Ecommerce Logistics – A Deep Insight
With Internet probably being the fifth element that a human being can not live without – after air, water, food, and shelter – presumably ranking even higher than sleep, the rise that Ecommerce is witnessing, is not surprising at all.
And so are the logistic needs of this booming industry increasing too. With the quality of service having improved to a great extent, and the geographic penetration being better than ever before, Logistics has come to be the key enabler for the further growth of the Ecommerce sector, all around the world.
So, we thought, we’d come out with some important pointers that would help give you an insight into this very rapidly growing part of even rapidly growing sector.
In-House or Outsourcing?
It is an important question, isn’t it?
“To Do-it-Yourself, or to not Do-it-Yourself?”
We’ll try to answer this question below.
So, maybe not so much in the beginning, but definitely in the later stages, when your business is grown enough that you can’t take care of shipping on your own – you will either have to create your own little department, and expand your workforce; or you could do away with the in-house model altogether. Instead of paying an employee, think in terms of paying just the expenses. Outsourcing won’t just prove to be more cost effective, but the process of interviewing and choosing the right candidates would also deduce a lot of time and energy from you.
You will see, that working with a third party company, you will only need to give them the proper guidelines and instructions in the beginning, and they’ll soon enough, provide you service, in a way customized to your business’s and product’s needs. So, you won’t have to worry about a thing!
Time effectiveness is another reason that can not be stressed enough. Saving a lot of your time, that you could have otherwise spent on growing your business, effectively makes outsourcing a much better option.
Choosing The Right Shipping Partner
This question doesn’t really have a fit-it-all kind of answer; it has more of whatever-suits-your-business-fits-it kind of answer. And to know the right answer for you, you need to take some that you can think in terms of, that will help you make your judgement.
Think in terms of the needs of your product: What is your product? That would decide your packaging and shipping to a great extent. Your product could be a glass bowl, or you could be selling Tennis balls, or something else. But the point here is, that the glass bowl might need a bit extra attention compared to the tennis balls, when it comes to delivering the product safely to the customer. So, you have to think in terms of what your product needs in order to make it clear your courier partner understands the same too.
Now, what if you’re running a bakery, or what if you’re a florist, as compared to one of your friends who is a book shop owner. While you would require a more time-specific delivery for a cake or a bouquet of flowers (the perishable items), your friend would prefer a more pan Indian approach to shipping, expecting a more location-specific service. So look at the pin code coverage that the courier company provides; see, if it matches the locations where you get most of your orders from, and finally make it a factor that decides if you choose it or not.
Shipping Insurance: What if, even though you took all the possible and otherwise precautions, and still something happened to the package? Anything – a natural calamity, an accident, maybe carelessness on someone’s part – anything could ensure the product not reach safe in your customer’s hands. And so, you have to ensure that you don’t lose any more money than you absolutely have to in the view of such an event. That’s why, you insure. Shipping insurance is absolutely something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Understand the insurance policy of your courier partner, read the contract carefully – read between the lines – and then come to an informed decision.
Cost: Even if any of the above factors might be overlooked, no one can take this one factor in a for granted manner. While you might encounter some courier companies that ask for a good amount of deposit and a minimum volume commitment, it would really help you if you understand that the pricing is usually not just dependent on the sales volume, but also on the seller-logistics company relationship. So, even if you agree to a bit higher cost, and such terms and conditions in the beginning, taking into consideration that you are pretty okay with all the other things, you might just have made the right decision. In the long run, you might see, that such good business relationship along with a consistent shipping volume, could mean reduced shipping rates for you in the future.
Logistics – The Game Changer
A wider reach and a faster shipping – that is probably how one can define ecommerce logistics, in one sentence.
And though it might seem like a really simple and straightforward task as one reads it, it is neither.
Even then, the recent years have proved that however challenging this aspect of ecommerce might be, entrepreneurs of the country, including the budding startups, have made the logistics operation into one successful undertaking.
This is clear from the innovative strategies being employed in this field by ecommerce giants – right from Snapdeal’s ‘Snapdeal Instant’, allowing deliveries within an hour of having placed them, card-on-delivery, four-hour delivery; to Paytm’s 2-hour delivery model; and Amazon’s eight new fulfillment centres making its storage capacity the largest our country’s ecommerce industry has ever seen.
And not just them, but with so many startups coming to fore, there have been huge amounts of investment flowing into them too.
In the end, let’s just suffice to say that Logistics is something, that can either make, or break your Ecommerce business. So, any decision that you take – whether deciding between outsourcing the operation or not, and if choose to do so, then how to go about finding the right partner for the same, just take all the factors into consideration, and make a well-calculated, well-informed decision.