Mapping Out Your Processes
According to Insider Intelligence, global retail e-commerce capitalization reached 4.28 trillion US dollars with a yearly growth rate of 13.7%. The consumer market continues to adopt more convenient and quick ways to purchase goods. Right now, the expansion of tech for both front-end and back-end capabilities allows online store logistics to have more customization features, better performance, more responsive interconnectivity with web servers, and cheaper costs due to the widespread adoption of eCommerce platforms.
Since many people are still curious about what eCommerce is and how you can benefit from it, let’s have a detailed look. eCommerce logistics is a combination of logistics services and online platforms that can create multiple unique business opportunities. eCommerce can become a powerful tool for any business - B2B, B2C, C2B, C2C, or even governmental types like B2G or C2G.
Ecommerce logistics describes inventory management, storage management, and order fulfillment for any online marketplace. To efficiently streamline your eCommerce supply chain strategy using modern instruments, we first should discuss the systems that manage web processes in an e-commerce business.
Your Website Represents Your Company
eCommerce website is the place where the magic occurs. eCommerce in logistics is a powerful combination for business development. Whenever a customer sees your platform, it is crucial to ensure the contents are presented with an appropriate hierarchical structure. In our time, without being represented on the Internet, the company simply cannot exist and grow successfully. Most important business processes take place on the Internet and you should always keep a pulse on it. It is always essential to perfect your platform’s user experience. The web pages your users browse through must be clean and intuitive. Action buttons must be thoughtfully separated from the static content. The transactions between pages must be seamless, and the design must stand out and remain consistent. The better the job is done in this aspect, the faster the client will decide on your business’s products or services.
It is important to remember that how we represent ourselves on the Internet is just as important as what services we offer, because it creates a user experience that plays a crucial role in the relationship between the company and the customer. It is always important for a client what kind of experience he gets when entering a company's website, so it is extremely important to spare no effort on less obvious functions and make sure that the user gets everything he really needs, especially in eCommerce logistics.
Part of the eCommerce logistics processes includes SEO optimization, which is another crucial subject. According to Search Engine Watch, link building and the quality of your content on the website are the two of Google’s judging factors with the most weight. The optimization is not only crucial for ranking your platform as high as possible, but it also helps you understand your customer, and in particular, see demographic, geographical, and even psychographic data. With this tool optimized, you will know what age groups view or purchase a specific product, their average income, ethnicity, education, gender, and much more.
Modern ERP systems will supplement your e-commerce platform and cover order management, fulfillment, and shipping tracking, plus the invoicing and accounting aspects. Some companies have programs that focus on a specific niche like payments or order management and then integrate them individually. Some choose to use the services of a website development company to build their custom software that encompasses every process from Inventory management to marketing automation.
Architecture and Data
Any successful business uses as much data as possible to optimize and better strategize the company’s resources. When the front-end part interacts with the consumer, the information you want to track must be fed into the back-end elements such as web-server, application server, and your database.
Whenever you build an eCommerce platform, you must define your architecture. If you plan to evolve, expand your logistics management software capabilities, and add more tools to your eCommerce business, you should go with microservices architecture. It will allow you to have a separate respiratory for different applications, which means it will be more convenient to delegate work on individual parts to a specific company or a group of people without affecting the integrity of the rest.
Pick a solid DBMS (Database Management System) to manipulate information from your data distribution management software and hierarchies of your products, inventory management parts, users, and other e-commerce related data. It must have the proper infrastructure, scope, and type that fits your online business’ parameters. Looking for a relational database, you might want to go with MySQL or AWS. Oracle or PostgreSQL would be a choice for an object-oriental model. These are more technical questions, but choosing the right tools would set you up for future convenience and scalability.
Once the eCommerce platform is live, and a customer places an order, an inventory management system must recognize that transaction and ping to the employees that a specific item needs to be prepared for shipment. It also must take care of reordering items and optimize the storage logistics by using demand, shelf life, product type, and other relevant information. Tracking your assets across your warehouses or storage units is another feature that could be implemented with the use of barcodes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, or QR codes. Whenever an employee picks up the order, it can scan the item from the control panel using their mobile device. The data will be collected by the application and sent to the database. With more extensive operational performance comes more complex set tasks for the system to handle.
Businesses that own multiple warehouses use a more extensive version of inventory management systems called warehouse management systems (WMS). It offers more control over each warehousing block and gives more automation to how the goods circulate within the warehouses. Large businesses often use custom software development services to develop their own WMS due to the complexity of their operational network that cannot be covered entirely with the prepackaged software.
When the order is prepared and packaged, it’s time for shipping. Here is where delivery management systems come in handy. Such systems include route optimization, GPS tracking, driver & dispatch management, e-commerce payment system integration, and notification automation. It also provides analytics software that stores and demonstrates statistics on specific delivery metrics over time. By integrating it with the CRM system, you can automatically notify your customers about the shipping status or let them communicate with the courier. Once the order is completed, your CRM system will automatically update the order and move it to the category specified by the rules you set.
Larger companies with multiple carriers or large self-owned fleets use more extensive delivery management systems for business optimization called Transportation Management Systems (TMS). This is the standard software for a transportation company. They encompass tools that allow for higher levels of control over multiple areas. Besides more extensive use of dispatch and driver management tools, they include cross-docking solutions, customer portals for adjustments to the deliveries and orders, and communication. They also handle billing and invoicing load optimization tools. They often integrate with the vehicles’ ELD systems for inspection management and fuel control.
If the customer is always right, then your customer relationship management system must listen to the customer. CRM is a vital system by itself. This tool will streamline your sales processes and keep your customers engaged at all times. The goal of the CRM system is to always be responsive to any of the dynamics happening during the purchasing cycle. Whenever a customer submits a form on your website, your CRM system should pick it up and direct it to the proper specialist. Changes to the orders, updates or any specific actions must be collected by the system and manipulated accordingly. In a perfectly constructed digital network, your CRM system must be linked with the above systems to have superb performance and more automation. In addition to marketing automation and sales optimization, it could be connected to the digital payment system of your business and reflect upon any payment processing actions that occur.
When it comes to high operational volume, using notebooks and spreadsheets is far from the past. Modern business requires modern solutions. The traditional tools lack analytics, real-time visibility, customization, convenient visualization tools, integrations with other software, and many more features. Why would a growing business use the same instruments used by college students for homework assignments?