Blog Month: May 2022

  • Choosing a Fulfillment Partner

    Short term – Long term

    The Importance of Fulfillment as a Service is widely known in the corporate world. Especially nowadays when talking about rising fuel prices, courier occupation, prolonged delivery times etc. Choosing a Fulfillment partner correctly may save you potential problems in the future. It is important to keep in mind that the partnership may last a significant amount of time if operations are conducted successfully, and results are met. This means that sometimes, the long-term element must be prioritized over the short-term elements. For instance, sacrificing slightly by increasing your investment costs and choosing a correct, experienced Fulfillment partner may lead to better results in the long run. In this article, we will be providing you with the 5 most important aspects to look out for when choosing a correct Fulfillment Partner.

    5 Key Elements to look out for

    • Experience and Reputation

    If you choose an inexperienced provider that’s new to the industry, you run the risk of delivering a poor brand experience to your customers. The impression on the end customer is often directly related to Fulfillment performance. This increases the need to partner with a well-established, reputable company. It is vital that you conduct business with a company that has years of proven experience and staff that is trained and knowledgeable in all areas of the business. You could also seek reviews from customers that have a similar business model to your business. This way you will have direct feedback that enables you to make a more accurate assessment on whether or not you should choose this Fulfillment partner. Lastly, meeting the Fulfillment partner in person might reinforce the relationship which could lead to potentially increased problem solving in the future. Don’t disregard your companies’ reputation, choose a respectable Fulfillment Partner.

    • Seamless Integration

    This element makes the initial set-up process much easier whilst also simplifying continuous communication by streamlining the information transfer procedures through, for instance, correct API (Advanced Platform Integration) integrations. Set-up should not be a hassle. An experiences professional Fulfillment partner usually has all types of integrations available that make your life easier. They sometimes offer real-time views in transport, inventory management, warehousing etc. Make sure to discuss this topic thoroughly before establishing your partnership to avoid the arise of potential issues in the future. When reviewing the integration possibilities, consider aspects such as Omnichannel Integration (price/delivery/transport/warehousing etc.), CRM/ERP platform Integration, Automated email communications etc.

    • Reverse Logistics and Performance

    Fulfillment service providers sometimes also provide you with the option to handle the complete returns process. This could save you a ton of resources and time, if done correctly. The latter should be stressed as poor handling of returns may influence your brand in a strong negative way. However, if the returns are managed correctly, your brand image receives strong positive reinforcement. Reverse Logistics is thus an important element to look out for and should always be considered due to the high brand impact potential. Make sure to review the performance metrics of the Fulfillment service provider on Reverse Logistics in detail to avoid surprises. Also make sure to consider switching your current Reverse Logistics process. Professional insight should be considered. Openness to change is recommended.

    • Warehouse Locations

    We currently live in an era that follows the golden rule of ‘the faster the better’. Of course, this is not always true, however, customers do expect their shipments to be delivered to them as fast as possible. 7+ days for delivery times is usually not acceptable anymore. The average delivery time within Europe is around 2-3 days. Experiences Fulfillment partners sometimes even offer same-day delivery, depending on your business model. Regardless, it is important to have knowledge on the Fulfillment partners’ infrastructure. Knowing where their Warehouses are located and even knowing traffic routes might validate the claims of delivery performance. If majority of your customer base resides in Spain it would be highly beneficial to choose a Fulfillment Partner that has a reliable transport framework allowing him to have high performance on deliveries to/from Spain. Future opportunities for market expansion should also be considered. If you are planning to ship worldwide for instance, it is important to discuss the possibilities with your potential Fulfillment Partner.

    • Brand reinforcement

    It is often the small things that make a difference. Another factor that should be taken into account is the possibility for brand reinforcement. Customization is an important element that should be considered when choosing a Fulfillment partner. Providing the customer with a strong personal brand experience can have high positive impacts on customer retention and continuous purchases. Of course, it also increases your brand awareness and recognition. Look out for Fulfillment partners that offer you customization options. An example could be personal packaging. Allowing you to use custom packaging options may make the difference and give you a competitive advantage by providing your customers with the brand experience they seek. Brand reinforcement should not trump performance metrics, however, it still stays a valid element to consider as increased brand awareness will almost always positively affect your company.

    These 5 key elements should be kept in mind when considering a Fulfillment partner to outsource your Fulfillment services. Would you like to know how more on how to choose a correct Fulfillment partner correctly? Talk to a ModusLink Expert today by clicking HERE!

    Bibliography

    Busby, A. (2019, 24 oktober). Fulfillment As A Service, Why The Future Of Delivery Is In The Clouds. Forbes. Geraadpleegd op 26 februari 2022, van https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbusby/2019/10/23/fulfillment-as-a-service-why-the-future-of-delivery-is-in-the-cloud/?sh=6b83309d4af1

    business.com editorial staff. (2014, 25 juni). Benefits of Using an Order Fulfillment Service. Business.Com. Geraadpleegd op 2 maart 2022, van https://www.business.com/articles/benefits-of-using-an-order-fulfillment-service/

    Roggio, A. (2011, 4 november). 5 Reasons to Consider Fulfillment Services. Practical Ecommerce. Geraadpleegd op 5 maart 2022, van https://www.practicalecommerce.com/5-Reasons-to-Consider-Fulfillment-Services

    Thill Inc. (2021, 21 oktober). Fulfillment Center Pros & Cons. Thill Inc. Geraadpleegd op 5 maart 2022, van https://thillinc.com/blog/fulfillment-center-pros-cons/

    3Pl, L. (z.d.).  7 tips for choosing a fulfillment partner. Logicos. Geraadpleegd op 5 maart 2022, van https://www.logicos3pl.com/en/blog/tips-for-choosing-a-fulfillment-partner

    Lab, T. F. (z.d.). 8 Essentials When Choosing a Fulfillment Company + 8 Best Companies for 2021. Thefulfillmentlab. Geraadpleegd op 7 maart 2022, van https://www.thefulfillmentlab.com/blog/choosing-fulfillment-company

    Roggio, A. (2011, 4 november). 5 Reasons to Consider Fulfillment Services. Practical Ecommerce. Geraadpleegd op 5 maart 2022, van https://www.practicalecommerce.com/5-Reasons-to-Consider-Fulfillment-Services

     

  • Cross-border e-Commerce is complex but is fastest growing

    M-Commerce

    M-commerce or Mobile commerce has been a growing phenomenon for some time now. Forecasts from various sources continue to show the potential growth if Mobile commerce were to continue its path forward (which is expected). Our previous article ‘The importance of M-commerce’ emphasized on the current state of the concept, as well as highlighting the main important aspects that explain the reasoning behind the popularity. This article will focus more on the upcoming/rising trends for M-commerce. Keep a look out for these trends as jumping on the wagon early might leverage your company significant growth increases and competitive advantage.

    Let us briefly recap the concept of M-commerce. M-commerce entails all activity regarding the purchase of goods/services using a monetary transaction through a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet. The mobile commerce market has shown to develop at a rapid pace with contributions such as: mobile money transfers/mobile banking, electronic boarding passes and location-based services such as Uber (Mobile Commerce, 2022). These innovative implementations have completely changed the way we handle specific things. Going on a flight and not needing to keep your boarding pass close due to the mobile variant has destressed the process. Or take grocery shopping for example. Many people only take their mobile phone as the monetary transaction solely requires your phone. No bank passes or credit cards are needed anymore.

    Your phone is becoming an increasingly important extension of yourself. Companies realize this and attempt to innovate continuously. This is the main contributing factor towards the increase in growth for M-commerce. Now, what is the growth forecast for M-commerce exactly?

    According toWurmser (2021), retail M-commerce sales’ share in the US as a percentage of the total sales is continuing its growth expecting to reach 10.4% in 2025. This means that M-commerce in the US market will nearly double its share of total retail sales between 2020-2025.

    Figure 1(M-commerce as a % of total sales – US market)

    https://www.emarketer.com/content/mcommerce-forecast-2021

    M-commerce Trends

    The growth of M-commerce, again, can be mainly contributed to the remarkable innovative concepts introduced. Many of these concepts, as discussed earlier, gained strong traction in the early stages. This is important to keep in mind as it shows that many companies understand the notion of following promising trends early to leverage their market position. As such, the trends below are upcoming and should be followed closely.

    • Shopping Personalization

    Adjusting the shopping experience based on the individual customer in question has not been anything new, However, the Mobile commerce market has shown to make great use of this concept as the methods that are being used to personalize the mobile shopping experience are innovative and strongly effective. Pixel tracking, following advertisements, mobile reminders after downloading applications, these are all methods that are highly effective aimed at increasing mobile commerce conversion rates. When conducting M-commerce, pay close attention to the ability and opportunities to personalize the shopping experience for your customer as new methods are introduced frequently. Companies now make use of ‘Predictive Analytics’. Predictive analytics are achieved through the use of Big Data. Data is being used to discover relationships and patterns between the historic data and outcomes to predict likely future behaviors.

    Cryptocurrency payments

    Cryptocurrency has increased growth tremendously over the past years. It is no longer unusual for anyone to invest in cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency market is expected to reach 1.40$ billion in 2024. The security and decentralization of cryptocurrency restrict government intervention, in turn stabilizing the security of the monetary value. The decrease of trust in Fiat further builds on this notion contributing to the expected increase in popularity of cryptocurrency. Many companies agree with the above and implement cryptocurrency as a possible method of payment for various purchases. Customers appreciate the introduction as large companies show that the method of payment is being used increasingly frequent. It is important for any m-commerce business to follow the crypto trends. It is recommended to introduce this payment method, when possible, through API’s or other integrations.

    • AR (Augmented Reality)

    Perhaps one of the newest concepts/trends is the concept of Augmented Reality. Companies such as IKEA have proven to gain leverage using this early concept by introducing innovative methods such as the famous ‘Try-On’ before you buy. This is essentially an integration within the IKEA mobile application that makes use of the mobile camera to visualize the object of purchase in your own living room. You are able to place and view the object in your own environment before purchasing. There are plenty of other companies seeing the value of AR and rightfully so. Keep an open mind and follow this trend accordingly.

    M-commerce trends are important to follow, keeping in mind the growth of the concept. Would you like to know how more on how to implement M-commerce correctly within your business? Talk to a ModusLink Expert today by clicking here.

    Bibliography

    Clearbridge Mobile. (2015, 12 november). Why Retailers Need To Pay Attention To Mobile Personalization. Geraadpleegd op 18 april 2022, van https://clearbridgemobile.com/why-retailers-need-to-pay-attention-to-mobile-personalization/

    Mobile Commerce. (2022, 11 maart). BigCommerce. Geraadpleegd op 17 maart 2022, van https://www.bigcommerce.com/articles/ecommerce/mobile-commerce/

    O’Connor, F. (2022, 31 maart). 8 mobile commerce trends that will dominate through 2022 and beyond. eCommerce Customer Service Software | eDesk. Geraadpleegd op 18 april 2022, van https://www.edesk.com/blog/mobile-commerce-trends/

    Samsukha, A. (2022, 21 januari). M-Commerce Statistics & Mobile Shopping Trends 2022. Tech Blog | Mobile App, eCommerce, Salesforce Insights. Geraadpleegd op 16 maart 2022, van https://www.emizentech.com/blog/m-commerce-statistics-mobile-shopping-trends.html

    Statista. (2021, 13 oktober). Global mobile retail commerce sales share 2016–2021. Geraadpleegd op 17 april 2022, van https://www.statista.com/statistics/806336/mobile-retail-commerce-share-worldwide/

    Wurmser, Y. (2021, 4 augustus). Mcommerce Forecast 2021. Insider Intelligence. Geraadpleegd op 18 maart 2022, van https://www.emarketer.com/content/mcommerce-forecast-2021