Logistics is an activity of electronic commerce that goes beyond the processing of packages, it is one of the basic activities and determinants of success in electronic commerce. Too often we forget this and leave logistics in the hands of people who are untrained in marketing and communication.
The e-commerce distribution and logistics includes the entire process, from the reception of merchandise, storage, treatment, classification, distribution and delivery of the product. In e-commerce, there is often no second chance to make a good first impression, and the contact between the company and the customer, in most cases, is simply the courier. We must provide the client with control over the entire logistics process. Some platforms allow you to connect with your user or client code to see where your order is in real time. You are able to follow details from purchase to delivery, if it has left the warehouse, if it is being distributed, if it is in the carrier, and what is included in the order. It is not difficult for an e-commerce platform to enable these tools. They provide greater customer satisfaction and optimization of the user experience.
Logistics is very important and details are usually forgotten, for example: the invoice and packaging design; the information it will contain in addition to the product ordered; whether induction elements are used for new purchases; and even if the packaging can make you share business cards with your friends or acquaintances. Logistics is so important that it directly infiltrates the marketing process. Zappos, one of the largest e-commerce companies, changed the location of all its offices, not just logistics personnel, from California to Las Vegas in order to cover and reduce product delivery times.
Logistics can be a great strength, or a weakness, for the digital business. You have to know where the customer wants to receive the goods they order, because it is very convenient to have to go to a post office to pick it up. Logistics is often neglected and left in the hands of third-party companies. These merchandise companies are not marketing companies and do not care about your client. When a courier goes to a house to deliver a package of a purchase made in your business and the client is not home, it creates disorder. You have to call and agree on a new delivery time, which means adding problems and conflicts in a relationship that must be kept fluid and healthy.
There are integrative business models, such as Amazon-Prime, that connect the user with the distribution platform. This integration is possible through the API software of the various companies involved in the process, which allow the client to track the package in real time, from its exit from the warehouse to its arrival at its destination. All mobile phones have GPS. The client is able to know where his package is and where the courier that brings that package is in real time. The client knows if it will arrive in five minutes or if it will take half an hour. This gives a lot of freedom and a lot of flexibility which results in a better “user experience” iBird, for example, uses electric vehicles for distribution, and it is always good to contribute to a clean environment. This is corporate social responsibility, and this simple logistical process can help integrate the “user experience” UX, within a larger objective, environmental conservation.
“If you are not satisfied we give you back your money.” The greatest guarantee that you can offer users is to know that if they are not satisfied with what they have bought they can return it. This gives them a lot of security, it makes them lose their fear of buying on a website, without a physical store, without a person to serve them, without the support of being able to see and touch to guarantee their purchases.
The Returns Policy is a delicate area of our marketing strategy. Outlets, for example, block quantities of merchandise in their suppliers’ warehouses. This allows them to maintain elastic stocks to cover possible demand adjustments. Allowing your customers to order five units of each garment to try on at home and return them requires a high stock support. To be able to support this type of strategy you need to have a high margin of products. We are not referring to the shipping and return costs, which in many cases is the customer who pays the return cost. The point is that those garments that have left your warehouse to go to a client’s house are garments that are no longer available to other clients. Many outlets subtract the products that leave the warehouses from their stocks, thus shortening their stocks to satisfy other customers. It may be that sporadically there is a customer who wants to abuse the return policies and the business model must support this type of situation. The client must understand that there are limits, must understand that returns must meet a series of requirements: not everything can be returned, it must be in good condition, be returned within a certain period of time and according to the guarantees of each return. All these details must be explained in detail within the website and are even required by Google.
The most important internal policy of our store is to make sure that each product that leaves the store is in perfect condition. In this way we avoid a high rate of returns. The objective is to reduce the volume of returns, because it is not a simple logistical problem, it is a financial problem.
Some e-commerce companies use real physical stores to support them in their online sales process. Returns can be delivered at these physical collection points and thus establish direct contact with the customer. 🛍️
Showrooming is a very common phenomenon on the rise of online commerce. Showrooming consists of going to stores, trying on clothes and then making electronic purchases. At the moment, owners of a store or a brand and owners of the e-commerce website are not integrated, but could be in the future. Stores that act as showrooming could mean the survival of many stores by allowing users to try on the clothes, although later they buy them at more attractive prices online. This can benefit both sides of the business, the owner in the store and the owner of the e-commerce site, but above all it will benefit the client.
If you are on the internet you are in the world. It may be that you decide to restrict the operations of your business to a single language, to a single territory, but this is not usually the case, because companies logically all want to sell more. At this moment it is important to define a correct Local SEO strategy with the geo positioning of the EXIF tags of the images, where we tell the search engine “this product is located in these coordinates” so that it is more relevant than the rest.
In the case of international logistics of our electronic commerce, different aspects must be taken into account. One of the most basic is languages! Is your website available in many languages? Keep in mind that the Portuguese that is spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese that is spoken in Brazil, or the Spanish in Spain and the Spanish in Mexico, have quite a few differences. It is not enough to have a single language for all countries. You must adapt to each of the territories and take into account the idiomatic variations in each of those countries, even if the language is common. Targeting geolocation tags to each exact geographic area is a highly recommended practice.
Soon, for Apple, the sale of software will be more profitable than the sale of hardware. It will profit more from digital products like iTunes songs and Apple Store apps, than from selling Mac computers, iPad tablets or iPhone phones.
The distribution of digital products is much easier than the distribution of physical products. Digital products do not need warehousing, a logistics company to handle distribution, or the need to coordinate a delivery with the customer. Clients manage the download themselves. There are many contents, they can be an mp3, an mp4, a digital gif file, an animation, a graphic, or a text from a digital book. This causes new consumption habits for consumers. For example, with on-demand television, the users decide when and what they want to watch. This option gave rise to platforms like Netflix or Wuaki.tv. The user decides the series or movie, when and how long of that movie to watch. There are even books already being distributed by chapters because it is very possible that you are not interested in reading the whole book. In the past many consumers were not interested in buying the entire album with all the songs, but rather song by song, the same can be done with books, chapter by chapter or even buy different endings.
Digital products have a simple distribution: for example downloading a file or streaming a movie. Streaming is watching a movie that is not going to be stored on your hard drive. Games are excellent digital content and tremendously profitable. In the case of mobile applications, games are the most downloaded and the highest paid so far. Many of these applications use a mixed model, they do not charge for download, they only establish in-app purchase mechanics.