribution center to manage these orders.

Distribution Center vs. Fulfillment Center : 
What’s the Difference?
When setting up your ecommerce company, it can be a challenge to figure out whether you need a distribution center vs. fulfillment center. When your customer lives abroad. How will you get your products to them? The answer is one of 2 choices, fulfillment and distribution centers.


Why Fulfillment Centers?

Businesses often opt for fulfillment services because of how effective they are at providing business for customers living aboard. They are also the more popular choice as of today. What makes fulfillment order centers different are the services they provide. Many fulfillment services often finish up a product should it need finishing. An operating individual or company often takes charge of one.

They’re known as third-party logistics providers (3PL). They are responsible for customer engagement. Additionally, they are the ones who get the customers’ orders when they order a certain product. Providers use a process called the order fulfillment process. This makes sure the customers don’t need to wait too long to get their item.

Amazon, for example, have their own fulfillment program. Its popularity has helped it become more successful in later years as more people opted into buying products online.
Fulfillment services allow you to keep your products in their warehouses for a longer period of time. This means you can have your product in stock for a long time. 

This removes the need to worry about late shipments in future scenarios.Speaking of shipments, fulfillment services allow you to ship in bulk. This alone makes it a better choice if you ship items by batches of orders. This also helps you save up on shipping fees. Not only that, but they also lower the shipping fees that your customers have to pay. 

Sometimes, they don’t charge for a shipping fee at all. They can do this because they have many outlets available worldwide. Moreover,they place their physical locations in a strategic way, doing so makes sure they don’t need to travel far for a delivery.
In saying that, you have to be sure your customers buy your products if you want to avoid a hefty holding fee. 

Speaking of holding products, these services often have a large holding price. While the standard rates apply during the first month, you will get charged an increasing price for the next months your product remains in holding. So how can order fulfillment process be improved?

Steps To improve Your Ecommerce Order-Fulfillment Process
  1. Demand seamless integration;
  2. Enable end-to-end order visibility;
  3. Choose the right shipper;
  4. Enable exception-based order management;
  5. Be smart about your warehouse locations;
  6. Communicate with your customer.

What Is A Distribution Center?
Distribution centers are a more business-focused alternative. These don’t depend much on locations, unlike fulfillment order centers. Distribution centers give sellers more control over the treatment their products receive. Distribution centers also tend to treat the products as their own. They even go as far as make marketing campaigns for some of them. 

This lets you take your mind off of thinking of ways to sell your product. They often have top-quality staff. So, even if you and their other clients have a large order to take care of, there will be little chance that mix-ups and mishandlings occur. Also, distribution centers often improve the scalability of your business by having systems that allow accurate tracking of orders. This makes it so there will be no customers missing their orders.

Like their fulfillment counterparts, distribution centers handle everything from shipping to selling. However, what makes them different is that they don’t ship to retailers. Instead, they become the retailers themselves.This approach has them becoming popular to sellers who prefer that their products are better cared for.

So how can you manage effective product distribution from thousands of miles away? How does one keep up with the competition? 
Set-up global distribution of your products by working with distributors. Distributors with experience in shipping and importing have the fastest and easiest procedures when it comes to selling in the foreign markets.

These companies help in establishing your company overseas by exclusively handling the distribution of your products. Although your eCommerce store may take over the promotions, to a large extent, sales function and shipping continue to stay offline. Local distribution partners may play a role in this.


International Distribution Channels: How To Find And Manage Them?

Finding a good foreign distributor takes time and funds, but an efficient foreign distributor could bring in revenue in a fast and steady manner. To get your desired distributor or retail distribution chain, you will need a clear product offering and convincing arguments why a distributor would benefit from it.

How will your product range bring him more profit than what he already has on the shelves? On the other hand, you will have to check whether the distributor has enough reach and a good reputation. Here are some more items for your evaluation checklist to identify the right distributor:

You must first look into the company’s reputation – both its recent and long-running issues must be carefully scrutinised.

The company’s competitive profiles would come next. How they stand against other foreign competitors and local favorites will provide you with an insight to their performance.

You must weigh the expectations of the company on your distribution support. Avoid picking foreign distributors whose demands outweighs their services.
Discussion of requirements for minimum inventory is also considered as an evaluator. 

Foreign distributors will display their best performance, and it’s up to you to make them prove their capacity. Choose a distributor that could work around the limitations of your inventory.
When evaluating the candidates for your distribution, keep in mind how well they realise your goals for sales revenue for their country. Perhaps you should not promise exclusivity and work with multiple distributors.

Making use of local online platforms can be a good way to make your market entry. This way with limited investments you can try out the market. You can start by following these steps:

At The Beginning Stage -- use a drop shipping approach: Make sure that your product is available on the right local platforms and in the right language. As soon as you get an order, you can ship the product directly to the end-customer. The right service provider can do this for you, and also respond in the local language on any inquiries, requests or claims.

When volumes go up and become more predictable -- include local shipping: You can make your product more attractive by sending stock to the country, so that you can offer shorter delivery times. Local fulfilment parties can import your goods, keep your stock, and package and ship your products on demand. This way, you will save on shipping costs and increase your margins. 
At least, if you have the volumes to overcome the monthly costs for storage and financing of your local stock. 

As the online sales of your products becomes substantial-- add offline: For a number of products, it is useful to have offline sales outlets as well.It could be only for your customers to touch, feel and try out your products. It will also become less risky for retailers to start distributing.

As your business grows to a level where you can handle your logistics in-house, thus where you do not outsource the two main functions of logistics which are warehousing and transportation and logistics services to a third party. This means it is the right time to set up departments for each logistics function and hire people beneath them. 

It may also involve leasing or buying a fleet of motorbikes, vans and trucks for transportation. The logistics function also includes inventory management. It may be time to opt for cloud applications aside pen-and-paper as well as spreadsheets. With 1PL, the responsibility and risk remain solely with the company providing its own logistics services. 

It can exercise far more control over the fulfillment process than with an external party. This generally means a seamless and higher quality customer experience. 1PL should only be implement where in-house logistics will be cheaper than outsourced logistics.
Stepping up from 1PL, 2PL allows a company to outsource specific parts of the logistics work flow. 

Deliveries with tracking and tracing would be the most popular. This allows the company to focus on its core competencies while allowing an external party to fulfill operational functions. 2PLs are typically paid per job and rates can be competitive.

Most importantly, it allows a company to still provide a seamless and quality logistics experience for customers. The operational functions are instead outsourced to 2PL players who play specific parts. They have no influence or control over the overall logistics work flow. These responsibilities and risks still remain with the hiring company.

Now, it might be helpful to think of a 3PL provider as a manager of many 2PL players. Each 2PL provider performs a specific role remember. This could be warehousing, transportation or freight forwarding. Thus a 3PL hires various 2PLs on behalf of its customer but remains ultimately responsible for the overall logistics process.

Whereas a third-party logistics (3PL) service provider targets a single function, a 4PL targets management of the entire process. It describes a logistics integrator that designs, builds, and provides supply chain solutions. While 3PLs bundle and offer a suite of logistics services, 4PL providers manage a network of 3PLs. As such, they provide a one-stop shop for a customer and manage the entire supply chain for it.

It’s best to think of 4PL as a general contractor that offers its own know-how and technology, as well as that of other 3PL players, to offer a comprehensive end-to-end supply chain management solution. Like 3PL, it also serves as a single point of contact with the customer. Except this time it manages other 3PL providers as well.

As a general contractor that manages other 3PLs, truckers, forwarders, custom house agents, and others, essentially taking responsibility of a complete process for the customer.
The concept of a fourth-party logistics (4PL) provider was first defined by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as an integrator that assembles the resources, planning capabilities, and technology of its own organization and other organizations to design, build, and run comprehensive supply chain solutions.

Third-party logistics (3PL) however, involves using external organizations to execute logistics activities that have traditionally been performed within an organization itself. According to this definition, third-party logistics includes any form of outsourcing of logistics activities previously performed in house. Effective and efficient logistics are important. 

Because, although many businesses focus on the design and production of their products and services to best meet customer needs, if those products cannot reach customers on time, the business will fail. That’s the major role that logistics plays. Making sure that your products are perfectly packaged can increase customer satisfaction, but it’s important to know when these value-added services cause more trouble than they’re worth.

It’s always a good idea to ask about what value-added service capabilities does that fulfillment provider have:

What kind of experience and capabilities do they have with kitting?

Are they able to handle custom packaging?
Can they do gift bags?
Can they do custom messages?
Can they work with fancy tissue paper?
Can they work with samples?
Can they personalize the package and so forth?

These are all becoming increasingly important and having a provider that can manage these and understanding how much it costs to manage these are very, very important questions to ask. But as a reminder, it can also go too far.

Some of these value-added services add tremendous operational complexity to the fulfillment process. As a result, they drive cost into the fulfillment process and retailers really need to make sure that they have the appropriate return on that investment. You always need to balance the operational implications with marketing factor.If the fulfillment process is too expensive or takes too long, it won’t matter how pretty the package is.


Logistics On Other Aspects Of The Business

Distribution centers for order processing and order fulfillment (lower level of inventory) are also for receiving returning items from clients.

Although configuring a distribution network from zero is possible, logisticians usually have to deal with restructuring existing networks due to presence of an array of factors: changing demand, product or process innovation, opportunities for outsourcing, change of government policy toward trade barriers, innovation in transportation means (both vehicles or thoroughfares).

The introduction of regulations (notably those regarding pollution) and availability of ICT supporting systems (e.g. ERP or e-commerce). Once a logistic system is configured, tactical decisions takes place once again at the level of the warehouse and of the distribution network. 

Decisions have to be made under a set of constraints: internal, such as using the available infrastructure, or external, such as complying with the given product shelf lives and expiration dates. At the warehouse level, you must decide how to distribute merchandise over the racks. 

Three basic situations are traditionally considered: shared storage, dedicated storage (rack space reserved for specific merchandise) and class-based storage (class meaning merchandise organized in different areas according to their access index).

What Works, What Doesn’t In B2C E-Commerce

Agility, quickness, flexibility and simplicity — when it comes to B2C, these are the tools of successful “e-tailers.”

In the early days, many people in online fulfillment made a gigantic mistake by trying to anticipate what type of customer was going to come to them and then what type of equipment and support would be needed. They tried to predict the market but these people always find that their assumptions are wrong.

B2C is far more variable in sales volume than B2B. Thus, companies must watch their fixed costs and carefully choose how to invest capital in their infrastructure. One of the reasons many early B2C ventures failed was because they went too far too fast, rather than evolving their business.

When it comes to ecommerce, the evolution of your logistics system should be based on volume. A traditional retailer for example, may start out with a store-pick model, then progress to a modified combination store and small distribution center - what you might call the hybrid model. From there, the next step is to a fulfillment center.

Webvan, was a dot-com company and grocery business that filed for bankruptcy in 2001 after 3 years of operation. It was headquartered in Foster City, California, United States. It delivered products to customers' homes within a 30-minute window of their choosing.They skipped the first two steps and incurred a lot of capital and overhead to do that.

In the case of ordering, across all websites, regardless of company, there’s an argument that says that ordering should be a standard process. Consumers resist learning new forms and ordering procedures. And they resist going to new sites partly because of the need to learn new navigation processes. That resistance translates into lost sales.

Objectively, it’s a fairly small barrier, at most five or ten minutes of additional time to go into a new site, but it’s a significant enough barrier that it inhibits consumers from doing so. Research shows that, they will not overcome any significant barrier to getting to that first order.

Successful e-tailers have learned from brick-and-mortar retailers. Brick-and-mortar retailers understand that the floor is precious. Anything on the floor that doesn’t move, they get it off because it’s costing them. They mark it down and get rid of it. As ecommerce merchants, you have to guess right on inventory. Don't buy everything and hold it until you sell it.

Also, companies that are successful in ecommerce B2C don’t buy large amounts of inventory at a time neither do they proliferate the number of SKUs.

SKU proliferation is when an e-tailer or merchant adds products to their inventory.The justification for adding SKUs to a product may seem logical; if customers seem to be purchasing certain types of products, increasing the variations of those products could increase sales. 

But SKU proliferation when left unchecked, grows into a revenue sucking tumor in a business disrupting every part of the supply chain.
For example, an e-tailer starts off by selling one brand of men's cologne. As time progresses, the e-tailer realises that customers also like a competing brand of men's cologne.

The e-tailer then adds one brand from the competing brand to the inventory. Down the road, the e-tailer adds more brands in an attempt to increase the consumer pool. This process of increasing inventory in a bid to increase sales is known as SKU proliferation. Without SKU proliferation, inventory levels will be under control.

The next issue is how much to tell consumers about what’s in stock. E-tailers use several solutions ranging from displaying everything available to removing a product from the website if it’s temporarily out. But there are drawbacks to these options. Displaying the full quantity available is generally not necessary.

First, there’s the problem of accuracy. Many companies use multiple inventory programs for various reports, and reconciling them to achieve an accurate count is nearly impossible. A second problem is one of perception. Consumers may perceive a small quantity in stock as a bad sign. Too large a quantity may influence the consumer to wait for a sale.

The modern warehouse is complex, and management must balance a number of factors including software, automation, training and processes such as receiving and picking.Order picking, in particular, has seen significant improvements through technology innovations.

Successful ecommerce players have DCs (Distribution Centers) that are very automated around the fact that most online orders consist of one or two items, RFID and weighing are two popular ways to help ensure order pick accuracy. Industrial RFID Improves Order Picking. RFID tags mounted to order logistics tote reduce shipping errors. An example of RFID technology used in order picking is the RFID glove, where a reader is integrated into the glove. 

This can automatically identify the respective transponder or article when an article is removed. The transponder ID read is automatically compared with the number of the target storage location. One of the core barriers of efficiency is the time pickers spend walking around the warehouse. They are often required to walk from a station that receives orders, out to the warehouse and back to check the product out. 

Hand held RF terminals can also eliminate multiple steps from this process. Hand held RFID terminals can easily improve the picking process. Mobile technology with RFID capabilities is deployed by many businesses to aid with the picking process. Orders will be sent to pickers’ RF devices, and the employee will then be able to pick the item right from the shelf without having to return to another workstation to check it out afterward.

Pickers could even use portable label printers to streamline the process further. Dynamic kitting is another technique.
It is important to note that, delivery to door, is where present B2C players are focusing their efforts. Most deliveries in the U.S. for instance, are made by UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. 

Also, more than 70 percent of the companies sent e-mail shipment confirmations to consumers, which usually included a tracking number. Perfect deliveries, are those that are on time or early, damage free and with correct product and paperwork. Incorrect paperwork is one of the most common reason for an imperfect delivery.

Having the execution, the operational excellence to be able to do what you promise, is an important part of delivery. It’s almost worse to make a promise and not keep it than to not make a promise at all and consumers’ expectations of delivery are due to promises.

The solution is a proactive approach to delivery. 

Rather than get reports days, or weeks later, delivery confirmation should be done in real time. This requires a tracking system that actively checks what’s going on, and relays those data back to the e-tailer. Should a problem arise, then e-tailers can address the problem.
Even when products are successfully delivered they could be returns. Returns can be more expensive than shipping it out.

It’s important in B2C to make returns easy and successful e-tailers are doing so. Fewer companies require pre-approval for a return and many include return instructions and labels for consumers.
In addition, though, returns offer an opportunity to turn cost into revenue. E-tailers often use their online sites to help liquidate product.

There’s a great opportunity here, you can potentially get 60 percent to 70 percent of the retail value this way, which is more than the cost value in some cases.
Even though ecommerce means easier international entry, it could take six months to a year to establish a supply chain that is efficient from both service and cost standpoint even when executed on a robust ecommerce business model. 

Which means, you don’t have to take on the world all at once. Your international growth can be organic. You can start with one country and expand incrementally. Once you have mastered the challenges of selling internationally in one country (and reaped the rewards, in higher profits), you’ll be better prepared to take your ecommerce business to other cross-border markets. 

For traditional retailers, ecommerce can also serve as a testing ground to determine whether new, foreign markets will be successful before opening a physical location there. In the United States alone, e-tailers made an estimated $455 billion in 2017, with current year-to-year growth measured at 15.2 percent.

Outside the U.S., prospects are just as profitable. Eighty-four percent of Canada’s residents have shopped online.

Further ecommerce is also booming in Australia, with Power Retail reporting 29 percent year-to-year projected growth through 2020. Shopify predicts that international ecommerce sales will top $4.2 trillion in 2020. Future sales are on an upward path.

Additional Considerations for International E-Commerce Expansion
A new country means new logistics. Early in the planning process, determine what level of infrastructure is required to be successful. Does the company need a brick and mortar store or is this global expansion strictly ecommerce? 

What about an in-country representative to navigate unexpected business issues that may arise? Is current counsel qualified to review local contracts and explain legal restrictions? In China, where 9.86 million domestic merchants already operate online, the government must approve new ecommerce providers for bonded import. 

In Kenya, sites need a Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) license, and South Africa requires Consumer Affairs Committee registration. Does current counsel understand the new market’s required application processes?

Online-only retailers may need a new address: While .com is internationally ubiquitous, consider adding .cn, .au, and similar country-specific domains. Fully translated sites on local domains perform better in SEO, helping brands attract new customers in those markets. If translation is too intimidating, try buying foreign domains that redirect to your company’s main page. 

Even if these new URL’s are never used, owning them prevents competitors, domain resellers, and others from buying them first. Similarly, ecommerce companies should trademark brands and slogan in each new market, preparing for possible intellectual property theft in countries where piracy is common.

Make sure your ecommerce site also honors each country’s data security laws and expectations. In places where international privacy regulation GDPR has been adopted, ecommerce sites must get individual user permission before dropping cookies. GDPR started in Germany, but was later implemented by the entire European Union and the United States. 

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, data gathering or use of any type is also prohibited in Israel without user consent, and Commerce indicates Canada has similar restrictions: “Entities cannot collect sensitive information without explicit consent by the consumer.”

Consumers in these countries will likely be more sensitive to how their data is gathered, stored, and used. In ecommerce, this affects customer viewpoint on product recommendations and retargeting ads: Instead of seeing them as personalization, they’re more likely to see your brand as invasive.

In the United Kingdom, for example, online retailers say 25 percent of cart abandonment comes from customer concern over online payment security. Keep SSL certificates up to date, provide a guest checkout option, and don’t ask for more information than the company truly needs to complete the transaction and ship the product.

Before doing too much research, also examine product legality. Most countries regulate skin care, beauty, and other chemically-based products in different ways. This regulation may be marketing directed (for example, France has strict requirements regulating which foodstuffs can be labeled as organic) or it may focus on how products are made. Scandinavian countries often require proof that imported products were manufactured in ethical and environmentally-safe ways. 

The right attorney can guide companies through what they’re obligated to disclose and partner with marketing to develop packaging labels that safeguard proprietary information.
To succeed internationally, ecommerce retailers need to ensure two different types of product/market fit: (1) The actual items sold must be desired in other countries and (2) products must be sold on platforms and devices where target customers shop.

This is true for business anywhere, but in international e-commerce, it specifically means thinking beyond the site. Smartphones account for one-third of all U.S. ecommerce purchases, so in this market, adaptive design and apps are both givens. But for cross border ecommerce, mobile options are even more essential.

In South Africa, 38.51 percent of consumers shop by phone. In India, that figure is 65 percent. And in Japan, nearly half of consumers prefer mobile browser to app. Even customers who aren’t mobile-first like having the option: In China, consumers who shop via computer and phone spend 17 percent more time shopping than those limited to one device. They also spend across 29 percent more product categories. In other countries, social media is a growing venue.

To be successful in global markets, you will need to carve out or create an entirely separate budget to support marketing efforts for product promotion. To build your first international budget, research performance data in the target country, estimate acquisition and marketing costs, and align these expenses with the company’s larger sales goals. 

Some markets require larger budgets than others. Certain countries’ marketing channels charge more, and pay-per-click rates, for example, vary by location.If you don’t have much of a budget, you will need to compromise on what you want the site to do. Sometimes making the business case for a separate international budget can be challenging, particularly when a business as little or no historical data or proven success in a given market. 

To overcome this challenge, start by looking at available market data, best practices, and market trends to make a case for a global marketing budget. When timepiece and accessories company MVMT expanded internationally, the brand initially took a low-impact approach. A strong, global social media following drove site traffic,
but international conversion was significantly lower than domestic.

Cross border customers were making their own tax and duty calculations and were also responsible for remitting their own fees to local authorities. Orders took up to three weeks to fulfill.
Director of ecommerce Alicia Radabaugh identified the problem, realizing MVMT was missing a significant revenue opportunity.

The company turned to technology for a solution, selecting a tool that helped MVMT address these and other operational challenges. Radabaugh’s team used the software to determine local currency pricing for 200 countries, to manage exchange rates, to set rounding functions, to apply proper taxes and duties, and to provide customers with multiple payment and shipping options. 

The company also streamlined the addition of 60 new local payment options. Processing costs decreased by 20 percent; shipping savings were even greater, going down 30 percent.
Technology also enabled MVMT to better focus on their online customer experience.

By staying up to date on different countries’ market conditions and by using innovative technology to execute, ecommerce leaders can lay a strong foundation for international growth. When brands trust intelligent partners and strive to learn more about new markets well after entry, they get results and expand their brand reach as revenue grows.

Unlike International logistics, logistics on a scale aren't overly complex. Once a customer completes his or her order on your website, the transaction will trigger any inventory software you have. As a retailer, most ecommerce platforms will have integrated inventory management software, so a completed payment will automatically adjust your inventory accordingly.


Once you get the notification an order has been confirmed, it's time to ship the product. Depending on the size of your operation, the next steps could vary:

Home/Office Operation: If you're running your website from your home or a separate office and store inventory there, all you have to do is to package the product and send it to the buyer. This is a great option for newer and small businesses because they save money on overhead by not having to outsource their warehouse management to a third party.

Brick-And-Mortar Retailer: If you own a storefront location and have the room to store the products you sell online there, the same principle applies as above. Just pack up the product and send it to the awaiting customer.

However, if operation is large enough to outsource your online operation logistics, you'll likely have to sync your platform with the third party you partner with. That way, once a customer makes a purchase, the distribution center will know and they can send the package out quickly. 

This hands-off approach is well organized and eases the stress of shipping so you can focus on other aspects of your website.
Inventory management solutions within your ecommerce platform give you visibility into how much of a given product you have left. Inventory management tools give you real-time insight into your products so you're never behind on customer orders.

If your business partners with a service like UPS, FedEx or the USPS, you can also track items based on the fulfillment numbers they provide. Once the product leaves your hands, it may be a good idea to keep tabs on certain orders to make sure they reach the customer. It's also an industry best practice to provide the same tracking numbers to customers in their confirmation email so they can keep track of where their package is.

One of the less often thought about components of the digital and retail revolution is how exactly customers and businesses will receive products. 
Amazon has set the new standard and many consumers expect to receive products ordered online within 48 hours. 

Other big players such as Target and Walmart are now trying to compete with Amazon by integrating a two day shipping model as a standard part of their platform. To keep up with increasing demand from ecommerce channels and meet the expectations of consumers, you will need to invest in their warehouses and distribution centers as well as increase the development and implementation of advanced supply chain and logistics processes.

Even though an ecommerce merchant may not have a physical store, physical goods need to be stored at some location. A 3PL will typically take care of your warehousing requirements. It will invest in the space and technology required to efficiently run a warehouse. One expects that warehousing by a 3PL will be more cost-efficient, as it is able to spread its overheads over multiple clients.

Consolidation service is one of the many services provided by a third-party logistics provider. Since ecommerce merchants often send many small goods to the same location, a situation where the whole can be lesser than the sum of the parts, i.e., if all the small goods are consolidated into one shipment, the shipping charges could be substantially lowered.

Additionally, new technologies such as Logistics automation, augmented reality, drones, advanced robotics, and smart glasses for hands free pick, pack, ship, are some of the keys to reducing costs and ensuring competitiveness which in essence, makes their services relatively cheaper.

Logistics automation is the application of computer software or automated machinery to improve the efficiency of logistics operations. Typically this refers to operations within a warehouse or distribution center with broader tasks undertaken by supply chain engineering systems and enterprise resource planning systems.

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