As online businesses flourish and more traditional retailers expand their selling floor online, finding an efficient way to deal with the back-end process of online sales has become increasingly important.
The absence of a brick and mortar shop comes with its own disadvantages for online retailers, in particular the high cost of back-end work.
While your average local eBay or Etsy shopkeeper might deliver the final end product by dumping the parcel at the post office, the growing number of successful online businesses that have taken off with sales in the thousands, are grappling with finding viable solutions amongst the traditional logistics companies that cater to the wide-ranging nature of online sales.
Most traditional logistics companies (3PLS) are built around a traditional retail type model, their systems of processes geared to sending bulk packages to a warehouse location rather than delivering thousands of single, separate, little consignments to residential addresses. They aren’t able to efficiently cater to the more bespoke logistical needs characteristic of online stores.
Leigh Williams founded eStore Logistics three years ago with the intention to fill this gap in the logistics market.
“There weren’t logistics provided out there that were providing an efficient and cost-effective solution for online retailers.”
Offering customisable logistical solutions in the most efficient manner possible is the vision that has seen his company grow 200 percent in the last three years. eStore Logistics clients include some of the country’s largest online electronics retailers, and services a wide range of industries; everything from apparel, books, furniture, design items, and children’s products.
Williams believes that many courier companies are still on the back-foot, slow on the upkeep in properly addressing this rapidly growing, uncovered area that he says is to be an essential part of the industry. The logistics end of things, he says, is the only physical interaction online consumers have with the retailer now, in the highly competitive online retail landscape.
“It’s just the nature of internet selling. In a traditional retail store, you can walk into the store, pick up a video game off the self, walk to the counter, give them your credit card, walk out with it with a smile. But in the online environment, you use your credit card number, you choose something you want to buy, and then there’s all this invisible online processing done in the back end.”
“Firstly if its not done efficiently, that’s just cutting into you margin. Secondly, if it’s done inaccurately, you’re not just only going to lose customers if you never ship their order or if it gets lost or delayed- there’s also a high admin cost in fixing up the problem.”
For traditional retailers looking to make the move online, Williams says that securing the logistics process should be top priority.
“SMEs that are moving from traditional to online space, they seem to focus a lot of their time on sales and marketing and even consider the importance of the actual logistics side of things, really the physical delivery of the item is the only physical experience that the customer experiences.”
“They already have a brand, they already have a product so they’re all ready to go. if they’re up and running but they can’t perform the back end properly they’re going to punish their brand,” he added.