Why e-commerce and D2C businesses choose 3PL for their fulfilment needs
Indian e-commerce has grown and evolved significantly over the last few years. Brands are increasingly turning towards alternative online selling channels beyond ecommerce marketplaces (like D2C and social commerce), to reach consumers. Thereby, requiring fulfilment services beyond the captive logistics of the ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon FBA. Enter Third Party Logistics service providers (3PL). 3PLs allows e-commerce and D2C companies to save time and effort spent on organising and managing a supply chain by insourcing their logistics processes end-to-end, including picking orders from the manufacturing unit, warehousing, packaging, shipping, etc. A market study conducted by Mordor intelligence showed that the Indian 3PL market is expected to register a growth rate of over 11.5% during the period of 2020 to 2025, with D2C and e-commerce entrepreneurs demanding new logistics capabilities and complex solutions from the 3PL service providers to help them in the successful management of supply chain processes, bring down conventional logistics costs and handle more complicated tasks as they scale. In this article, we explore why e-commerce companies are choosing 3PL providers for their fulfilment needs. Rise of e-commerce in India A report by IBEF (India Brand Equity Fund) suggested that the Indian e-commerce market will reach US$ 99 billion by 2024, growing at a 27% CAGR over 2019-24. Source: IBEF (India Brand Equity Fund) Among other things, this growth will be fuelled by the following factors: Increasing internet user-base and smartphone penetration: India has the second-highest active internet user-base globally and is also one of the largest data consumers. As per IBEF report, this number has grown by a significant proportion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow by approximately 60% by 2022. Graph by IBEF on Smartphone user base in India Covid-19 PandemicThe Covid-19 pandemic has also undeniably contributed to the increase in ecommerce sales as citizens were forced to stay indoors.With more and more people staying indoors and on their screens, there has been a fresh influx of first-time online shoppers as well as an increase in online shopping in general in the absence of an offline avenue. The 2021 Global Payments report by Worldpay FIS confirmed this by tracking trends across 41 countries and concluded that digital commerce had accelerated during the pandemic. The report projected the Indian e-commerce market, driven by shopping on mobile, to grow 21% annually over the next four years. There is a good chance many of the first-time online shoppers will permanently shift a part of their shopping online, given that online shopping appeals to the time and comfort conscious consumers leading busy lives. Logistics providers that are driving the Indian ecommerce industry There are primarily three types of logistics service providers (LSPs) that are driving ecommerce fulfilment in India. Traditional LSPs, Captive LSPs and e-commerce retail-focused LSPs. In 2018, an in-depth analysis by KPMG showed that e-commerce retail-focused LSP’s (logistics service providers) occupied 28% of the e-commerce retail logistics sector, and this number has been increasing. E-commerce retail-focused 3PLs E-commerce retail-focused 3PLs are designed specifically to handle the demands of e-commerce fulfillment, a lot more intensive operation than offline distribution and fulfillment. Some 3PLs are equipped to work best with startups and SMEs and provide plug-n-play substitute to building infrastructure, while still giving access to demand analytics, fulfillment infrastructure and advanced WMS technologies. Many SME’s and startups are choosing to take advantage of this. And some of the benefits include: Decentralising inventory for one or two-day delivery without investing time and resources on building infrastructure. (e.g., warehouses, forklifts, labor, etc) Alternative to hassles of fulfill orders in-house or via other captive marketplace logistics Saving several hours a week packing boxes and shipping orders. More time for strategic projects like marketing and product development. Lower minimum order requirement __________________________________________________________________________ Looking for a fulfillment service provider for your e-commerce or D2C business? WareIQ is a 3PL offering end-to-end fulfillment services that include smart inventory management, strategic and customised warehousing solutions and tech-focused optimisation of your supply chain to meet fast shipping timelines and boost sales. Get in touch to know more.
May 13, 2021
How can your Brand stand out with effective yet cool packaging!
Customer Delight”. The buzzword that is crucial during your customer’s unboxing experience! Designing this aspect of customer experience is an integral part of establishing an impressive brand. While shipping materials could often be an afterthought for most brands, an emphasis on branded shipping cartons can help your brand capitalize on retaining current customers. How? Let us show you Staying On-Brand A branded experience shouldn’t end when you receive an order. Ensuring your shipping materials and packing process are on-brand will help your company deliver an experience most customers will remember. When your customer receives a shipped package from your brand, their very first impression of your product is going to be the carton. From there, what is the first thing they see upon opening it? And the next? From start to finish, there are many opportunities for your company to deliver a memorable experience that solidifies your brand identity. Components of a Branded Shipping Experience Shipped products should be packaged in a way that enhances the customer’s experience of your brand. The order in which items are presented can add massive value and streamline a customer’s shopping experience. Outer Packaging of a Fulfillment Container The first thing your customer sees upon delivery is the outer packaging of your fulfillment container. An important question to ask when choosing outer packaging is this: Should my company’s shipping packaging be branded or not? For companies shipping products that require discretion – such as adult products or high-end products – a plain and unbranded outer package is likely preferred, in order to prevent theft in transit or prying eyes from neighbours. For other products – especially perishable food items – it can be important to mark or brand the outside of the box to alert recipients of the package contents immediately upon receiving delivery. If your product doesn’t fit into either of those categories, consider what is best for your customer and your company. Will custom printed boxes and packaging material enhance your customer’s experience? If so, that can result in an increase in your company’s bottom line. If custom printed boxes aren’t right for your brand (or if it’s currently outside of your company’s bootstrapped budget), another option to consider is pre-designed non-branded coloured boxes. These can be enhanced with a simple creative solution such as using a stamp to add branding or a sticker used as a seal on the outside of the parcel. Custom-printed packing tape is another great way to add branding elements to your shipping process. An additional perk of custom packing tape is that it serves to dissuade tampering during transit of a product. Inner Packaging of a Fulfillment Container Choosing the inner packaging of your fulfillment container is another superb opportunity to highlight your branding. While many items are shipped with packing nuts, paper, foam, bubble wrap, etc you may differentiate your shipping experience by using materials that are more aligned with the ethos of your brand. For companies looking to promote their eco-friendly ethics, opting for biodegradable packaging or recycled materials shows your customers that you care about minimizing environmental waste. This gives customers the satisfaction of investing in a brand that promotes ethical, sustainable practices, which makes them feel even better about purchasing Do you have a particular thematic colour scheme associated with your brand? Crinkle paper comes in most colours. Tissue, perhaps a more elegant option, can be printed with your company’s watermark! Box Inserts Once the box is opened, will you take this moment to present your customer with something in addition to what was ordered? This stage in the fulfillment process is often overlooked, but it can greatly enhance the customer’s experience of unboxing their order. Here are some different options and ideas for box inserts: Customization Opportunities Personal touches At volume - handwritten notes aren’t feasible, a printed note card is more than adequate to evoke a similar welcoming feeling. Consider taking this opportunity to thank your customer or formally welcome them to your brand. Even packing slips can be personalized with a signature or stamp that says, “Packed for you by ____.” This reminds customers that your business is run by real humans who care about the customer experience. In an increasingly automated world, these simple human touches can make your brand stand out. Postcard inserts Feature a call to action, such as an invitation to join a social media contest. Ask customers to document their experience with a photo of their new products. Share your company’s origin story or brand values. Include an on-brand quote or introduction. Companies that offer high-touch support can invite customers to contact customer service with questions or feedback. Promotional material such as a discount code for future orders will encourage repeat sales and maximize a customer’s lifetime value. Gifts Delight your customers with an unexpected free item such as stickers, freebies, or other bonuses. If your products can be distributed in sample sizes, this is a great cross-sell technique to introduce your customer to a new or complementary product. For the proper effect, the product sample must be of interest to the specific customer segment, based on the product ordered. Random or non-complementary gifts can have an adverse effect and may appear to be a tool for liquidating stale inventory.
March 18, 2021
When Should I Use a Fulfillment Center for FBA Prep Services?
Fonts must be clear. Labels must not be faded. A direct thermal or laser printer must be used. Only certain types of packaging material allowed …. And the checklist on how to prepare inventory for FBA or Fulfillment By Amazon goes on… and on… and on. Amazon ships 35 items a second and that’s because FBA runs like a well-oiled machine. But it can be a mind-boggling overload of instructions and information for vendors. Failing to comply with FBA preparation requirements may result in being charged for non-compliance, and products being returned, disposed of, or blocked from future shipments. And that’s not a situation any vendor wants to be in. A fulfillment centre for FBA prep services can lift the weight off your shoulders Using the right service, like the one offered by WareIQ for instance, will ensure your inventory is prepared according to Amazon’s regulations and standards and delivered to Amazon. WareIQ is a software-only platform that connects and centralizes a nationwide network of fulfillment centers and last-mile couriers. Once products are sent into a prep service, you can focus on other aspects of your business, like sales, marketing and scaling up for instance! So, when do you use an FBA prep service? ~ If you are looking to comply with Amazon’s scheduled delivery Prep services ensure proper packaging and preparation which helps to reduce delays in receive time. Taking scheduled appointments in the Amazon Fulfillment Center is a hassle because of the complex checklist of items to be executed. There are chances of missing the time slot leading to stock rejection. Stock preparation needs to follow Amazon guidelines which is a thorough process that WareIQ staff is trained in. WareIQ offers FBA prep services that ensure quality control, streamlining and adherence to Amazon standards whether it comes to fragile item preparation, repackaging thousands of SKUs to simply labelling products correctly with barcodes. WareIQ’s automated order fulfillment system ensures efficient and accurate picking and packing. ~ If you are looking to save money Keeping track of a lot of different stock keeping units or SKUs that require different prep services can be tricky. You have to ask yourself if your business can afford to have its products returned or be billed a non-compliance fee for failure to meet FBA standards. Outsourcing FBA prep is a cost-effective way to move inventory. With WareIQ's smart technology, SKUs are mapped across sales channels for efficient fulfillment. Also, with WareIQ you’ll only pay for what you use, which means if you ship only one product in a month, you’ll only pay a pick and pack fee for that one. WareIQ books slot for clients on their behalf and offer bulk shipping with multiple sellers thereby ensuring cost efficiencies. ~ If you are looking to save space FBA doesn’t just take up mind space, it takes up a whole lot of physical space as well. De-palletizing and repackaging, and storing packing materials such as poly mailers, fragile item wrapping, or labels can take up a lot of space, which most vendors do not have. In this case, a fulfillment center may be a great option. WareIQ has the bandwidth to fulfill 1 to 10,000+ orders each day. And finally, if you are looking to save on resources Think about what you could be doing with the resources it takes to manage FBA prep. Outsourcing to a fulfillment centre can help you focus on growing your core business.
March 11, 2021
3 things to know about WareIQ’s Next-Day Delivery
The ubiquity of internet access has levelled the retail playing field, making it easy for individuals and businesses to sell products without geographic limitation. eCommerce shopping is growing rapidly in India. The backbone of any successful eCommerce retailer is its logistics strategy and how quickly and efficiently it can fulfill orders to customers. Why is logistics so crucial? As more transactions move towards online, customers want what they order almost as instantly as they would get it if they were in a physical store. This expectation is largely attributable to one company: Amazon. It was only a few years ago that acceptable delivery timeframes were 5-7 business days. But definitely no today! Amazon has transformed the market in such a way that free, two-day shipping is now the accepted norm and that’s quickly evolving into a one-day expectation. One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce retailers is shopping cart abandonment. Sixty-nine per cent of all online shopping carts are abandoned. Multiple sources of industry research confirm that the number one reason is due to high shipping costs. So, one antidote to shopping cart abandonment is faster, more affordable shipping. And one antidote to Amazon is being able to deliver at a comparable cost and speed. The answer? Next-day delivery. Reaching your end-user within a next-day delivery is made possible with a larger, dynamic fulfillment network. But it doesn’t come without its challenges. As more and more retailers seek to compete with Amazon and offer fast, low-cost delivery to customers, here are the top 3 things to know about a next-day delivery fulfillment network like WareIQ: Identifying the Right Fulfillment Locations Allocating and Managing Inventory Evolving Customer Delivery Promises 1. Identifying the right fulfillment locations The crux of offering next-day delivery to your customers is adding more fulfillment centers to your distribution network. Traditional means of doing that have either meant you buy and operate your own facilities and resources, you outsource to a 3PL, or you go through Amazon’s fulfillment services. Next-day delivery from WareIQ is different. Instead of investing in fixed assets, long-term lease commitments, or Amazon’s services, you can leverage our marketplace of already-operating facilities that have excess space and resources for warehousing and fulfillment services. But, if you want to reach 95% of your customers with next-day delivery, how do you know how many fulfillment centers to add and where to add them? At WareIQ, we’ll start by running a full network analysis that models various fulfillment scenarios using your actual backend data. Based on your fulfillment goals for time and cost, we’ll work with you to find the most cost-effective network scenario to achieve these goals. 2. Allocating and managing inventory Having more locations in your network does complicate how you manage and allocate your inventory. However, there are several ways to work through this along with WareIQ. As you move into more WareIQ locations, what should you consider when planning for inventory? Decentralized demand increases uncertainty and variability and makes forecasts harder to pin down. Regional and local preferences may create a different mix of inventory at each location Rebalancing inventory between locations may be required Here are three ways to keep your inventory in check as you grow your network: Understand the needs of your customers: We can help you move to next-day fulfillment to all of your customers, but is next-day shipping their expectation for all of your products? Analyzing historic inventory backorders can provide a rough understanding of what you’ll need at each location, and performing A/B testing can help quantify the improvements to conversion that’s associated with shorter ship times. Start with your top-performing SKUs: Inventory allocation becomes exponentially more complicated when you combine your high- and low-performing SKUs at the regional and local level. As you begin to offer faster ship times, start with your top performers and allocate those by region. Keep it simple. Proactively manage your projects and relative inventory: In the early stages, you may need to spend more time managing inventory. Take it slowly and measure every move until you can better predict and proactively manage inventory and its allocation. We’re also here to help you make the most of your network. We can partner with you to help you analyze and forecast demand, establish the right mix of A, B, and C SKUs. 3. Evolving customer delivery promises WareIQ’s Next-Day Delivery is designed to help you improve your fulfillment strategy with a solution that makes sense for your business. This can be done in three ways: Drive growth: You can reach more of your customers faster through a network that offers the flexibility and scalability traditional 3PLs and warehousing solutions can’t Cut costs: Eliminate traditional warehousing expenses and get the right inventory to the right location at the right time for the right cost Reduce risk: Control your own brand experience by delivering to your customers in your own brand collaterals and packaging As you refine your fulfillment strategy, you can begin to evolve your customer delivery promise and differentiate yourself from your competitors. For high-growth eCommerce retailers, your logistics strategy is the backbone of your business. To Know about WareIQ Next-Day Delivery - www.wareIQ.com
March 04, 2021
The benefits of selling D2C
Obviously cutting the middleman out of the equation provides the potential for brands to earn a higher margin and have direct access to their consumers and their data. But there are other notable benefits of selling D2C, which we explain below: Benefit #1 To gain a better understanding of the customer Before the intervention of D2C, manufacturers rarely interacted with the people who purchased their product. Sure, brands may try to get a good understanding of their target market by doing research and conducting surveys. But trying to understand your customers through these methods isn’t necessarily the best way to get to know them. Ideally, you need to have direct contact with your customer through every stage of the sale process, this also includes the communication that you have with the customer after you sold the product. These types of interactions are very hard to replicate in a focus group. To give you an example, it is widely known that consumers in the US want to eat healthily. GlobalData reports that 87 per cent of consumers in the US check the ingredients before they purchase a food product, and 75 per cent are concerned about consuming too much processed and unhealthy foods. But on the contrary, those same customers, who have said they want to eat healthily, also want to indulge in a gourmet burger served with fries. D2C enables brands to gain direct insights into their consumers and gather data that accurately reflect their behaviour. Benefit #2 Faster GTM (go to market) Besides being stuck in their ways, another reason why most legacy brands tend to shy away from innovation is that of the extreme risks involved. On average, a new product launch takes between 18 to 36 months - too slow, right? That’s exactly what customers feel. In D2C, manufacturers can take quick decisions allowing them to launch a new innovative product on a smaller scale but faster. Manufacturers can develop a specific product, test it within a very tight demographic, and then get their feedback. This enables large manufacturing firms to understand what their customers love and hate about the product so they can make the required adjustments where appropriate. Benefit #3 Increased control over brand, product, and reputation In a traditional manufacturing-retailer relationship, manufacturers could only have full control over their packaging and their outbound marketing activities like TV commercials and billboards. Once the product hits the shelves, larger brands no longer have control in trying to influence the sale. Even though these large brands try to influence as much as they can through commercial advertisements, if retailers struggle to sell their product, then they’re at risk of incurring a loss. With D2C, firms maintain complete control over their brand from the moment a customer makes their initial engagement right up until the product has been purchased.
February 24, 2021
Strategies to decrease your RTOs with WAREIQ
According to a recent study by KPMG, return shipments can make up to 20% of total shipments in e-commerce. This rate climbs to 40% in case of Cash on delivery (COD) orders. Return to Origin (RTO) is a nightmare for sellers as it significantly increases the logistic costs. RTOs rates are expected to increase even further in India with demand surges in tier 2 and 3 cities. Given the situation, reverse logistics has become an integral part of a business plan. Given the convenience of online shopping and the lack of risk, buyers can frequently return items without second thoughts. RTO logistics become extremely important to decrease this trend as well as the costs involved. How vastly does RTO affect your business? The sheer amount of revenue lost by companies through return items is about 20% of the sale, and that’s exactly where WareIQ pitches in to help you save the costs. We optimize your return order logistics and improve overall efficiency with the help of insights derived from customer data, customer retention metrics and return policies. What sets WareIQ apart? Quick TAT (Turn around time): Logistic partners provide an estimated delivery timeline based on which the customers anticipate the delivery. If it fails to reach them as per this expectation, there is a risk of an RTO and the customer opting to order from a competitor. This also affects customer retention rate. With WareIQ’s Amazon-like shipping, data-driven insights, PAN-India network of warehouses and excellent supply chain management system, orders reach the customers on time as promised. This ensures a higher rate of First attempt delivery, thus reducing the breach of TAT. Higher and Efficient First Attempt Strike Rate (FASR): Delivery success in the first attempt ensures happy customers and helps in their retention. This is an important metric since lower returns imply lower logistics costs on RTO. With WareIQ’s structured incentive plans, delivery partners are encouraged to deliver maximum shipments in the first attempt thereby increasing the FASR. Improved Non-delivery Report (NDR) conversion: Knowing the customer’s intent before performing the last mile delivery can save a lot of time costs related to RTOs. This can be achieved by validating the attempted shipments by directly communicating with customers via phone calls, SMS, e-mail, WhatsApp, etc. Any change of preference or cancellation or order can be recorded and shared to the shipping partner in real-time to decide whether to “Reattempt the delivery” or “Make RTO”. Performing this manually at scale is almost impossible. With WareIQ’s innovative solutions, most of it can be automated via IVR (Interactive voice response) calling, auto-SMS, auto-mailer, Whatsapp alerts, etc. This also keeps the customer well informed and creates an impact on improving the delivery conversion percentage. In the auto NDR process, the customer will get an IVR call immediately after a failed delivery or when the NDR remark is updated by the delivery personnel. Automation makes the entire process quick and efficient. Wrong or incomplete address: Amidst the huge traffic across the supply chain and sometimes because of consumer’s ignorance, deliveries often end up attached with wrong or incomplete addresses. This is also one of the major reasons for RTO. Address validation becomes important in this context. WareIQ ensures this authenticity with various checks on the same. This increases the chances of successful delivery. In case of an incorrect address, shipping is cancelled prior to dispatch. It allows not only for lower RTO but also avoids wasteful shipping costs. Automated partner pin code allocations: With WareIQ’s cutting edge technology, pin code allocation is automated. This altogether eliminates the hassles of manual allocations thus lowering the cost of shipping & RTO as well as increasing serviceability and speed of delivery. Making changes in allocations is complex and takes a good amount of time. The system analyzes historic RTO percentages and cost per shipment (forward + RTO) to optimize the allocation and ensure that the courier with the lowest possible cost is chosen for the given pin codes. Such efficiency and cost reductions are not possible with manual processes. This also saves a lot of time in processing and shipping the orders. Beyond the Amazon-like next-day deliveries, WareIQ also solves several pressing problems that sellers face and RTO is one of them, as we have seen. Ready to supercharge your deliveries? Get in touch with us now!
January 24, 2021
4 Common eCommerce Pain Points and how WareIQ can help
There can be nine good reasons to place an order on your eCommerce platform but a single bad reason is enough to drive the customer away. Even something that might seem trivial can have a huge impact on deciding if the customer wants to place orders on your platform. In fact, only about 30% of the potential customers complete the same. Why is it so? The answer is simple- you fail to deliver what you promise or your competitor offers a better service and you simply don’t meet the customer expectations. There are two broad ways to tackle this- Enhance the user experience on your website. Ideally, it should be as seamless and optimized as possible. Enhance the overall customer service delivered beyond your website. With changing consumer trends and fast-tracked digital adoption and eCommerce growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, customer expectations have increased rapidly. It becomes quintessential to improvise subtle aspects of your website and service to beat the competition. In this article, we will discuss various pain points of the supply chain and logistics that can cost your business and how WareIQ can help you in dealing with the same. Hiding shipping costs can be an expensive mistake Cart abandonment (wherein the customer adds items to their cart but doesn’t complete their order) is one of the major problems for eCommerce websites. According to a study by Baymard Institute, up to 50% of the customers quoted extra hidden charges from shipping as the reason for abandoning the cart at checkout. Customers prefer to know the total cost of the product right away. Any additional costs popping up during checkout can be an unpleasant experience. It can suddenly feel like too much or out of their budget. Conversion becomes difficult and the customer would be prompted to explore other options to try to get a cheaper deal. The solution - Let the customer know the shipping charges before the final checkout. Ideally, a modern-day customer expects free shipping (at least at a certain price threshold). Firms like Amazon have set high benchmarks for the same with their free prime delivery. What if you are unable to provide free shipping or even reduce the cost of the same? Showing it upfront can make everything look costly for the consumer. This can be addressed in multiple ways. You can modify your pricing strategy to cover the shipping charges within the product cost but brand yourself for free deliveries. You can bore the shipping expenses from your side on behalf of the customer to improve loyalty/retention and hope that the net long term revenue is improved. You make a smart choice to partner with WareIQ and actually reduce your shipping charges significantly- a win-win for both the seller and the buyer. So, how exactly is WareIQ able to do it? It is the result of a PAN-India decentralised network that WareIQ hosts to make shipping efficient and cost-effective. With optimised inventory placement closer to the customer, shipping charges are reduced. Customer service can get affected by things beyond your control The level of customer service provided is directly reflected in the online reviews and word of mouth recommendations. In many cases, mistakes by a 3PL provider or some external agent in the supply chain can affect the consumer-facing brand value. For example, a delayed delivery by your logistics provider brings a negative review to your brand. The reputation you hold among your customers is influenced both by how you deal with customer complaints or assist them online as well as the offline ecosystem you work with. What’s worse than a delayed delivery is not addressing it on time and being accountable by giving personalised feedback to the customer. With WareIQ in the picture, a lot of things become easy to manage. Firstly, you need not worry about the delivery part and how shipments are handled by the offline staff. You will also be provided with a branded tracking page to take timely actions as required. RTOs/NDRs are also efficiently handled by WareIQ without any delays. It enables you to have faster returns processing with quicker and more efficient returns approval, pickup and cash recovery cycle. Ageing inventory and how to deal with it Have you ever faced issues with your stock cluttering up in your warehouse? Slow-moving products and those in low demand can be difficult to sell. They end up taking your precious inventory space. This can directly increase your operational costs. On top of this, going out of stock frequently for high demand products is a huge red flag for the business. If customers don’t get the products they want and when they want it, they will simply lose their trust and loyalty in your services. Poor inventory managed can also lead to misplaced orders, delayed deliveries, and poor tracking- all of which can directly affect your sales and have a long term impact on your business. All these issues can be tackled with smart inventory management that WareIQ provides. Once you plug in WareIQ into your supply chain, you can generate insight on inventory placements by locations to offer fast shipping. WareIQ will then take care of optimally shipping the inventory to the customers. It can also recommend inventory placement across their decentralised network based on supply and demand trends ensuring that the stock is available where it should be. WareIQ shipping engine is integrated to all major national couriers & same-day delivery providers. Sellers can go by default “Intelligent Mode” or easily configure their own preferences. Handling the issues due to low quality/untrained on-ground personnel Your customer has placed the order and you have taken care of all the logistics required smoothly and shipped it successfully. What can go wrong now? In fact, a lot of things in the last-mile delivery, which actually puts the product in your customer’s hands- the ultimate end goal. We have seen in a previous article on how WareIQ can help you deal with these challenges. One of the major issues you can face is with the on-ground personnel who don’t handle the packages well and make mistakes with the delivery. A lot of the last mile challenges due to poor handling can be overcome with smart customized solutions that WareIQ provides. Customers expect to get their package delivered without any hitches and experience a smooth unboxing. Branded packaging helps. It also makes it easy for delivery personnel to handle it. Amazon is a great example in this context, and WareIQ can provide the same level of experience with its predefined packing guidelines. Sellers can also avail discounted rates from the supplier network with branded packaging options. With a robust tracking system in place, things get easy to monitor. Endnotes Addressing the eCommerce pain points where a third party is the cause of them can be difficult. If there is some issue with your online website, you can probably seek some optimization with your in house developer team or your software vendor. In case of offline issues in the supply chain like we have seen, things get tricky with a lot of variables involved. Partnering with someone trusted and efficient like WareIQ, which has the technology and infrastructure to deal with such issues at scale can immensely help in mitigating the same.
December 10, 2020
The Importance of Last-Mile Delivery for your E-commerce Business and how WareIQ always “Delivers”
Processing and delivering an online order isn’t as direct as it sounds. Once an order is placed, it goes through several stages in the supply chain before the delivery is complete. One of the most important and the final step of this process is “Last-mile delivery”. It involves dispatching the products to the end customers. Ultimately it is the last-mile delivery that determines if the product reaches the customer safely and on time, and this doesn’t come cheap. A report from Frost & Sullivan estimates that up to 40% of total logistics costs can be associated with the last mile. Given the importance of the last-mile in the supply chain, businesses including the e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart have been investing their resources to address these key challenges. How exactly does the last-mile impact your business? The last-mile carriers generally work towards delivering the product from an intermediate shipping centre to the final destination. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in this phase that can impact your brand and the overall profits. Some of the major issues businesses can encounter in last-mile delivery include- Return of orders and the rising cost of logistics While order cancellations are common in e-commerce, one of the major reasons for the return of orders by customers can happen due to the mistakes occurring in the last-mile of delivery. Delayed deliveries, inability to track the packages properly, delivery of damaged goods and misplacing orders- all of them can lead to higher returns. Most of these mishaps can happen due to the negligence of the 3PL partner or lack of technological capabilities that can prevent these issues. Return of orders increases your logistics cost further. They also affect your market share and customer loyalty. According to a report by KPMG, up to 20% of the total e-commerce shipments are return orders. This shows the scale of the problem and how much costs can be saved by minimizing the same. Return to Origin (RTO) This is another major issue that sellers face. It simply refers to sending back the order to the seller when it cannot be delivered to the customer. This can happen due to wrong addresses mentioned in the order or when the customer is not present/denies to accept the order, etc. Such incidents can lead to additional reshipping costs. Unable to address the rising demand in tier 2 and 3 cities With better internet connectivity, e-commerce demands have been rapidly rising in tier 2 and 3 cities of India. The last-mile delivery in this case presents its own unique challenges. The fulfilment centre of your 3PL partner might be far from the delivery location. The interconnectivity between them can affect delivery speeds. Flipkart and Amazon are trying to solve this by partnering with local retail owners and creating pickup points from where the customers can collect their order. Remote locations are even difficult to handle. Not meeting customer expectations Given the benchmarks that e-commerce giants like Amazon set, customers tend to expect the same elsewhere. They expect fast deliveries and may not care about the complications that can happen in the last mile. For example, harsh weather conditions, or a local lockdown can disrupt the delivery timelines. Customers also expect durability in their deliveries. They seek flexible timings and cheaper costs at their end- like the Amazon prime free delivery. Such a level of service is almost impossible without optimising the supply chain in the last-mile. What can you do to improve your supply chain? With a growing fragmented market, there is a lot of unpredictability in the supply and demand trends. Having a decentralized inventory stored across multiple warehouses and demand centres across the country can cater to such dynamic markets. Data-driven and analytics-based solutions can further help with business intelligence and are vital to understanding these trends better. They can guide businesses with smart inventory placement, cost optimization, etc. Having better order tracking solutions will be beneficial to both customers and businesses by ensuring that the orders are not misplaced or rerouted at any stage and are delivered on time. How WareIQ is able to solve the challenges in last-mile deliveries? The distance of the final shipping centre from your customers’ location is one of the major factors that can determine how fast the last mile delivery can be performed. The closer the fulfilment centre is to the final delivery location, the faster it can be delivered. It also implies that you will be travelling a lesser distance to make that delivery, saving some transportation cost. The math is direct, and this directly affects the volume and costs involved in handling your return orders too. WareIQ is able to bring your inventory closer to your customer with its PAN-India fulfilment network. For example, Organic Riot, a consumer brand was able to leverage this network to perform a 2-day delivery to over 85% of their orders. This was only 22% earlier when they shipped through their central warehouse. With WareIQ handling the logistics, the return rate was reduced to just 3 per cent. In another instance, a prominent D2C brand faced a high RTO rate (25-30%) due to various last-mile challenges like non-verified COD orders, fake delivery attempts by courier partners, and slower speed. WareIQ enabled COD and NDR verification through automated SMS and IVR calls to prevent these issues. It was also possible to bring their inventory closer to demand centres using the fulfilment network in metros. This resulted in a reduction in the RTO rate to just 6%. Conclusion Last-mile delivery is one of the most discussed topics among e-commerce brands due to the high costs it incurs and the scope for innovation. As such, optimising it with the help of modern-day technologies is important to stay ahead in the e-commerce race. Some of the key metrics to track in this context include the rate of return of orders, failures and delays in deliveries and RTO. With its multifaceted nationwide network of fulfilment centres, WareIQ is a proven solution that can help you deliver your orders faster.
December 04, 2020
Decentralized Inventory for changing Indian buyer behaviour
For a very long time, operating via a central warehouse has been the de-facto approach for businesses to store and distribute their inventory to consumers. It is easy to manage everything in one place. It might also appear cost-effective compared to having a decentralized network where you have multiple warehouses spread across different cities. The complexities associated with it is what prompts businesses to not opt for it. However, the market trends have changed dramatically in the last few years in favour of decentralized inventory. The rise of Amazon and the COVID-19 pandemic have been an eye-opener to the pros of this approach. Online shopping is no longer limited to the metros or major cities in India. In fact, over 60-70% of the orders come from Tier 2 & 3 cities. With better access to fast and affordable internet, this share is expected to increase even further. Handling this demand via decentralized inventory could be a game-changer for any business as they try to scale in the highly competitive e-commerce market. When does a centralized inventory fail? In a fast-paced world, speed is everything. Customers would prefer to shop with brands like Amazon that are able to offer it. With a centralized inventory, it is almost impossible to compete with the modern-day expectation of superfast delivery. To add to it, any system with a single point of failure is risky. It brings down the entire network along with it. Your central warehouse is just like that. The supply chain can be disrupted due to unforeseen consequences like natural disasters and emergencies. A centralized inventory also fails to capitalize on many modern-day technological advancements for supply chain optimization and data-driven decision making. Why should a business move to decentralized inventory? At a high level, there are two simple reasons- (1) You want to serve your customers faster and better. (2) You want to stay efficient in your operations by building a resilient supply chain network. Let’s take an example of a business based out of Delhi where they have their central warehouse. You notice a sudden surge in orders from Chennai. The traditional approach would be to ship your inventory to the customer location directly from Delhi, no matter the distance. It is almost impossible to make a quick delivery in this context. If a competitor is able to deliver a similar product faster than you, the customer would most likely prefer to shop with them instead. Now, what if you are under a local lockdown, have some issues with transportation, or if there was some power blackout? Longer delays can make the customer cancel their order. If you have a portion of your inventory stored at Chennai, you can seamlessly make the deliveries on time. That’s exactly what decentralized inventory helps you achieve. You can also stock up beforehand by observing trends and predicting market demand. The overall service will become more agile, competitive, and efficient. What might have taken 15 days to process and deliver before can now be done in 1 day? Amazon is able to do it with its warehouses present across more than 12 states in India. This has significantly improved its brand as a fast delivery network, an important factor that makes the customer place more orders with them. Once an Indian buyer is used to such a seamless service, their expectations for faster delivery grows. Failing to meet them can affect customer retention. How can you do it too? Establishing a decentralized network and managing the logistics of the entire supply chain can sound like a lot of work. For businesses that don’t have multiple self-owned warehouses, it can seem costly and time-consuming. That’s exactly where the WareIQ platform comes into the picture. It can help you seamlessly decentralize your inventory and manage the necessary logistics in an efficient manner. WareIQ does all the work for you including procuring and storing the inventory at their network of fulfilment centres spread across the country. What does having such a decentralized inventory/supply chain mean to your brand and service? Faster Pan-India delivery with better shipping timeline/tracking. Data-driven optimization of your business. Efficient and smart inventory placement powered by the philosophy of “supply where there is demand”. Helping meet the customers’ expectation of an Amazon level service. Reducing cancellations due to delays in delivery. Benefits to business and consumers- a win-win situation. Managing a central warehouse is cheaper but it comes at the cost of the cons we have discussed earlier. Outsourcing the decentralization of your inventory to a platform like WareIQ can actually bring down the overall costs as it improves business and customer retention. It also helps in achieving better operational efficiency- i.e provide superior services to the customers at the same cost. Also, managing local demand surges and scaling your business in new cities becomes easier. For a customer, it means faster delivery (within 1 day) and options like same-day pickups. They may no longer be bound to Amazon when they expect the same. It also increases their reliability and trust in the brand. Endnotes E-commerce isn’t the only industry that can benefit from decentralized logistics. The same applies to pharma, healthcare, hardware industry, etc. that may operate on a B2B level. With changing customer expectations, the older way of doing things no longer works. Centralized warehousing is not well equipped to deal with fragmented demand and the dynamic markets that exist today, the positive impact on sales and overall growth due to decentralized inventory can surpass the costs incurred in setting it up, especially when using platforms like WareIQ. The ultimate USP of decentralization is rather straightforward. No matter what product we sell, if it is not put in the consumer’s hands before the competitors, businesses risk losing their market share.
November 26, 2020
Supercharging your e-commerce growth by partnering with the right fulfilment provider like WareIQ
Did you know that partnering with the right 3rd Party Logistics provider (3PL) can be the X-factor to growing your e-commerce business? Well handled logistics is what ultimately brings the value you promise to the doorsteps of your customers. Any mistake in this process, like misplacing inventory, damaging the stock, performing wrong deliveries, etc. can be costly for your brand. It not only affects your immediate profits but also long term potential as customers who fall victim to these errors may not place further orders with you. Whether you manage your own warehouse or partner with a 3PL provider, it is important to keep track of a few metrics in your business, given the scale at which this can affect you. It might also be possible that you are not tapping into the complete modern-day benefits that a good 3PL provider can give. Noticing the red flags- When should you consider changing your fulfilment provider? There are a lot of things that can hold you back when it comes to fulfilment providers. Here are some of the prominent signs that are an immediate red flag. The cost of your logistics are rising but not your profits. Your inventory is not in the right place at the right time to cater to the increasingly distributed demands of your customers. You are repeatedly failing to make those deliveries on the committed timelines. You see a rise in cancellations and return of orders. The customer reviews and ratings are plummeting. Remember that these ratings are heavily influenced by how the product is delivered to them by your 3PL partner. You are planning to scale your business to new cities but facing challenges in the same. You seem to miss out on the latest technologies and order tracking/reporting software that can collect key metrics and optimize your supply chain. All these observations are a direct result of how your 3PL provider manages your logistics. Once you notice that things are not working as expected, it is time to change your strategy and look for a new partner. Questions to ask while choosing your new 3PL provider (and why WareIQ is the perfect answer to your requirements) You have to consider a bunch of factors while choosing a fulfilment provider. Here are some important questions to ponder before you make your decision: Does the 3PL provider have a PAN-India presence? It is your key takeaway in partnering with a 3PL and cannot be compromised. For instance, WareIQ has a network that can cover 90% of cities in India with over a million population for next-day delivery. That’s the kind of presence you should look for. How easy is it to scale? Traditional 3PLs that have vertical integrations face certain limits in this aspect. A decentralised network that WareIQ has allows us to scale to new demand centres quickly. Does the fulfilment provider have minimum requirements or rigid contract sizes, terms, etc? You will find that most providers would have certain criteria which may not be favourable for all parties and at all times. A good provider must be flexible with client requirements. For example, WareIQ provides the option of micro-fulfilment where you can start with something as small as a single rack. Does the provider give technology-powered value-added services? In today’s data-driven world, analytics on inventory placement and supply chain can be extremely helpful in staying efficient and cost-effective in all our operations. WareIQ is able to provide the same with its in-house software platform. How easy is it to integrate your business into the supply chain of your 3PL partner? When you are shifting to your new partner, you might not want to wait for too long before the end to end flow is setup. A traditional 3PL firm might take from 3 to 6 months for the same. WareIQ is able to onboard new partners within a week! How will partnering with the right 3PL provider make things better for your business? The immediate and the most important benefit you can get is the ability to safely deliver your products across the country (including tier 2 and 3 cities) faster than ever before. It will give you the wings needed to provide an Amazon level service. Beyond this, there are other interesting benefits. Once you hand over the management of logistics to a right 3PL provider like WareIQ, you will be able to make time to focus on other important aspects of your business like brand marketing, launching new products, etc. The job of getting them to your customers is out of your concerns with a trusted partner. WareIQ platform is powered by cutting edge technology that makes it super easy to track and monitor your orders in real-time. Features like smart inventory placement offered by WareIQ can further help your business drive the sales on time at high demand locations. Conclusion The services offered by your 3PL provider play an important role in positioning your brand well among the customers. How your products reach the hands of your customer influences their loyalty. A seamless delivery can prompt them to place repeat orders and give positive reviews/ratings online. As such, choosing the right partner for your business can directly impact your growth. A great fulfilment partner is one that can provide maximum customer satisfaction by meeting their expectations and are very easy to do business with. WareIQ is able to deliver to these benchmarks and provide a robust solution to all your logistic needs.
November 19, 2020