Order Management article and permission to publish here provided by Dave Joseph at veridian.info.
An order management system (OMS) is the system of record for maintaining orders and handling inventory. In the omnichannel supply chain, order management improvement leads to confident inventory management across all channels.
Additionally, the use of data to understand what is happening, what will happen, what should happen, and how to make the best outcome happen through analytics will result in order management improvement.
Order management begins with visibility, and visibility promotes improvement within inventory management. Such improvements naturally lend themselves to higher customer service levels and benefits throughout the supply chain.
E-Commerce business model article and permission to publish here provided by Claire Glassman.
The shift from offline retail to online businesses is an unstoppable trend. E-commerce has arrived decades ago, and its relevance now booms in the current advancement of technology.
Now, more and more entrepreneurs are building and starting their e-commerce businesses. For your e-commerce business to have a greater chance of success, you need to think long and hard about what E-Commerce business model you’re going to pursue.
Tracking information article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Jake Smith at https://www.gopeople.com.au
Online shopping has become an integral part of many consumers’ lives. The increased volume of parcels shows that this new way of acquiring goods and services is here to stay.
While a lot of packages are successfully delivered, sometimes, they can get misplaced, damaged, and in worst cases, lost. For these reasons, many customers will want to know the exact location and status of the items they ordered to ensure that it will safely arrive in their homes.
Golden Age article and permission to publish here provided by John Howard of couponlawn.com.
For the last two decades, the field of e-commerce fulfillment (logistics) has been going through the golden age because of the equally growing market of e-commerce providers (online sellers). However, other logistics companies improved their fulfillment game in 2018. New players in the field, such as ShipBob, presented the public with cheaper fulfillment solutions.
With all the changes in the e-commerce industry, customers are expecting faster services and response times. Amazon suddenly changed the game by introducing the 2-day shipping program of Amazon Prime. Target tried to counter this move, but Amazon launched ‘Amazon Prime Now,’ which ensures deliveries over two-hour delivery time.
After the launch of these fantastic services, customers’ demand will only increase.
E-commerce is defined as the buying and selling of products or services exclusively through electronic channels. If you’ve made an online purchase through eBay, Shopify, Amazon, and other platforms, then you have made your purchase via an e-commerce site. More and more people spend their time browsing on the internet and the more likely they are to buy stuff online.
Admittedly, the e-commerce industry is booming. Retail e-commerce sales in the United States are projected to grow at a fast pace in the coming years, going from 322.17 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to just over 485 billion US dollars in 2021.
Why You Need Order Fulfillment Services
If you’re looking for a business that will eventually get you out of your 9-5 job, or looking to expand your existing business, having an online presence and web-based store could fulfill this goal. For beginners in the e-commerce trade, what do you need to do to get more sales, with a lot of online businesses competing for customers’ attention?
Customers want products that will give the best bang for their buck with speedy delivery, and good after-sales support. Here’s where the different companies offering order fulfillment services come in.
What is an Order Fulfillment Service?
Order fulfillment is defined as the steps involved in receiving, processing and delivering orders to end customers. A fulfillment service is defined as a third-party company that provides these order fulfillment steps on behalf of another party, such as an online seller.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of using either Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) or a 3PL for your fulfillment needs.
Fulfillment By Amazon
FBA, or Fulfillment By Amazon is a business model wherein e-commerce sellers on the Amazon Marketplace, big or small, can have their products stored in any of Amazon’s giant warehouses, pack and deliver them to customers, handle customer support, and returns.
Expertise and Reach
Amazon has one of the most advanced e-commerce fulfillment service in the world, can help you scale-up or grow your business and as of the last measured period, the source estimated 90 million paying Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States, up from 63 million in June during the previous year.
Amazon Prime customers are eligible for 2-Day Shipping, Free Shipping and other benefits. If you sign up your products for Amazon Prime, your products are eligible for free shipping, too.
Customer Service and Returns
FBA handles customer service and returns. Listings are displayed with the Prime logo, so customers know that Amazon handles packing, delivery, customer service, and returns.
They handle the fulfillment services side of the business and saves your time, so you can focus on the other aspects of your business.
With Multi-Channel Fulfillment, you can fulfill orders from other sales channels using your inventory stored in Amazon order fulfillment centers. Single-source your inventory to streamline your fulfillment operations, manage your inventory through an online user interface and can direct Amazon to return your inventory in e-commerce fulfillment centers at any time.
Cons of using FBA
Little to no order customization. Sellers must comply with existing Amazon .processes.
Items are shipped in Amazon boxes. Sellers can ship in generic boxes which may cost extra.
Storage fees are generally higher compared to 3PLs and usually rise during holidays.
Higher order handling fees for non-Amazon orders.
Solutions are based in standard processes which may pose little opportunity for dialogue.
Conflict of interest
The fact that Amazon may actually be a competitor to the seller. Amazon is in the business of selling, they just happen to offer shipping services. For Amazon, it’s free product and market research, and they’re making money off you.
Third Party Logistics (3PL / TPL)
Third–party logistics in logistics and supply chain management is a company’s use of third party businesses to outsource elements of the company’s order fulfillment services.
Pros of Using 3PL
Boxes/bags and all internal packaging are customized to a specific brand. Processes are adapted to your business’ operation and specification.
Attractive storage costs that is variable. Customer pays storage space on a given month. Some 3PLs even offer free warehouse storage for a limited time.
Has onboarding processes, frequent communication before and after product launch. Collaborative approach is encouraged.
B2B (Business to Business)
Certain 3PLs can handle both B2B and B2C (Business to Consumer) fulfillment, resulting in one e-commerce fulfillment partner for all sales channels.
Cons of Using 3PL
Finding a Trustworthy 3PL company takes time.
Not all 3PL providers are created equal. It takes time to find a good company to work with from the beginning. Once you find someone you can trust, you can rest assured that your goods are being properly cared for. The initial search could be stressful but it will all be worth it once you find a reliable 3PL company.
Bad Service Reflects on Your Company
An inefficient 3PL provider could make your company look bad. Your customers do not care who is in charge of getting the product to them. All they care about is the end result. It is very important to look for a good distribution center early on to avoid customer-satisfaction issues in the future.
Amazon FBA or 3PL in Conclusion
Order Fulfillment Services are a crucial part of your business and a major factor in determining its success or failure. Whether you entrust your fulfillment services to FBA or a 3PL, there is a greater chance that you will be in good hands – these are fulfillment experts, after all. The key difference is you as the owner, – what do you want for your brand and what kind of customer experience you want to give to your consumers.
If you are happy to use Amazon’s existing system and tap into their wide customer reach, FBA may be a perfect fit for your company. If, however, you would like more control over your order fulfillment services, partnering with a 3PL could be the best solution. Make sure your order fulfillment service provider is experienced with the type of operations you need before you entrust them with your reputation.
Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on March 8, 2018.
As consumers the complexity in the retail supply chain is usually oblivious to us. We go to the store and pick up the goods that we want. Or we order goods online from our devices at home, in the office, or anywhere for that matter. We consume the items, returning them if necessary, unaware of all of the work that went into making those goods available to us.
A phenomenal amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make this experience as seamless as possible. I am not saying that it always goes smoothly. Sometimes items are broken. They are late. Or there is some other issue.
But behind the curtain that is Retail there are a lot of people managing a lot of processes and dealing with a lot of complexity earnestly trying to make your goods available to you.
When you order something Online there is great excitement in anticipation of opening your package when it arrives. With any luck the company you have ordered from has provided a positive experience in the online ordering and payment process. Now you are just waiting for the package to arrive. You certainly don’t want them to stop shipping.
Most recently we ordered a couple of items online. They were relatively small items and could easily fit in the palm of your hand. Within a couple of days a large box arrived at the front door. I wasn’t quite sure what it was because the box was rather big, big enough for a toaster or perhaps a couple of large board games.
I was surprised when we opened the big box, removed a bunch of crumpled paper and packaging material, and found the 2 small items we had ordered sitting on the bottom of this box. The items could have fit inside a standard envelope. Instead they were deliberately packaged in a box which could have held 200-300 of the items. Why don’t they stop shipping air?
“Omnichannel” is certainly the prevalent phrase in the E-Commerce arena. The expectation in an Omnichannel Fulfillment world is that a customer can order what they want, when they want, on whatever device they want, and have it delivered how they want.
The physical delivery part of the Omnichannel expectation can be very elusive. Many companies claim that they are Omnichannel service providers. But are they really?
How many E-Commerce Fulfillment options are there? And how many do you provide in your company?
The Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza is almost upon us. While it may seem like a long time for functions such as Marketing or Sales, for your Supply Chain the Black Friday push should be on right now! Your focus must be on Black Friday readiness.
If you have products manufactured overseas for instance then if those products are not either on the ocean right now or en route over land to your Distribution Centres then you are already in trouble! Black Friday readiness is critical.
Multichannel Distribution article originally published at and permission to publish here provided by tenfold.com.
Many businesses begin with single-channel distribution. That sole channel could be a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce website. In either case, all sales flow through one outlet.
The advantage of a single-channel distribution management system is simplicity. There’s only one channel to manage, one channel to stock, and one channel to market to customers. As a business expands, however, the single-channel model can limit growth.
Our latest “Featuring” series article covers the topic of Warehouse and Distribution Centre order fulfillment. With the exponential growth of E-Commerce and online shopping the backbone of activity that makes it all happen is order fulfillment.
Every time you place an online order someone somewhere is picking up those items and placing them in a box for delivery to you. Given that hundreds of millions of people are doing the same thing at the same time it is imperative that companies have the most efficient fulfillment process possible, whether they do this work themselves or outsource it.
We have had the opportunity to lead the implementation of some world class fulfillment processes, even surpassing the speed of Amazon. So take some time and check out our very best Warehouse and Distribution Centre fulfillment articles!
Customer experience article originally published at, and permission to publish here provided by Karl Crisostomo at tenfold.com
In the last decade, the growing adoption of ecommerce has been swift–and ruthless. Huge retail market players like Best Buy and Toys R’ Us are shutting down huge chunks of their physical locations due to plummeting revenue. Not only is this a result of not embracing ecommerce early in its wave, they are also now competing with ecommerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba who sell the same or competing products online.
Traffic drought in physical stores could be attributed to the rising number of purchases made over the internet for certain customer and product segments. For some, the revenue drop is significant. And yet another part of the challenge big box retailers face as publicly traded companies is that they have to answer to their investors–and with ecommerce delivering superior results, the patience afforded to big box retailers is just not as generous.
Retailers with Brick and Mortar stores continue to be under tremendous pressure. Competition is intense in the fast growing Omnichannel E-Commerce world. Every week there seems to be news about how one Retailer or another is closing more of their stores when they could be using them as Distribution hubs.
And very few Retailers with Brick And Mortar stores have been able to make a profit in E-Commerce. Competitors who only sell online without physical stores appear to have an advantage with lower overhead costs.
So how can Brick And Mortar Retailers turn their stores into a competitive advantage plus a source of greater profitability?
Direct to Consumer article originally published at https://www.bringg.com/ and permission to publish here provided by Raanan Cohen.
As supply chains evolve and grow, products are often passed between dozens of hands at factories, shipping vehicles and pallets, distributor warehouses, retail warehouses, shop floors, and delivery fleets. They often travel thousands of miles and go through multiple intermediaries, something which has an impact not only on the profit margins, but also on the brand’s ability to connect and communicate with their customer.
With revenue growth remaining a challenge, almost half (48 per cent) of manufacturers are racing to build Direct to Consumer (DTC) channels, with almost all of them (87 per cent) seeing these channels as relevant to their products and consumers.
Leading brands that once upon a time relied solely on partners to distribute their products are now embracing Direct to Consumer sales, which can be a powerful distribution channel with the added benefit of full control over the supply chain, and therefore also in full control of the overall brand experience.
The evolution of digital technologies, and in particular the boom of e-commerce means that brands can relatively easily set up an online store and work with delivery partners if they don’t have their own delivery fleet, or if they need to supplement it.
As brands, companies and manufacturers become more comfortable with selling direct to customers this trend will only grow. What’s more, customers also often prefer to buy directly from the source when possible – with the understanding that they will get the best brand experience by ordering directly from the brand itself. According to Forbes, over a third of consumers report that they bought directly from a brand manufacturer’s web site last year. And the number of manufacturers selling directly to consumers is expected to grow by 71% this year to more than 40% of all manufacturers.
This trend doesn’t apply exclusively to customer-facing products. B2B manufacturers, service providers and startups are all reaping the benefits of a digital era which enables industries to optimize their supply chains and get much closer to their customers.
Below are some notable examples of how entire industries are either already being re-shaped or gearing toward a Direct to Consumer approach.
This summer, Nike announced their Consumer Direct Offense – a faster pipeline to personally serve customers at scale. For the brand, which has traditionally relied upon other retailers to sell their products, it’s a significant strategic move focused on distribution through their website and in their own stores with an emphasis on 12 key cities across 10 key countries. The effort is expected to represent over 80 percent of Nike’s projected growth through 2020.
Nike is not alone. Other megabrands such as L’Oreal, which in the past has been almost fully dependent on retailers to stock and sell their products, announced that their ecommerce sales rose by 33% year on year in 2016 and now account for 17.6% of their sales. Even though many of their digital sales go through other portals, they could also be looking to grow their Direct to Customer approach with the mighty force of Kim Kardashian who is able to directly launch and sell out an entire cosmetic line in under 3 hours.
Startup companies are disruptive by nature. However, over the past decade we’ve seen companies disrupting established industries by bringing a Direct to Consumer approach to their products. After all, it takes years to slowly build a retail network – whether it’s owned or not. The direct approach is risky but if the brand promise is fulfilled through the purchasing experience, young companies have the capacity to change the landscape.
WarbyParker, OneDollarShaveClub, Casper – all these $1B+ brands, and many more, have paved the way in recent years. They’ve had the ambition to reinvent the rules and to take on highly crowded and competitive markets by fully owning the relationship with customers. What these brands know for sure is that “their customer is their asset”.
The competitive edge that these startups have relied on revolves around remaining in control of 4 things: customer data, customer relationship, profit margins, and the overall customer experience – from discovery to delivery.
Although not exactly a ‘Direct to Consumer’ example, Direct to Store Delivery (DSD) is also on the rise. In essence what this means is that manufacturers deliver the products directly from their warehouses to the store – without relying upon their traditional warehouses and distribution networks.
A DSD model establishes a “closed loop” network from the consumer good manufacturer’s warehouse to various retail outlets, making multiple stops before returning to the point of origin. This enables companies to be faster and more responsive to their customers’ needs and to stock demands coming from their retail partners – something which translates to a better customer experience, healthier margins and tighter ownership over a simpler supply chain.
This model is on the rise and although it might not be suitable to all manufacturers, it’s worth considering as an alternative in order to get closer to customers and retail partners without relying on intermediaries whenever possible.
Personalization, simplicity and choice
Cutting out the ‘middlemen’ is as much a measure to improve efficiency as it is a strategic move which enables companies to get closer to customers. This enables them to build a direct communication channel, gather invaluable feedback and collect customer data which is otherwise left in the hands of partners who can leverage this knowledge to their advantage.
This shift doesn’t happen overnight and by no means does it undermine the necessity of using retailers, distributors and other partners to reach all potential customers. However, it does provide new opportunities, more customer data and the ability for companies to gain unprecedented visibility and control over their relationship with customers.
Advances in ecommerce and delivery logistics technologies are giving companies the opportunity to explore new distribution channels, gain a better understanding of their customers and ultimately create better brand experiences that are seamlessly personalized.
About The Author: Lior Sion
Lior is the co-founder and CTO of Bringg. Prior to Bringg, Lior was the CTO of Gett and Clarizen. Lior is a leader and a hacker at heart, active in the open-source community and the local startup community – contributing, mentoring and helping others with his technical and product experience.
Originally published on Supply Chain Game Changer on May 2, 2018.