When it comes to e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment go hand-in-hand. These terms are often used interchangeably, however, they don’t mean the same thing.
E-commerce fulfillment is part of the supply chain that includes services such as receiving, storing, processing, packaging and shipping orders.
E-commerce logistics, on the other hand, is the detailed coordination of all fulfillment services as well as other services, such as importing goods, customs brokerage and managing the intricacies of shipping internationally.
While these two terms don’t mean the same thing, they’re both critical to the success of online retailers. And with shoppers demanding faster shipping, there is little room for error when it comes to logistics and fulfillment. Flawless synchronization between the two is required or else e-commerce businesses run the risk of higher costs, delayed deliveries and lower customer satisfaction.
The Role of E-Commerce Logistics and E-Commerce Fulfillment
The e-commerce fulfillment process starts when a customer places an order and ends when they receive it, but there are several steps that occur along the way. These include:
- Inventory management
- Pick and pack
- Quality assurance
- Domestic and international shipping
Since each service is dependent on another, it’s business-critical to have a streamlined and error-proof process in place. One of the most common causes of fulfillment issues occurs when multiple vendors are involved. This is due to the fact that planning and coordinating fulfillment services requires extensive experience in global logistics.
Multiple vendors create weak links in your supply chain, often resulting in delays, errors and frustrated customers. Additionally, working with multiple vendors is costly, difficult to manage and doesn’t allow for customized solutions.
Benefits of Consolidating E-Commerce Logistics and Fulfillment Services
Think about your current vendors for e-commerce fulfillment and e-commerce logistics.
How many contracts does your e-commerce business handle to fulfill goods?
Managing multiple vendors is resource-draining, time-consuming and costly. Consolidating all of these services streamlines the entire process, reduces errors, expedites delivery times and can greatly reduce costs.
When working with multiple fulfillment vendors, you’ll want to closely examine your next invoice. Many fulfillment vendors charge for customer service and administrative fees. Consolidating all fulfillment services allows you to centralize supply chain operations to a single point of contact.
Next, ask yourself the following questions about your current vendors.
Do they create custom solutions to mitigate supply chain challenges, navigate weather-related issues or prepare for other unforeseen events?
This is one of the biggest benefits of working with a fulfillment partner that also provides logistics services. Given the supply chain disruptions of the past year, e-commerce businesses have faced more than their fair share of challenges, such as delayed shipments, inventory shortages and limited warehouse space.
By partnering with a fulfillment partner that also specializes in logistics, e-commerce businesses can mitigate many of the supply chain challenges. This is because a logistics team has the experience and agility to create custom transportation solutions for your business. This agility is critical given the delicate nature of the current supply chain. Should a weather-related event or unforeseen circumstance occur, a logistics team can reroute shipments and find alternative solutions that keep your inventory fully stocked and ready to ship.
Do they have the ability to ship orders domestically and internationally?
One of the easiest ways to scale your e-commerce business is to expand to the international marketplace. But shipping internationally is much easier said than done since every country has unique policies, duties, taxes and restrictions on what can be imported. A fulfillment partner that also has an e-commerce division makes entering the global marketplace easier than ever. For example, GLF’s customers benefit from turnkey access to one of the world’s largest and most reliable distribution networks. Our global logistics division can coordinate, manage and support all of your international shipments. They can also assist with bringing goods into the U.S. as well thanks to an in-house Custom’s Brokerage team.
Do they provide marketing fulfillment services?
Think about your own experience with online shopping. How often do you receive just the product in an otherwise empty box? The marketing materials included in the shipment, such as brochures, coupons for future purchases, instruction booklets or brand information, are an extremely important part of the fulfillment process.
The marketing collateral included in the shipment creates a lucrative opportunity for your business to upsell, cross-sell, encourage repeat business and leave a lasting impression of your brand with customers.
For example, GLF can print, store, package and coordinate the addition of print marketing collateral to keep customers coming back for more. Additionally, our marketing fulfillment division can support your digital marketing efforts with tangible direct mail campaigns around new product announcements and seasonal offerings.
Consolidate All of Your E-Commerce Fulfillment and E-Commerce Logistics Needs with GLF
ISince no two e-commerce companies have the same needs, we're able to create personalized solutions designed to help grow your business.
From global logistics to marketing fulfillment, GLF can seamlessly orchestrate supply chain solutions that go beyond just fulfillment, including:
|E-Commerce Fulfillment||E-Commerce Logistics||Marketing Fulfillment|
With 20 years of experience in e-commerce fulfillment, GLF takes pride in offering transparent pricing, unmatched reliability and personalized services. Our team takes the time upfront to learn your business and work with you as a proactive partner to create customized solutions that sync with your processes. For more information, contact us today.