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“To conquer e-commerce, one must first conquer e-commerce logistics.” – a very wise person. 

Fine, fine – we made that quote up. However, that doesn’t make it any less true.

All of the most successful e-commerce businesses have near flawless and sophisticated approaches and strategies for their e-commerce logistics. 

But before we go any further, it’s important to establish exactly what logistics in e-commerce is. 

What is “E-commerce Logistics”?

Essentially, e-commerce logistics is the process an e-commerce business employs to get their products from the warehouse to their customer(s). 

After one of your shoppers clicks “Buy” and the payment is confirmed, their order is picked, packed, shipped, and delivered, and all this (including the dreaded returns) is defined as e-commerce logistics. 

The 5 key elements of logistics in e-commerce

Though the methodology can vary from company to company, the elements that make up logistics in e-commerce largely remain the same. 

“There are many ways to skin a cat” – a very wise person.

This one is a legit quote. No clue where it came from though. And I must add, just because there are many ways to skin a cat, doesn’t mean every way is a good way. 

That being said, we’ve whittled it down to 5 key elements of logistics in e-commerce. Each element is dependent on the others and a successful e-commerce business guarantees that they all operate smoothly.

Order fulfilment

E-commerce order fulfilment is the process and steps involved after your customer makes a purchase online. All the way from the warehouse and up to until the product is actually shipped. 

E-commerce fulfilment in e-commerce logistics includes receiving and story inventory, general inventory management, order processing, order picking, packing, and the hand-off to the couriers (AKA the start of the shipping process). 

Elements of order fulfilment can be handled by 3rd parties that offer access to multiple couriers and often charge by a combination of dimension, volume, and weight. Hint-hint, Sendcloud.

Pro Tip: Include freebies and use branded packaging to positively impact your customer’s unboxing experience. 

Inventory Management

Another key element of logistics in e-commerce is inventory management. Inventory management lets you control the chaos. Whether you have one or multiple warehouses, things can get incredibly chaotic without proper inventory management. 

It allows employees to better manage stock levels and the current and predicted demand. This not only saves time per order but also allows your business to ship your products to your customers more efficiently and quicker. 

Pro TIp: If you’re a fashion brand selling shoes or apparel, well-organised inventory management is crucial. With the variety of colours and sizes, things can become easily confused and disorderly. 

Warehousing

Boxes in warehouses on wooden palettes | E-commerce Logistics

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Every successful e-commerce business needs to keep its overflow of stock somewhere convenient. Plus, in the first place, they need to keep an overflow of stock! They’ll need to consider their stock levels per item and ensure the location of each warehouse is strategic and practical. 

Pro Tip: What do we mean by strategic and practical? The location of your warehouse can negatively impact delivery times. The location gives you enough info to accurately calculate shipping times, so choose wisely!

Order Picking, Packing, & Shipping 

Order picking and packing are stressful enough without having to worry about shipping. By giving your customers the option of choosing between multiple couriers and multiple methods, you hand the ownership and responsibility to the customer and courier. 

Very often, e-commerce businesses allow their warehouse management system to decide the courier. This creates a lack of clarity for your customer. When your customer can choose their shipping method, cost, and date via multiple couriers, expectations are managed. All your employees need to worry about is picking, packing, and labelling – too easy!

Pro Tip: Sendcloud’s shipping platform provides you with a seamless connection to multiple popular couriers in the UK as well as a simple-to-use shipping label creator. 

Warehouse worker labelling package | E-commerce Logistics

Returns | E-commerce Logistics

Returns are a huge part of logistics in e-commerce. Some reports even claim that nearly 30% of online orders are returned. This high percentage of returns has led to shoppers expecting swift, hassle-free refunds. This means e-commerce businesses like yours need to employ a smooth, quick returns process. “But how?” I can feel you thinking.

Pro Tip: Sendcloud houses a renowned returns portal that not only makes returns stress-free and easy but also lets businesses fully brand their returns experience.

E-commerce Logistics: Your path to success

Now you understand what e-commerce logistics actually are, it shouldn’t be that difficult to understand why they’re so important. 

Logistics in e-commerce are the backbone, the foundation, the chassis, and the framework of every successful online business. They need to be thoroughly researched, planned, and executed well and that’s no easy task. 

While you may create and/or sell state-of-the-art, world-class products, it means absolutely nothing if they cannot reach your clients while respecting their expectations of time, quality, reliability, and communication. 

This means without proper e-commerce logistics in place, your conversions will only be affected negatively. Whether you’re a seasoned online business or a fresh face in the e-commerce world, you won’t regret the day you invest time, energy, and finances into e-commerce logistics.

Looking to learn more about logistics in e-commerce? Check out Sendcloud’s logistics blogs here.

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