The best global e-tailers pride themselves in delivering their clients’ orders in the timeframe, manner and location specified. That ability is an integral part of e-commerce that separates the top international sellers from those who fall short. But that does not mean these global e-businesses do not face challenges of their own – in fact, maintaining reliable fulfillment practices is among the most difficult things for companies in this sector.
A few situations in particular can pose an obstacle for global fulfillment. But with the right strategy, the best logistics practices and a partnership with a third-party global fulfillment provider, e-tailers have nothing to fear from these issues.
“Many clients have specific instructions for their favorite e-tailers.”
- Customer delivery expectations
First and foremost, many clients have specific instructions for their favorite e-tailers. If those companies cannot rise to the challenge, it is possible those customers will turn elsewhere. They would have every reason to look for another provider – this is the 21st century and consumers expect on-demand services. But high expectations and improved logistics techniques have allowed e-tailers to keep up with those expectations.
For example, in Sweden, 48 percent of respondents in a 2015 Postnord survey stated they prefer to pick up a package from a specific location, while 31 percent want the item to be left in the mailbox and another 10 percent prefer it to be delivered to their home during the day while they are around. The same e-tailer may work with someone in each of those three preference groups and must be flexible enough to deliver three parcels in three distinct ways.
- Long-distance shipping
Delivering a product halfway across the world is challenging not because of the distance, but because of the need for a fully integrated logistics network. An e-tailer might have a dozen different distributors, numerous shipping partners and a customer base ranging from Brazil to Japan – and on top of that, a client who wants to know where her package is from the moment she orders it.
That’s a lot to keep track of, but modern technology and techniques offer a solution. In particular, e-tailers can essentially outsource their fulfillment team to an experienced logistics provider that can easily handle global distribution, transparent delivery processes and, perhaps most importantly, cross-border needs.
- Last-mile delivery
While seeing a parcel through to its destination on the other side of the world is a challenge, sometimes it is finishing the journey that can prove most difficult. In rural areas, where logistics infrastructure is not as widely developed, customers can have a hard time getting their order in a timely manner. In cases like these, it is important for e-tailers to connect with local postal services and logistics providers, or at least partner with organizations that can better navigate those regions. Still, even in remote villages, parcel delivery by way of the Internet is possible. In rural China, Taobao villages have popped up as a way to bring rural folk in touch with e-commerce, according to Quartz. This model serves as a path forward for other emerging markets like India or Brazil.
If e-tailers can handle these three fulfillment obstacles on their own, they have little standing in the way of successful e-commerce. One of the best ways to navigate these issues is by partnering with a global fulfillment and software provider like Landmark Global with a proven track record of success in the realm of international e-business.