Operating your supply chain effectively can make or break any e-commerce business. However, too many companies follow the same practices that not only don’t drive operational benefits but can prove harmful to the customer experience.
Leading e-commerce brands have learned how to optimize their logistics networks and work with partners that develop custom solutions for their specific requirements, rather than relying on traditional ‘one size fits all’ approaches.
The first step is to stop following the usual practices that can prevent you from delivering the experience your customers expect. Stord’s team of supply chain and logistics professionals have shared some of the approaches they recommend following and avoiding to optimize your operations.
So, what these overrated practices?
Excessive, Wasteful Packaging
Many e-commerce brands use too much packaging. Not only does it add to the weight of the parcel, it can increase shipping costs which adds to the customer's cost of the product(s), and leads to more environmental waste. Consumers are increasingly sensitive to that and prefer more sustainable approaches.
- Amy Cooper, Health & Beauty Category Leader
In most categories, companies need to stop excessively discounting products, as that can lead to a race to the bottom, and customers not valuing your brand sufficiently. In addition, unless logistics software development is a core competency of your organization, building custom IT systems internally can drive your overall costs higher and delay time-to-value of new applications needed to support a growing business.
- Sean Henry, CEO
Concentrated Parcel Spend
Stop sending all your parcel shipping volume to either Fedex or UPS in hope of getting a larger discount from them. Unless you are a Top 100 shipper, you’re unlikely to get the best rates from any carrier with just your own volume. Investing in better logistics tech and a true fulfillment partner to optimize your last mile delivery process will drive a better ROI on your parcel spend.
- Sarang Damle, Director of Product, OMS
Wasted Packing Slips
Please stop printing packing slips for DTC packages. It is environmentally a waste of paper, adds additional processing time at pack out, and does not improve the customer experience.
- Bradley Weill, VP Product
Cost Focus Over Partnership Alignment
When outsourcing your fulfillment process and looking for a 3PL provider, too many companies simply seek out the lowest bidder and go with that. This focus solely on expense, will in fact cost more in the long run. You’ll find that identifying a fulfillment partner that’s a true extension of your own business – because that’s what they really are – will result in greater overall value. At the end of the day, cultural alignment is way more important for such a crucial part of your business.
- Brad Disher, Senior Account Executive
More Than Just Customer Experience
Brands in 2023 will continue to evaluate how they can make their supply chains a true value add rather than simply being cost centers. Brands will continue to focus on sustainability, cultural impact, and customer experience to increase revenues, simply because that is what the consumer is shifting to. Our mindsets as consumers are slowly shifting to "is this a company I want to buy from?" or "is this company creating excessive waste?" or "is this a brand that my beliefs and values relate to?"
Over the past 17 years, consumers have adapted to expecting deliveries in 2 days or less, because that was the best available option. Now, consumers are going to start focusing on sustainability and cultural impact, not just their customer experience. E-commerce companies need to focus there too.
- Alex Kent, Director of Sales & Supply Chain Therapy Podcast Host
Email order notifications can be overwhelming and annoying towards customers. For example, if I receive emails related to each of the following events: order processing, order confirmation, order shipped, order delivered and feedback/survey, in addition to package shipped and package delivered notifications from the carrier - that's a total of 7 emails for ONE order! That's not helping the e-commerce shopping experience. Brands need to find a balance there somewhere.
- Josh Monski, Software Sales Engineer
Over Reliance on Speed
Trying to reach the consumer in Prime-like delivery speed should not be the only focus . Most customers realize that the number of days to deliver are generally out of the seller’s hands when opting for "free shipping.” Focusing on the FREE in shipping is more appreciated than the exact days in transit. Sellers can always access premium service levels when a specific time in transit is requested.
- Staci Flanders, Senior Account Executive