Eighty percent of consumer complaints about online shopping relate to logistics, with high shipping costs (62%) and late delivery (39%) the top two gripes (Ernst & Young). Added to that, logistical difficulties rank among e-tailers’ biggest concerns about conducting e-commerce abroad, according to digital marketing blog Econsultancy.
A reputable, international logistics partner unburdens them of this responsibility, providing rapid access to lucrative new markets and expertise in navigating local logistical challenges, such as knowing the fastest routes and least congested delivery times.
A long-established logistics partner can simplify the process of entering a new market and advise you of your regulatory and tax obligations. Whether it’s the seven-day cooling-off period enjoyed by shoppers in China or India’s requirement that declarations be accompanied by an invoice and certificate of origin.
They provide e-fulfillment services like stock management, picking and packing, labelling, sorting and dispatching parcels and managing returns – leaving e-tailers to focus on their website and marketing. Rather than managing variable overheads like salaries or utilities, these partners offer transparent, simple pricing – making it easier to manage costs as you expand.
These partners will also handle postal regulations and related paperwork, including regulations on handling returns, which vary from country to country.
Cheaper and more flexible
Depending on the product sold and the volumes involved, it can be cheaper to deliver goods via your partner’s e-fulfillment centre than delivering items individually across borders, where they incur higher import duties and can face delays.
Outsource fulfillment services and you can start selling overseas within weeks, enjoying the flexibility to quickly scale up – and scale back if necessary – your operations. Establishing your own local fulfillment centres, by contrast, can take months.
Tried and tested
Asked what they want from a logistics provider, e-tailers said reliability was the most important barometer of success (69%) (Thuiswinkel.org). Experienced in delivering an array of products for a diverse range of local and international clients across a country’s unique road and rail network, an international partner with local presence is well placed to provide such a reliable service.
Providing you’ve done your due diligence – just ask for testimonials and supporting statistics – then an established partner will have a track record of providing these services effectively. And their success serves as a litmus test for your target market. If they can provide case studies of satisfied, successful e-commerce clients then it bodes well for the viability of your own foray into that market – especially if they provide a case study in your sector.
A partner’s local experience and delivery data could also help you devise your e-commerce strategy. With multiple hubs around the world, a good logistics company can draw on its knowledge and data to advise you that, for example, consumers in country ‘A’ return goods less often than counterparts in any other country. This allows you to gamble on a lower sale price, predicated on the assumption that you’ll absorb comparatively low return costs. Expanding into a new market is a big step – but with a logistics partner like Landmark Global it needn’t be a step into the unknown.