Modern global logistics is becoming bigger, broader-reaching and more complex than ever before. Emerging markets like China and Brazil have become major players in global e-commerce, while developed nations have also taken steps forward almost across the board. But with greater international e-commerce comes additional regulations and heightened restrictions that will impact the way shipments and returns go back and forth across borders.
E-tailers have more and more challenges to circumvent when it comes to sending products and services to customers across the world. But that does not mean you should shy away from such transactions – global e-commerce is a growing portion of overall retail sales. For example, in the U.S., e-tail has commanded a larger percentage in each quarter from Q3 2014 (6.6 %) to Q3 2015 (7.5 %). Meanwhile, another survey predicts e-commerce in the U.K. will grow steadily as a percentage of total sales from 2015 to 2019, at a rate of over 1 % per year.
As e-commerce advances, it is important for organizations to have the tools and experience to navigate the changing regulatory situation. Here are three questions e-tailers must ask themselves when engaging in global logistics:
- What is “supply chain compliance”?
When an e-tailer ships a product from one country to another, there is more involved than simply passing through customs. The supply chain involves many steps from materials sourcing and manufacturing to shipping, fulfillment and possibly returns. Along the way, there are mandatory regulations at the national, regional and municipal levels, trade agreements, customer needs, industry best practices and supplier codes to comply with. Adhering to these needs calls for clear channels of communication and experience in global logistics.
- What new regulations may be on the horizon?
Just because a business has successfully aligned with the existing parameters governing global e-commerce now, does not mean they will be set up perfectly for the future. These standards change regularly, especially in a field like global logistics which is relatively young and constantly growing. What is true of the industry today may fall short of expectations weeks from now. It’s crucial to stay agile and, when possible, be ahead of the curve. Customers will appreciate smooth logistics – no need to make them aware of restrictions by way of a shipping delay.
- How can we guarantee our products will get from Point A to Point B?
Even peripheral regulations can affect the fulfillment process. Look at the airline industry – with increased security and lengthier procedures for flights, shipments can be held back for reasons that aren’t specifically related to logistics or e-commerce. Any organization that relies on a single method for transportation or a specific delivery company runs the risk of hitting backups that are out of their hands. It is better to keep the options open and remain agile during the actual fulfillment process.
Fortunately, e-tailers do not have to be completely responsible for asking and answering these questions on a daily basis. By partnering with us and leveraging our in house trade services expertise, our worldwide carrier-neutral network and powerful software platform, e-commerce businesses can prevent regulations from disrupting their deliveries.