odc explains: “Which basic rules of logistics should be observed in e-commerce?”

If you want to enter the e-commerce business as a founder, you should pay attention to a few points so that you don’t immediately sink between the big players again. The market is big, the competition strong and the clientele choosy. With a few tips, however, the start is much easier!

Start-ups should plan and observe the following rules in advance:

  1. Correct deliveries are a must. Most customers expect one thing above all else in online trading: fast and error-free delivery of the order. A barcoding of the goods supports retailers in quality control and identification of the articles. In this way you avoid the risk of sending the wrong goods to the customer.
  2. Play it safe in the warehouse. As soon as article master data is no longer kept up to date and regularly maintained, the ability to deliver may be endangered and delivery delays may occur. With clean inventory management in the ERP or shop system, you guarantee smooth and efficient order processing.
  3. The customer decides on the delivery. E-commerce means shopping when and where you want. At the same time, customers should be able to decide which parcel service will send the goods at what time and to which (filing) location the shipment will be delivered. Leave your customers as much freedom of choice as possible.
  4. Next-Day-Delivery. It is already standard for large retailers – and thus increases the pressure on small retailers. The later the cut-off, the more convenient for customers. A true royal discipline is same-day delivery via special delivery services such as Liefery and Co.
  5. Automatic data transmission in real time. As soon as an order is received in the web shop, it must be packed promptly and sent to the end customer. To ensure a smooth process, data transmission should therefore be automatic and (almost) real-time. This accelerates processes and minimizes the need for manual intervention.
  6. Focus on transparent communication. Customers expect shipping information in the right measure and at the right time. An order confirmation, regular order status notifications and tracking for shipment tracking improve the customer experience.
  7. Sustainable action in the logistics industry. Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role for end consumers. More and more retailers are therefore focusing on a sustainable corporate strategy that is also reflected in logistics. Wherever possible, plastic packaging and filling material should be avoided and no more packaging material than necessary should be used.
  8. Multi-channel strategies create new opportunities. In order to avoid dependency on a single channel and to increase reach, it is advisable to conduct the e-commerce business via several channels. Note that both your own system and logistics have multi-channel capability.
  9. Internationalisation in e-commerce pays off. Online trading knows no national borders. A large number of attractive markets are waiting abroad in particular, offering retailers from Germany many opportunities. International shipping can also be easily controlled from a national location without having to have warehouses abroad.
  10. Provide capacities for growing markets as well. Existing capacities are often no longer sufficient for peaks (mondays, Black Friday, Christmas) or a rapid growth in orders. Smaller retailers in particular quickly reach their capacity limits when demand fluctuates. Therefore, design your logistics processes for scalable growth at an early stage.
  11. Simple returns processes for customers. Returns are actually an annoying topic for both sides – for both the retailer and the customer. However, if you are an online retailer and do not make a simple return possible, you run the risk of losing your customers. For example, it is particularly customer-friendly to give the customer the choice of which parcel service he wants to use to return the parcel. The credit note should then always be issued promptly.
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