E-COMMERCE LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT
Online sales are becoming the norm for many fashion companies. The Web is now a real showcase that allows the most well-known brands to strengthen their international presence and young companies to enter and gain competitiveness in the market. The recent pandemic has brought further changes in consumer habits, and E-commerce is playing an increasingly important role. Nevertheless, being on the Web is not enough: quality is no longer sought only in the product, but also in the service. The key to success lies therefore in devising and managing optimizedlogistics flows, where timing, savings and attention to detail are all equally important.
B2B vs. B2C E-commerce
There are 2 basic types of E-commerce models: Business-to-Consumer (B2C), where business relationships are established between business and final consumers, and Business-to-Business (B2B), which encompasses all electronic transactions conducted between companies.
B2C E-commerce focuses on the image and stimulating impulse buying: the purchase is directed at satisfying a personal need and is driven by emotion. The decision-making process is usually faster, but the likelihood of cart abandonment due to doubt is higher. Finally, consumers tend to buy fewer products and less frequently than in traditional shopping.
B2B E-commerce, on the other hand, is the process of marketing and selling products between two businesses online. The focus is on technical and functional information, the purchase is profit-driven and guided by planned choices, and the decision-making process is slower and often preceded by quotations and negotiations. Purchasing is usually based on repeated bulk orders and relationships of trust that are established over time.
E-commerce Logistics: Key Characteristics
Logistics flows in B2B/B2C E-commerce are the same as in traditional sales channels. They start with garments reception, quantity checks and stock management in the warehouses, followed by order receipt, picking, preparation and delivery. Reverse logistics, quality control, restoration, ironing, reconditioning, labeling and other customizable VAS complete the service.
However, E-commerce processing has certain peculiarities:
- Orders: the quantity of garments handled for B2B E-commerce/Marketplace channels is larger if compared to the quantity handled for traditional sales channels. This is because they are destined for virtual shops or platforms. On the contrary, the number of garments prepared and shipped in B2C E-commerce has an average of 1.5/1.7 order pieces.
- Timing: in traditional logistics, processing times are generally AxB, AxC or AxD. In online sales, processing times – from order receipt to delivery – are much shorter and often take less than 24 hours. Many consumers choose to buy online precisely because of the faster delivery time. Timing is therefore a key factor in the quality of the service offered.
- Product Quality: in B2C E-commerce, products are delivered directly into the hands of the end consumers. It is therefore essential that they meet the highest quality standards. Quality control on garments is a fundamental process to guarantee not only the integrity of the product, but the image of the brand itself.
- Custom Packaging: E-shop can be defined as virtual shop windows from which the consumer chooses a product and buys it. The stockist replaces the shop assistant in the preparation and packaging of garments. Unlike traditional sales channels, B2C requires customized packaging and great care for details. The product presentation is completed with wrapping, ribbons, stickers, brochures and advertising materials, personalized greeting cards and other gadgets. All these elements reflect how the brand wants to be perceived.
- Returns Management: It is often the case that a user is discouraged from buying garments online because they fear that the size won’t fit or that the product won’t reflect what they wanted. E-commerce businesses can encourage purchases by facilitating the return procedure and providing the necessary documentation and information: the waybill, courier labels and all the tools needed for the consumer to organize the return easily and opt for a replacement rather than a refund. When managing E-commerce returns, it is also important to check that the garments have not been used or damaged before reconditioning them and putting them back in stock for future allocations. Seals and tags can be used to guarantee the correct management of returns; at the same time, the trained eye of the operator intercepts and intervenes on any possible anomaly.
Interfaces Needed to Manage E-commerce Platforms
Integration between the software and other digital tools is crucial for managing the warehouse and its operations properly, as well as for ensuring data monitoring and transfer. E-commerce businesses can use one of the standardized platforms available on the market or a custom-made system. The WMScan interface directly with the E-commerce platform or receive online sales data from the customers’ ERP. In E-commerce management, integration with the courier allows processing the data needed to perform the service, such as shipping labels and tracking codes. A customizable service such as E-commerce requires specific, tailor-made implementations that only a flexible WMS can guarantee.
E-commerce: Differences with Traditional Sales Channels
E-commerce differs significantly from traditional sales channels, especially in terms of logistics flows and management. The main differencesare:
• Order processing time
• More frequent updating of import and export data
• Real-time stock verification
• Need to provide intermediate progress reports
• Preparation of custom greetings messages or gift boxes
• Integration with couriers for shipment management
• “Real-time” printing of documents to be included in the package, sometimes customized by destination country
• Management of price lists for customs documents
Necessary Tools and Processes for Optimizing E-commerce Warehouse Management
Technological integrations are necessary to optimizeE-commerce warehouse management processes. The outbound phase is the most sensitive in terms of time, costs and quality of service. The B2C model is characterized by shorter transit time and the fragmentation of quantities into single-line orders. Optimization of picking procedures is therefore a priority to increase the efficiency of the warehouse and guarantee a high-level service. In this context, massive planningbecomes central to streamlining performance and ensuring the required turnaround times. Movimoda, thanks to the flexibility of the WMS designed specifically to support Fashion Logistics, we have identified and tested several optimal wave picking solutions and tools, including:
- Multi-operator Put-To-Order RF
- Single-line order packing
How a Flexible Logistics Provider can Bring Valueto E-commerce Businesses
To bring competitive advantages and offer a high-performance service, a provider specializing in logistics management for online sales channels must be flexible and ready to anticipate market changes. It must be able to define storage, picking and packing processes that are specifically designed for E-commerce and that adapt easily to customer needs, taking advantage of all the technologies available today. In short, it must include these key elements in its organization:
- IT Support
- Industry know-how
- Flexible processes
Our Support to Fashion E-commerce Platforms
Movimoda is the ideal logistics provider for all fashion companies looking to position themselves and grow in today’s ever-changing market. With its vertical structure and more than 40 years of experience in logistics for the Fashion Industry, Movimoda is the ideal partner for managing E-commerce warehouse processes, including reverse logistics. We have a flexible organization capable of withstanding work peaks and large order volumes in compliance with schedules and KPIs. We design custom-made projects and innovative solutions for every need, optimizing performance and savings. Our expertise and detailed industry knowledge are key to ensure product quality and efficient returns management. Similarly, the care and attention dedicated to product presentation and packaging customization are key to satisfy a wide range of requests and enhance our clients’ brand image. Thanks to our in-house IT department and proprietary WMS, we provide customized, state-of-the-art information software, structured to interface and implement ever-new technologies. Our international presence enables us to support fashion companies worldwide. By combining the trading service with our customs warehouses, we provide our customers with higher economic flexibility and faster speed of execution.
Benefits of choosing Movimoda as your logistics provider
- Transparent costs
- Tailor-made design
- Flexible service
- Compliance with schedules and KPIs
- Performance optimization
- Quality control
- Returns management
- Custom packaging
- Monitoring of flows and data
- Technological innovation
- Flexible WMS
Efficient E-commerce logistics requires a well-structured warehouse, skilled staff and innovative systems. Extensive and solid know-how allows designing cutting-edge, tailor-made, value-added solutions. As a client, you’re always at the center of our priorities: from process customization to brand image improvement, higher efficiency, greater savings, and time and performance optimization.