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Logistyx President Ken Fleming Examines Marketplace Fulfillment Excellence at Forbes

Online marketplaces, both large and small, have become enormously popular in recent years, driving VC investment, acquisitions, and IPOs, as well as tech investment for payment solutions, site personalization and recommendation engines, and advertising. Perhaps the most critical component to sustained success is also the most-often-overlooked: order fulfillment as a chief driver of customer satisfaction.

In his latest article at Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming examines current fulfillment approaches for various marketplaces, how technology can improve the process while also easing the burden on sellers:

“Technology can help counteract [rate] increases in several ways. It can aid sellers by helping identify the best and most cost-effective carrier service based on business rules; it can audit historical shipping data to uncover efficiencies, new carriers, or services; and it can monitor every shipment to ensure carriers perform services as contracted and flag discrepancies, offering invaluable data for billing accountability and rate negotiations.

Technology can ease the burden on sellers by automatically providing shipping options to buyers at checkout, including an array of carriers and service levels, automatically generating the correct label for the seller and providing end-to-end tracking information and alerts about problems while in transit to manage off-track shipments.”

Read Ken’s full article, “Online Retail Marketplaces Must Lessen The Fulfillment Burden On Sellers To Stay Competitive,” to find out the questions marketplaces must answer for a successful technology implementation and how it can set them apart from the competition.

While visiting Forbes, be sure to read Ken’s other articles.

Brands Use Omnichannel Fulfillment to Capitalize as E-Commerce Surge Continues

Online shopping soared to new levels in 2020, propelled in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating e-commerce growth expected to span years into a matter of months. As online shopping boomed and the pandemic wore on, consumers increasingly resorted to curbside and other delivery fulfillment options, like buy online pickup in store (BOPIS), as a way to avoid crowds in stores. The most prepared retailers had already established these fulfillment options prior to the pandemic; others had to make adjustments to accommodate their customers.

Adopting and implementing an omnichannel retail strategy empowers retailers to improve customer service and profitability. As discussed in a recent report from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) with McKinsey & Company, two-thirds of survey respondents cited the growth of omnichannel and digital shopping as the most significant trend affecting the industry – and the greatest challenge. The report goes on to say, “The growth of e-commerce and demands by consumers for seamless omnichannel experiences are here to stay: consumers expect to continue making more purchases online post-pandemic than before COVID-19. With e-commerce projected to reach 25-40% of sales across categories after the pandemic abates, retailers must understand the role of digital shifts on the customer journey, upgrade e-commerce capabilities, and rethink the network as the role of the store blurs.”

At Logistyx, we love seeing our clients doing great things and implementing creative solutions to help improve the way they fulfill e-commerce orders. Some of Logistyx’s favorite shippers have been praised in the news in recent months for the great strides they’ve made with their omnichannel retail strategies by adopting some of the new innovations available to fulfillment teams, and we’re thrilled to see many of these impressive initiatives taking off.

Here are some news stories we’re excited to see:

Crocs’ record-setting quarter was covered in Yahoo! Finance

The footwear company recorded its highest revenue and adjusted operating profit of any quarter in its history as sales in Q4 ran up 56.5%. The growth was led by the Americas and EMEA regions, with digital seeing the fastest growth among channels.

E-commerce surged 92% in the quarter, representing Crocs’ 15th consecutive quarter of double-digit e-commerce revenue growth. The overall digital business, which includes owned and third-party e-commerce, grew 87% and represented 41% of fourth-quarter sales, compared to 34% last year. For the year, e-commerce revenues climbed 58.2% and digital sales, including sales at crocs.com and third-party sites, grew 50%.

Foot Locker’s strong digital sales were reported by Nasdaq

Footwear and athletic apparel retailer Foot Locker has managed to navigate the turbulences in the retail space on the back of its sturdy e-commerce business as well as prudent operating strategies.

Foot Locker has been investing significantly to reinforce its digital presence, with a focus on augmenting its e-commerce platform and saw digital sales rise triple digits across the regions that were heavily affected by store closures. The retailer further bolstered omnichannel strength by adding new services like its ‘Shop My Store’ feature on its website.

Home Depot received a glowing report on CNBC

Home improvement giant Home Depot’s Q4 earnings surged past expectations as consumers poured more money into home improvement due to the pandemic.

Digital sales increased about 83% in Q4 compared with a year earlier. The retailer grew about 86% for the full year compared with the year prior, with about 60% of those online orders fulfilled through the store.

Home Depot plans to continue to invest in integrating its e-commerce and brick-and-mortar business.

To learn how you can optimize your omnichannel shipping strategy to effectively take advantage of the ongoing e-commerce surge, see how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help.

Failed Deliveries Pose a Threat to Retailers Amid E-Commerce Surge

Showing no signs of slowing down, e-commerce continues to surge around the globe. Online orders are reaching record-setting volumes with 69% of retailers reporting an increase in average online order values and shoppers growing more comfortable purchasing from global brands, evidenced by rising numbers of international orders reported by 54% of retailers, according to a recent study from Loqate. While these present promising opportunities for retailers, poor address data that leads to inaccurate fulfillment poses a major threat to success in the form of lost sales and damage to retailers’ brands.

As reported by Loqate:

  • 99% of e-commerce organizations own up to failed deliveries across some portion of their orders
  • 8% of domestic first-time deliveries fail, costing retailers an average of $17.20 per order or $197,730 per year
  • 74% of businesses point to bad address data as the cause of up to a quarter of their deliveries failing
  • One-third of study respondents either don’t verify address data or leave it up to the carrier
  • 41% of consumers place the blame for late deliveries on retailers

Companies can’t afford to have delivery problems on customer orders when consumers have more options for shopping than ever before and it’s easier for dissatisfied customers to take their business elsewhere. Address inaccuracies rarely get the attention they deserve, and if left unattended, retailers risk more than upset customers. If a carrier detects the delivery errors due to a faulty address, the additional charges – which start at $18 per shipment with UPS and FedEx – quickly add up.

The easiest way to prevent additional charges and lost customers is to leverage the address verification functionality in multi-carrier shipping software. With Logistyx’s automated address verification and standardization shipping software tool, retailers can pre-emptively verify addresses and fix any problems that could result in upcharges long before the carrier arrives to pick up deliveries.

Logistyx’s address verification tool makes it quick and easy for retailers’ shipping staff to resolve delivery address questions right on the shipping line with a single platform, including the ability to:

  • designate shipments as residential or commercial
  • validate addresses at the street level, city, and/or zip code level
  • detect multiple or near duplicate address matches
  • view and/or choose address details

By taking advantage of the benefits of address verification capabilities in multi-carrier shipping software, retailers can ensure all the data input into their shipping process is accurately maintained while uncovering tremendous opportunities to reduce shipping costs and effectively fulfill customer orders.

Contact us today to learn how Logistyx’s multi-carrier shipping software can eliminate incorrect delivery addresses to avoid absorbing extra shipping costs.

Belk Quickly Expanded Fulfillment Options

With Ship-From-Store in Place Pre-Pandemic, Belk & Logistyx Technologies Thrived as E-commerce Orders Surged

Business Challenge

To meet consumer demand driven by the growth in e-commerce, Belk committed in recent years to investing in supply chain technology enhancements to better serve customers, including finding new methods to optimize fulfillment and shift more e-commerce delivery origins from distribution centers to stores. While simple in theory, executing store-level shipping presents considerable challenges, including limited carrier selection and complex rate shopping.

Solution

Logistyx addresses these and other fulfillment challenges for Belk with Logistyx TME, a solution that provides stores with instant access to carriers and services offering the best rates for each particular location. Seamlessly integrated with Belk’s order management software, the solution supports multi-carrier rate shopping, shipment execution and label generation, real-time shipment tracking, and delivery transparency.

Leveraging TME, Belk utilizes its stores as mini distribution centers without having to employ major process changes to get shipments to customers’ homes, a key advantage as parcel count increased considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When faced with carrier capacity limits, Logistyx helped Belk grow its carrier network by tapping into its library of more than 550 carrier integrations. This added greater capacity into Belk’s parcel delivery mix by introducing more options through using regional and specialty last-mile carriers, while also reducing transportation costs to provide a consistent level of service to customers.

Results

By automating Belk’s processes and providing advanced parcel management solutions through TME, Logistyx empowered Belk to quickly and cost-effectively transform its fulfillment operations to provide ship-from-store capabilities.

Expanding its fulfillment options with ship-from-store functionality using Logistyx TME well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit was instrumental in providing the agility required to help Belk manage the shift in consumer shopping patterns, move its in-store inventory and provide greater omnichannel fulfillment capabilities.

Utilizing Logistyx also allowed Belk to:

  • Meet increasing parcel shipping demands while controlling costs
  • Streamline the pick, pack and ship process
  • Improve efficiency and organization around ship-from-store operations
  • Decrease shipping time nationwide from its 291 store locations

“Just Keep It” – Amazon, Other Top Merchants Going Further to Minimize Returns

The COVID-19 pandemic-fueled surge in e-commerce creates a growing challenge related to the age-old issue of returns. As The Wall Street Journal highlights, “That shopping shift is placing more importance on solving a problem that dates to the early days of online shopping. Free shipping and other accommodating return policies have gotten consumers used to ordering multiple sizes and colors and returning what they don’t want.”

The share of online purchases that are returned averages 30% or higher, depending on the category, three times the rate in physical stores, according to industry executives. At that level, managing e-commerce reverse logistics can be expensive. The biggest merchants, including Amazon and Walmart, have taken notice and begun adopting some of the strategies perfected by smaller, innovative merchants. Some are telling customers receiving refunds to keep the product to avoid some returns altogether; others are investing in elaborate interactive online fitting rooms to slow the growth of apparel returns.

As the number of e-commerce package returns continues to rise, it’s critical that businesses evaluate how teams are equipped to handle returns, ensuring they have strategies in place to streamline returns processes and mitigate associated costs. Taking steps now to optimize returns processes and tools with robust technology solutions enables businesses to improve shipping processes and handle spikes in returns with greater flexibility.

In fact, the right multi-carrier shipping system allows businesses to centralize returns shipping execution and decrease transportation spend by optimizing carrier service selection and using data analytics and Business Intelligence to enhance inbound distribution strategies. With growing consumer expectations around free and easy e-commerce returns, advanced multi-carrier shipping technology offers businesses the ability to choose the best-fit approach to returns for greater control on return shipment costs in any scenario.

Download our checklist: 4 Ways Smart Businesses are Revamping Returns Processes in 2021 to learn more about how a cloud multi-carrier shipping system can optimize shipping processes and help take the hassle out of returns.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Highlights the Shortcomings of Hybrid Mail Services at Forbes

E-commerce exploded in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered the way consumers shopped for everything from home essentials to holiday gifts. As merchants sought to keep pace with the increased demands and parcel shipping volume, many explored new ways to reduce shipping costs. Some found out the hard way that hybrid mail services relying on order consolidation is problematic.

In his latest article at Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming dives into the shortcomings of this approach:

“Hybrid mail services from alternative carriers using order consolidation, on the other hand, promise cost reductions (according to Logistyx clients, as much as 50%) on traditional USPS services, but often lead to massive delays and lost customers. They cut costs by combining very-low-cost bulk freight services with USPS last-mile delivery, consolidating tens, hundreds or more USPS orders into one or more less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment(s). Later, they directly inject those parcels into the USPS-serviced last mile.

These services work fine for companies sending promotional and marketing materials to customers and prospects. In these cases, recipients have no stake in how long the parcels take to reach them. While e-commerce merchants love the idea of cutting USPS spend by 50%, those who widely roll out these services for e-commerce fulfillment usually abort or scale back these efforts quickly after becoming aware of very serious problems resulting from these slower and sometimes difficult-to-track deliveries.”

Read Ken’s full article, “Hybrid Mail Shipping Services Disappoint E-commerce Customers,” for the nitty-gritty on why these services fail to meet expectations and jeopardize customer relationships.

Ken’s other articles at Forbes are also worthwhile reads.

2020 Proved an Enormous Year for E-Commerce Growth with Lessons for 2021

All signs pointed to 2020 being an unprecedented year of growth for e-commerce and, according to Digital Commerce 360, those signs were very telling. By the outlet’s estimates, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44% year-over-year (YoY); the highest annual U.S. e-commerce growth in at least two decades and nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019.

Online’s share of total retail sales has steadily risen – with e-commerce penetration hitting 21.3% in 2020, up from 15.8% in 2019, according to estimates from Digital Commerce 360. The more than five-percentage point gain in e-commerce penetration is by far the biggest YoY jump for U.S. retail sales ever recorded.

All the growth in retail came from e-commerce, with online sales accounting for 101% of all gains in retail in 2020. This means sales through all other channels – stores, catalogs, and call centers – declined, marking the first time in history that e-commerce sales accounted for all retail sales gains.

This explosive e-commerce growth – driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic – and an unrivaled peak retail shopping season created visible stresses on the supply chain in 2020, leading to an extraordinary carrier capacity crunch. The significant increase in parcel shipping during peak season put a strain on every part of the shipping chain, all the way down to the last-mile, leaving many businesses to contend with never-before-seen peak delivery surcharges and shipping delays.

While many merchants had to shift supply chain strategies to effectively meet customer demands in the face of these obstacles, the unique challenges of 2020 resulted in valuable lessons learned that retail shippers can leverage now to properly prepare for ongoing supply chain disruptions in 2021.

Logistyx President, Ken Fleming recently spoke with Digital Commerce 360 to discuss the challenges retailers endured during last year’s holiday season and how they can prepare for another unprecedented season in 2021. Read Ken’s full interview with Digital Commerce 360.

To learn how you can improve your omnichannel shipping strategy to take advantage of e-commerce growth and prepare for ongoing supply chain disruptions, contact us today.

 

3 Tips for Getting International Shipping Right

Statista projects e-commerce revenues will increase to $4.88 trillion in 2021, which means if you’re a small to medium-size business, the time may be right to expand your product footprint across borders. But for many companies new to international shipping, there are multiple factors to consider, and ensuring a seamless customer delivery experience while maintaining profitability can be challenging.

Here are three strategies for streamlining cross-border e-commerce fulfillment while actually increasing profits per parcel.

1. Know how your product is regulated internationally.

Here’s a fun fact: it’s illegal to import calendars for commercial purposes into Vietnam. That’s right, folks, we said “calendars.” This means online retailers based in the U.S. may not send quantities of more than 100 calendars to customers in Vietnam. Break the law and prepare to do time (pun intended!).

And this is just one example of hundreds of country-specific regulations complicating international shipping. Talk about overwhelming!  But to simplify the complexity, UPS has an online tool that enables shippers to access a list of regulations. Input the origin and destination countries, and UPS returns information about shipping requirements.

Also, understand the duties and taxes. For example, when a U.S. retailer ships a pair of sneakers from Los Angeles to a customer, store, or warehouse in Chicago, there is a single shipping rate. But if this retailer sends the same pair of shoes to a customer, store, or warehouse in Amsterdam, the shipment is subjected to a whole new set of duties and taxes. The total cost of shipping an order internationally is referred to as the “landed cost,” and it is critical to understand this cost on the front end of the shipping process. Specifically, you want to know:

  • Is the product taxable? At what quantity?  At what value?
  • What customs regulations apply?
  • What is the country’s minimum threshold value for duties?

Keep in mind, duties and tariffs continuously change, and therefore this will be an ongoing exercise.

2. Decrease shipping costs with a cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping.

Shipping parcels individually across borders, especially if they have a low price point, isn’t cost-effective.  Smart shippers are instead using break bulk services, wherein multiple orders are consolidated into one big shipment to cross the border in order to reduce shipping charges and paperwork. Once on the other side, the consolidated shipment is broken down into separate shipments for individual delivery.

A cloud TMS for parcel shipping ensures your labeling and documentation can support this, and Logistyx has seen customers achieve savings of more than 25% on their transportation costs by switching to a break bulk service rather than sending shipments individually. For large shippers sending multiple items, the economics of break bulk are clear. Not only is there a cost saving on the actual shipping charge, due to lower cost/weight rates on higher weight shipments, but there is a corresponding reduction in the quantity and cost of paperwork. If 50 individual shipments are consolidated into one break bulk shipment, there is only one set of paperwork to clear customs, meaning less chance of delays at the border. With carriers charging for each invoice declared at the border, the savings opportunities are clear, and having only one carrier invoice to be checked, also means less work for the finance department.

3. Use a cloud TMS for parcel shipping to rate shop.

Rating and rate shopping isn’t straightforward across the border. In Europe, for example, carriers use myriad rate calculation methods. Unlike the United States, there isn’t a uniform postal code system across Europe, which means rate-zone definitions differ by country, carrier, and service. Some rate zones are even a combination of country postal codes, regions, cities, etc. Furthermore, there are no European-wide tariff structures. Rating is done on a per-carrier basis according to zones, weight, volume, and distance, but also accounting for factors such as pack quantity and load meters. These variables, in conjunction with different currencies, further complicate rating and rate shopping. A cloud TMS for parcel shipping enables you to rate shop across your entire transportation network to identify the optimal carrier service for each shipment based on all of these variables.

Manage Cross-Border Shipping with a Cloud TMS for Parcel Shipping

In summary, shippers moving parcels across borders should consider using a cloud TMS for parcel shipping to ensure they can simplify the complexity of regulations, label and documentation requirements, rating, and rate shopping.

To learn more about how Logistyx TME can provide the necessary flexibility to successfully execute cross-border parcel shipping, contact an expert today

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Shares 2021 Fulfillment Best Practices with Logistics Viewpoints

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and an unprecedented peak retail shopping season are still creating visible stresses on the supply chain. In his latest Logistics Viewpoints article, “Inoculating 2021 E-Commerce with Fulfillment Best Practices,” Ken shares the many valuable lessons proven out in 2020 that fulfillment professionals can apply in the year ahead to ease these burdens and keep customers happy and operations on track.

From providing distinct tracking and tracing capabilities to auditing fulfillment data with Business Intelligence tools to better serve customers, various supply chain challenges in 2020 prompted many shippers to implement creative solutions that helped improve the way they fulfill e-commerce orders. The explosive e-commerce growth of 2020 also created an extraordinary carrier capacity crunch, leading many savvy shippers to adopt a multi-carrier approach to safeguard against rising carrier rates and reduced capacity. Innovations like localized or on-demand manufacturing via 3D printing, combined with multi-carrier parcel shipping, further reduced dependence on carriers in 2020 and serves as a worthwhile lesson that can pay dividends for other shippers in this new year.

To learn more about how shippers can utilize these and other best practices in 2021 and advance even further to adopt the new innovations available to fulfillment teams, read Ken’s latest article or contact us today for a an assessment of how you can implement these best practices. Check out Ken’s other Logistics Viewpoints contributions for more supply chain insights.

Incoming! How to Manage a Surge in Reverse Logistics Volumes

According to Digital Commerce 360 and Adobe Analytics, “Ecommerce sales crossed a record $5 billion on Thanksgivingsurged 21.6% on Black Friday, and increased 15.1% on Cyber Monday. And though we’re still waiting on the final numbers, should Adobe’s prediction for holiday sales prove accurate and online holiday season spending reach $189 billion, representing 33% growth year-over-year (YoY), 2020 will be permanently cemented into the holiday e-commerce sales record books.

But unfortunately for retailers, what goes out… might just come back. According to CBRE, e-commerce returns this season could total as much as $70.5 billion, a 73% increase from the previous five-year average, which means reverse logistics operations for many retailers will be tested like never before. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts budgets for global reverse logistics technologies will also increase in 2021 — forecast last year to hit $604 billion by 2025 — as retailers look to streamline the consumer experience and minimize returns costs.

A Multi-Carrier Shipping System Enables Faster, Better Returns Management

Optimizing reverse logistics often comes down to having sophisticated logistics management practices in place, and a cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system will streamline returns shipping execution and reduce returns shipping costs. The most sophisticated solutions offer shippers the ability to determine the best returns policy and carrier services by automatically rate shopping across carriers in the retailer’s transportation network, selecting the most appropriate carrier services based on established business rules, printing necessary paperwork and labels, tracking inbound shipments, and auditing the entire shipping and returns process to identify cost-saving opportunities throughout the fulfillment lifecycle.

Tips to Reducing the Financial Impact of Returns

Dealing with e-commerce reverse logistics can be expensive. Statista projected return costs, including delivery and restocking, would reach $550 billion in 2020 alone, prompting retailers to aggressively work to reduce the cost and volume of returns long before peak season hit.

For some companies, the strategy is to avoid returns altogether. Many luxury brands have opted to go this route, choosing to skip the shipping, handling, and re-stocking expenses and improve customer service in one motion. E-tailers (sellers with no brick-and-mortar stores) are now increasingly following suit, sometimes telling customers to keep incorrect products and avoid the cost of returns, and in a new development, big box retailers such as Walmart and Target are also telling their customers to keep what they don’t want.

Other retailers, however, choose a different path and instead opt to handle returns and re-stock and re-sell their inventory. For these retailers, here are a few tips for streamlining returns processes and mitigating returns costs:

1. Move away from a single carrier strategy

If we have learned anything as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that businesses need multiple carriers contracted and ready to go, and a multi-carrier shipping system to rate and rate shop carrier services across the transportation network. A multi-carrier shipping system will enable you to select the optimal carrier service for each return shipment according to your carrier contracts and business rules, balancing capacity, optimizing spend, and preventing inbound shipping delays so you can re-stock and re-sell inventory quickly.

2. Leverage data analytics and Business Intelligence

The right multi-carrier shipping system will also include Business Intelligence. These cost analysis tools will enable you to run contract analysis analytics that highlight carrier performance and cost metrics and compare carrier performance against contract terms. With these analytics in hand, you’ll be better informed during carrier renegotiations and empowered to select the best vendor long term. And if your volume is great enough, you might have the leverage to negotiate “any point to any point” rates for your returns with the big carriers (FedEx, USPS, UPS, DHL).

In addition, Business Intelligence will allow you to answer the question: Are you shipping to the optimal returns center? Sophisticated analytics will allow you to quantify the value of making adjustments to your returns strategy. For example, looking closely at the zip codes served by various returns centers, can you make adjustments for cost? Volume? Better carrier services? Is your network geographically optimal? Maybe you should move returns centers, or analyze outsourcing options for returns processing.

3. Prioritize the customer experience

The right multi-carrier shipping system will be flexible enough to allow you to choose the returns workflow and customer experience that works best for your business. The technology provides you with the ability to control for return shipment costs in any scenario, whether the customer is initiating the return online or working with an in-house customer service rep. Added bonus: the technology also guarantees your customer is using the right shipping label, regardless of whether the customer is dropping the return off at a UPS store or FedEx office or mailing it through the USPS.

In addition, a multi-carrier shipping system with Business Intelligence will allow you to assess your customer behaviors so that you can decide the best-fit approach to returns. For example, based on returns patterns, you may want to establish a relationship with FedEx (FedEx Office) or UPS (UPS Store) so customers can package and drop off returns easily.

4. Reduce the number of avoidable returns

Zero returns cost will always be cheaper than any returns cost. Analytics and Business Intelligence can play a pivotal role in uncovering a variety of cost-saving opportunities beyond criteria for returns carrier service selection. Analytics can identify weak links in fulfillment by tracing wrong product shipments to certain distribution centers, pickers, or procedural problems so staff can correct inventory and warehouse management processes or take other steps to resolve the issues.

When fulfillment errors do not explain patterns of recurring returns, analytics can point to potential merchandising problems and answer questions that include:

  • Which products are most returned and what can be done about it?
  • Are most of the returns originating from the same product or product category?
  • Should a retailer consider discontinuing product lines or only selling certain products in-store?

Identifying routinely-returned or problematic products gives the retailer a chance to take proactive steps to address the issues – whether it’s something as simple as an incorrect size listing in a product description or something more serious, such as a defect in the manufacturing, prompting regular returns.

5. Combat fraudulent returns

Analytics can also play a critical role in identifying the prevalence of fraudulent returns and determining their impact. Combatting fraud helps many organizations reduce the cost and volume of returns, as annual losses from fraudulent returns are estimated at $27 billion, according to Appriss Retail, who also estimates return fraud at 8.8% in 2019, a 76% increase year-over-year.

Luxury brands in particular need processes in place to ensure they never accept counterfeit products as legitimate returns; even infrequent instances of fraudulent luxury product returns can wreak havoc on organizations. Every effort should be made to determine how often this happens and deter future instances.

Select the Right Multi-Carrier Shipping System to Better Manage Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics will always have a peak season after the holidays, and an inability to maximize efficiency in reverse processes will routinely lead to higher costs. Fortunately, using an advanced multi-carrier shipping system can make a world of difference, and many companies turn to Logistyx technology and expertise to customize and automate their returns processes.

Download our white paper: Managing the Rise (and Cost) of Returns to learn more about how a cloud multi-carrier shipping system can help you save money on your returns.

Twice as Nice: Logistyx Again Named the #1 Fulfillment Software Vendor to Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 Retailers

Digital Commerce 360 Research provides data and information about e-commerce that helps retail companies, investors, and technology providers prosper, and we’re pleased to announce it has again placed Logistyx first on its list of top fulfillment software providers to the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 Retailers. The honor shines a spotlight on Logistyx’s innovation in parcel shipping and on our ability to step up during these uncertain times and provide a reliable solution to our broad customer base of retailers.

Logistyx’s cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping makes it possible for retailers to ship millions of parcels worldwide at the lowest possible cost. Our customers enjoy carrier rating and rate shopping across all carriers within their transportation network, as well as seamless shipment execution and parcel tracking from distribution origin to doorstep. Easy integrations with leading supply chain software providers such as Oracle, BlueYonder, Manhattan, SAP, and more mean retailers have complete visibility into – and control over – their order fulfillment operations. They also benefit from an accurate, real-time data exchange between systems, improving efficiencies across multiple supply chain functions and reducing the risk of human error.

Top 1000 Retailers are Future-Proofing Supply Chains

Facing the challenges posed by an unusual online shopping landscape, with tight carrier capacity and high shipping costs, fulfillment teams face significant obstacles this peak season. Retailers and eTailers will be on the order fulfillment end of record levels of online orders, and to manage these volumes successfully and offer cost-effective ways to meet rapidly evolving customer demands, necessary operations and fulfillment strategy implementations are well underway.

Many retailers are digitizing their supply chain management and moving as much of their technology stack as possible to the cloud – improving the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of their supply chains. A digitized supply chain improves a retailer’s ability to:

  • Anticipate risk
  • Improve transparency and coordination across the supply chain
  • Manage issues that arise from increasing complexity

For example, knowing how quickly cloud-based supply chain operations can shift in response to a crisis or disruption, more retailers have come to realize the benefits of a cloud TMS for parcel shipping to improve the flexibility of their order fulfillment operations, and are therefore turning to Logistyx to quickly build and optimize flexible distribution models leveraging multiple carrier services. But the digital transformations don’t stop there. Retailers are also prioritizing improvements in tracking and transparency across all carriers by utilizing Logistyx’s Control Tower technology, which helps shippers gain greater visibility into a product’s journey to track potential delivery disruptions and easily share information to improve customer service and real-time communication.

And when shippers pair our cloud-based Control Tower with our Business Intelligence technology, they normalize shipping data and execute quick, real-time analyses. Instead of scrambling at the last minute, retailers have loads of information at their fingertips within minutes of a potential disruption. These analyses help them look at their transportation costs in a deeper way, identifying problems, zeroing in on their root causes, and uncovering opportunities to improve. With better information, retailers gain the necessary flexibility to continuously optimize their fulfillment and shipping strategies in any shipping scenario and transform fulfillment processes while slashing costs over the long term.

Join the Ranks

The Digital Commerce 360 ranking of top solution providers offers a roadmap for retailers searching for the e-commerce technologies and services most preferred by the Top 1000 merchants. Vendor rankings are based on the number of clients in the 2020 edition of Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000.

To learn more about how the Logistyx TMS for parcel shipping can improve your parcel shipping operations, watch our video: The Logistyx Shipping Quadrant.

3 Tips for Getting E-Commerce Delivery Right

This year has upended e-commerce in ways that are almost unthinkable. Since March, e-commerce volumes have grown exponentially, reaching peak-like levels, and with this unexpected growth came delivery delays.  Looking ahead to the “real” peak season, volumes are predicted to hit unprecedented levels and carriers are already anticipating capacity crunches, meaning delays could continue.

Here are three tips to get e-commerce delivery right and keep customers satisfied in the days ahead:

1. Accurately Set Delivery Expectations

The good news is that most e-commerce shoppers understand the pandemic has slowed delivery times. The one- or two-day delivery turnarounds shoppers previously enjoyed simply aren’t possible in a shipping landscape where volumes are high, and capacity is tight.  But where many retailers have gone wrong, is in their communication to customers about delivery events and delays.  One recent report found that 42 percent of online shoppers want to receive real-time updates on their packages.  To underscore the importance of this statistic: this is roughly the same percentage of shoppers who want free shipping.

ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainTherefore, as we head into peak season, retailers should make sure they have a clear communication strategy to accurately set delivery expectations – and the right technology to execute.  Retailers who have implemented a cloud TMS for parcel shipping benefit from Control Tower functionality, which means they can provide shoppers with the transparency they value. The system will send early warning signs when there are parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” empowering customer service teams to proactively trouble-shoot the exception event and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time. For example, perhaps the product can be sent from a different distribution center to arrive on time. Or perhaps the customer is willing to retrieve the product from a nearby store or locker.

With a cloud TMS for parcel shipping, customers can even track and trace shipments on a retailer’s website without the need to visit carrier sites, reducing inbound calls about shipment status to customer service and increasing customers’ browsing behavior on the retailer’s website – which (fingers crossed!) could lead to additional purchases. Consider too that tracking delivery exception events enables retailers to capture accurate carrier performance data – improving carrier service measurement and better informing carrier selection from the onset.

2. Have an Omnichannel Distribution Strategy

If we’ve learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that retailers that take advantage of their physical presence are the ones to gain a competitive edge.  Having the ability to pull multiple e-commerce order fulfillment levers such as deliver from store, buy online pickup in store (BOPIS), and delivery drop-offs in lockers is a critical differentiator over retailers that execute e-commerce fulfillment from warehouses and distribution centers only.

A recent study reported deliver from store is the most popular e-commerce order fulfillment method because it’s the optimal way for retailers to meet consumer demand and stay on par with Amazon’s one-day delivery.  Studies also report that by delivering orders from store, retailers enjoy six times more order volume and a 169% increase in conversion rates, offsetting order fulfillment costs and increasing consumer satisfaction. Furthermore, 61% of shoppers prefer a one- to three-hour delivery window, which is usually only achievable by delivering from the store closest to the customer.

But customers’ demands don’t stop there.  Eighty-six percent have requested products be sent to a store or locker and approximately 50% factor in the availability of BOPIS when making a purchasing decision. This is actually good news for retailers, as BOPIS is a win-win. With BOPIS, retailers reduce the cost of delivery and increase in-store sales, and consumers get their products faster and avoid a shipping charge.

Therefore, smart retailers are ensuring their e-commerce platform includes information about product availability and allows customers to choose from a variety of delivery options.  And just as before, retailers need a cloud TMS for parcel shipping on the back end, which seamlessly integrates with a retailer’s system of record to automate high volume, multi-carrier, omnichannel shipping.  Regardless of which delivery option the customer chooses, the system automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules; and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents.  Retailers can thus satisfy customers’ delivery requirements and drive down the cost of shipping–transforming logistics into a profit center within the business.

A cloud TMS for parcel also ensures retailers have the right mix of carrier services in their transportation strategy to achieve omnichannel fulfillment.  The software will include a Business Intelligence platform to help retailers understand how factors such as distance, speed to delivery, package size, and density affect spend within their transportation carrier landscape.  For instance, if a retailer is implementing changes in fulfillment to increase ship-from-store or locate a new DC, understanding how these changes impact zone and carrier service-level downgrade options is critical.

3. Prioritize the Last Mile

Although retailers understand the importance of e-commerce, they often fail to prioritize the last mile, treating it as the carrier’s problem, not theirs. But this is a mistake. Last mile delivery is expensive – the most expensive portion of the end-to-end delivery equation. According to BI Intelligence, the total cost of shipping for the last mile is 53% of the total delivery cost.  And with the ubiquity of “free shipping,” customers are unwilling to pay a delivery fee, forcing retailers to absorb the cost.

To overcome challenges in the last mile, retailers should utilize an omnichannel inventory approach, maximizing their number of inventory sources, including distribution centers, warehouses, and stores, so they are closer to the customer.  And a key component to this approach will again be – you guessed it – a cloud TMS for parcel shipping.

A cloud TMS for parcel shipping will allow retailers to access and rate shop within an extensive network of carriers, including last mile carriers such as OnTrac, LaserShip, and Speedy Delivery, which usually offer next-day ground delivery within 400 miles of a shipment’s origin and without the surcharges national carriers assess.  Gaining in popularity among retailers of all sizes, last mile carriers can be the key to avoiding the national carriers’ holiday surcharges this year and to achieving faster, cheaper delivery in the last mile.

Start Today to Get E-Commerce Delivery Right

This year’s peak season will be different, and to get e-commerce delivery right you’ll need the help of a best-of-breed system such as Logistyx TME. To learn more, contact an expert today.