For an industry that didn’t exist 50 years ago, eCommerce has rapidly taken off and continue to evolve. When the words eCommerce is mentioned businesses are quick to mention B2C trends and but what about B2B trends which are arguably just as important to understand? In this article, we will explore upcoming trends in eCommerce fulfilment that businesses need to be aware of to maximise their revenue and satisfy rapidly changing consumer and business demands.
Ordering cost – thinking both inside and outside the box
Businesses need to think both inside and outside of the box (literally) when they are working on ordering cost while designing products and packaging. As shipping and warehousing costs are based on the size of a product, businesses need to look at how they are spending their money during the product design period. Shipping and warehousing are major costs for any eCommerce business that only increase as more products are sold.
Improvements such as utilising space within packaging through decreasing wasted space and ensuring finished boxes are effectively stacked onto pallets for warehousing and transportation could ensure that hundreds of additional products are shipped per truck. Even the outside of the packaging needs to be reviewed, customised designs on outer boxes are easier to source than ever, so why miss out on additional advertising via a medium that is already being paid for?
Flexible delivery timeframes
Consumers and businesses alike have come to expect rapid delivery of their purchases. However, delivery services come at a cost which can increase the ordering cost of the product. Minimising product packaging can help with this, but suppliers also need to build their fulfilment network efficiently. A large part of the retail business model is providing instant gratification to shoppers, which has kept traditional retail stores in business for years. However, eCommerce businesses are finding that the faster they can get their products to the purchaser the more likely they are to buy.
Businesses such as Amazon are offering delivery within one hour in some large cities worldwide, if they can’t promise it that quickly then the same day is also common through their warehousing presences and efficient fulfilment partners. Within New Zealand, one of the largest B2B and B2C logistics companies CourierPost offer delivery to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch addresses on the same evening the package is picked up. These services are aimed at meeting the changing needs of society who expect packages quickly and to be delivered at times that suit them, such as on evenings and weekends.
Warehouse efficiency – a modern makeover required?
eCommerce businesses rely on networks of warehousing in their fulfilment processes in order to get their products from factories to the end buyer. Traditionally warehousing has been labour intensive, however, warehousing is getting a makeover with robots becoming a normal feature within the aisles of modern warehouses.
Warehousing also needs to be reviewed to ensure that space is being used as efficiently as possible. As warehouses are often located near major cities in order to meet delivery timeframes and demand, space often comes at a premium cost. Warehousing companies need to ensure that their operations are reviewed so they are operating at maximum efficiency and capacity which may be achieved through improvements such as new shelving systems and product movement solutions. This will make warehouse operators a more attractive choice to eCommerce suppliers who are looking for efficient partners in their fulfilment operations.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.