Offering quality items at a competitive price is no longer enough for positioning in a market characterized by an increasingly diversified offer and strong competition: in fact, a personalized shopping experience with different options both in terms of delivery times and methods is key to attract new customers and retain those who have already purchased in your online shop. Not all e-commerce, especially in the start-up phase, have well-equipped structures and sufficient staff to cope with these changes in such a dynamic market. This is why third-party logistics often represent the best answer to satisfy an ever more demanding clientele.What is outsourced (or third party) logistics? The term refers to the decision to outsource the management of one's warehouse, transport and delivery services for one's products to an external partner specialized in this field.
This is a strategy that is being embraced by an increasing number of large and small e-commerce companies in need to cope with the constant growth of online purchases - +11% in 2022, according to the data of the latest European E-Commerce Report - and which pushes digital shops to switch from traditional models, managed internally by the company, to more advanced outsourced models, capable of optimizing the production chain and of coping with the elasticity of demand (e.g., management of peaks).
According to data recently published by Statista, outsourced logistics is the ideal solution for SMEs, e-commerce and start-ups and will continue to grow in the coming years, going from a turnover of 67.2 billion euros in 2019 to over 78 billion euros by 2025, highlighting the need for companies to entrust part of the production chain to specialized players capable of offering high service standards. But what are the advantages?
Cost reduction. A company willing to manage the entire supply chain internally, from the storage of the goods to the delivery of the product, must sustain huge investments in terms of infrastructure and buildings, adoption of software for warehouse and shipping management (WMS) as well as staff training. Since this is a significant planning and economic commitment, and not sustainable by all companies, especially those in the start-up phase, third-party logistics services can prove a successful choice: entrusting warehouse management, shipments and delivery to partners equipped with widespread networks and articulated, efficient and tested structures, allows you to modulate the service according to the customer's needs and the resources available.
Optimal warehouse management. One of the most delicate aspects of owning an online shop is the management of stocks, returns and, the increase in space required for the storage of goods during periods of peaks in demand. Using a third-party warehouse can offer important advantages: first, it allows you to respond promptly to market needs, to streamline the storage and shipping processes associated with the management of documentation, thus optimizing space and timing.
Service improvement. According to a research conducted in the USA by the National Retail Federation, 65% of users who buy products online only complete the transaction once checking the shipping conditions. Therefore, the service heavily affects the decision to buy a given product: shipping times, return policies and the ability to customize the packaging are just some of the aspects that can influence the purchasing process. . The use of adequate tools and technology is essential for the supply chain, capable of affecting company productivity. For this reason, a software allowing information on the stock and order processing status to be updated in real time is crucial, making tracking visibility and other detailed information available to users. Choosing a specialized partner allows you to have immediate access to quality instruments, starting with IT tools, capable of integrating logistics and warehouse management processes to offer customers accurate and real time information
Whoever chooses third-party logistics can therefore count on considerable benefits in terms of efficiency and optimization of resources, but that is not all : this strategy is constantly evolving and allows small businesses to become familiar with new ways of managing activities and exploit main industry trends, such as:
Growth of automated processes. Among the trends in third-party logistics, automated procedures, capable of keeping the manufacturing process of an order under control, occupy an increasingly central role. Artificial intelligence and software that integrate inventories in the warehouse and shipment tracking related information are the ideal choice that can increase production efficiency.
Sustainability. The growing awareness and interest in environmental issues and sustainability on consumers and brands’ end, always more oriented towards packaging with ecological materials, is becoming a key factor in the choice of logistics service providers: a trend that cannot be ignored and encourages companies involved to optimize their processes.
Focus on customer experience. users are becoming more and more demanding and attentive to the quality of service, driving companies to devote ever greater attention to customer experience. Tracking of shipments in real time, customized delivery options, rapid and punctual assistance and the possibility to pick delivery and collection times and methods are now essential for positioning yourself in an extremely competitive market.
For e-commerce and small and medium-sized enterprises it is not easy to find solutions capable of providing adequate and timely responses to their customers’ requests. Mail Boxes Etc. is the ideal partner for customized logistics that is in line with your business needs, with flexible and automated solutions, from simple shipping to collection, from warehouse storage to document printing and professional packaging. Contact the closest MBE Center and discover all the professional solutions tailored to your business.