How to optimize the logistics service of your e-commerce

05/25/2017 - Jordi Ordoñez

Optimizing the logistics service of your e-commerce can be a big part of your business’s success. At the end of the day when we talk about logistics we’re talking about something that carries the greatest weight in any store’s budget, every penny saved from here has a direct impact on the profit margin.

Do you know why the logistics for an online store are important? Conversely, and not any less important, it turns out that in the vast majority of cases the only physical contact between our brand and the customer is the logistics service we have contracted. It is extremely important that we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and understand that they want to be informed of where their purchase is at all times, even receiving a tracking number from an external logistics company. For them, the shopping experience is all-encompassing: from the website to their front door.

How can we optimize an e-commerce’s logistics?

This is a process in itself and will last as long as the e-commerce does. Optimizing logistics should never stop; here are some helpful tips:

#1 – Order preparation

It is the first step in the process, but if you’re efficient from the beginning in order preparation, optimizing your ecommerce’s logistics will be much simpler.

The communication between your site and the warehouse must be fluid; the equation can be complicated enough if our business is a click and mortar store and we have physical buildings that depend on the same warehouses.

It is fundamental that we keep the stock updated so that there are no inconsistencies (taking an order for a product that we don’t have and needing to deny delivery afterwards is inefficient and frightening in the face of customer service). If you need external help with this key issue, you can always consider using a skuvault.com style inventory management tool that is specially designed for this.

Do not overlook the packaging: it should not just be something practical or pretty, you also have to think about efficient storage.

 

#2 – Optimizing the warehouse is optimizing the logistics

If you have the merchandise stored just any which way you may have a problem that you haven’t even noticed.

Spend the time necessary to organize the process and ensure that the merchandise moves only when it’s essential. Train your staff. You need them to be professionals with absolute control of the process

Of course you have to take 101% of the profit from the space you have. Here is where the packaging theme we talked about in the previous point can be an influence: your designer may love the idea of a spherical box, but imagine what it could mean for vertical storage.

It’s important to be practical and learn from your own business when managing space. What is the most sold item? Well, it should be the most accessible, which seems like a no-brainer but it helps save a lot of time.

 

#3 – Reverse logistics kill

It’s inevitable to have a certain number of returns, but we must track them relentlessly and detect any deviation from the accepted range. When this happens it is because something is going wrong.

There are a number of preventive actions we can take to keep this issue under control. The main thing is to be perfectly clear about the product and not to generate an expectation that doesn’t fit the reality, we’re trying to make the user fully aware of what he’s buying.

All of the information isn’t much information. The process of online shopping, by definition, has the disadvantage of intangibility of the product and the only way to combat that is to give the user the most detailed description.

For example: in the case of a fashion retail e-commerce you can keep the sizes (S, M, L, XL, etc), add a size guide with the measurements in inches, or even go a step further and establish recommendation systems where other users can reflect on how the garment fits (small, normal, large).

All of these actions coupled with real-time customer support like the Oct8ne chat greatly help minimize returns. This is excellent both in reducing logistics costs and improving the overall shopping experience.

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