5 Key eCommerce Takeaways From 2015

With 2015 recently passing, it’s a good time to look back at the past year and the ways ecommerce order fulfillment and shipping has changed. There is no doubt the online retail space is evolving fast as the pressure for faster and cheaper delivery continues to shape the industry. Online retailers and carriers alike are working hard to adjust to the demands of this new, dynamic marketplace and the sky-high customer expectations that are part of retail today.

U.S. E-Commerce Sales, 2014-2018

E-commerce sales will reach nearly $500 billion by 2018. Sales (in billions)

E-commerce sales will reach nearly $500 billion by 2018. Sales (in billions). Source: Internet Retailer, eMarketer, Forrester Research

The following list is made up of 5 initiatives we’ve worked on with our customers at PFC over the past year. Each has been effective at reducing logistics costs for our customers while improving service to theirs. The good news is that each idea can be applied by any online retailer with similar results.

Shipping Flexibility

Online retailers and other shippers have become much more open to considering alternative carriers and types of shipping solutions which has made them less beholden to any specific provider. Many shippers are willing to rate shop carriers with the attitude that service will always be about the same. In other words, price trumps concerns over service. This is in large part a response to the pressure many feel to offer free or low cost shipping on customer orders.

Optimizing Costs with Dimensional Pricing

Now that dimensional pricing has been in place for some time, the effect has been digested by the marketplace allowing shippers to better understand and react to its impact. Most have felt it on their bottom line and are figuring out ways to respond. The first thing many are doing is looking for ways to minimize packaging and take every opportunity to trim size and weight as a way to maximize the utilization of space.

Better Returns Management

Returns are something every retailer deals with. The costs can be significant to process a return, but so is losing a customer who has a bad experience making one. Proactive online retailers are taking steps to provide a seamless, cost effective, pain free returns process for customers.

New Approaches to Packaging

Speaking of returns and packaging, there are other creative ways shippers are cutting costs with packaging beyond shipping. Some have begun using returnable and reusable shipping cartons that cut down on both cost and shipping waste. Reusable packaging is an effective method of improving the efficiency of the returns process for both customers and their own reverse logistics operations.

Lean and Fast Inventory Management

With the ever present pressure to cut costs from the supply chain, many retailers are focusing on better inventory management. Gone are the days of bloated inventories and allowing large amounts of capital to be tied up in unsold goods. Retailers have figured out the importance of staying lean as not just a way to lower overall costs, but the best way to keep inventory turning and be nimble to maintain a fresh product mix in their store.

There will be many changes to ecommerce shipping and fulfillment in the coming year as well. Chances are it will involve speeding up delivery times and providing an overall better customer buying experience as ecommerce continues to gain market share and compete with brick and mortar retailers for shopper’s attention.

About PFC Fulfillment

At PFC, our clients’ success is our number one priority. Since 1974, PFC has delivered outstanding quantifiable results, with turnkey solutions in ecommerce fulfillment, backed by leading technology. Retailers who partner with PFC have historically achieved considerable cost savings in excess of 35 percent and have significantly improved their order processing turn times. PFC allows clients to focus on their big picture business goals, while skillfully managing all the details. For more information call (800) 493-7063.

Category: Fulfillment Insights