The services related to ecommerce are something that is constantly growing and evolving, due to the continuous process of innovation that the online market involves. In addition, there is a whole market of services that derive directly from the existence and proliferation of online stores. Among them, we can talk about logistics for ecommerce and logistics operators, as both are strongly linked.
Contenido del artículo
What is Logistics?
Logistics is, as if we were to say, all those processes necessary for your product to reach your market. Therefore, due to the rise of online stores, logistics for ecommerce is one of the sectors that is living its “golden age”, due to the prominence it has in the commercial relations between the company and the final consumer. In the “pre-internet” world, it could be said that logistics had a secondary role (although equally important), which consisted of providing the necessary stock to companies that sold directly to the end consumer. If the product did not arrive at the store, it was not sold, but our consumer did not have direct contact with the logistics operator (unless they were catalogue sales), so the presence of logistics was merely B2B.
Today, however, transport is an essential part of the purchasing process. The courier and package delivery process is now practically 50% of the key to success of an ecommerce in Spain. It is so important that, in fact, the end customer only has direct contact with the delivery person from the moment he places the order in the online store until it arrives at home.
That is why today we are going to focus on the logistics for our ecommerce, with special attention to the logistics companies, because whether we want or not, they will be the ones who determine in large part the success or failure of our online business.
What are logistics operators?
There are two sectors within the world of logistics related to ecommerce: logistics operators and courier companies. Their difference is mainly the level of involvement they have within the logistics process.
Logistics operators take care of the organization and implementation of the entire courier operation. From the management of the transport of the products to the customer service once the package has been delivered, through to the storage and management of the catalogue stock. Generally, this complete logistics service is known as integrated logistics, as it covers the entire ecommerce process other than sales. Obviously, the budgets required to have this service are much higher than those of just the courier service, but the advantage is that it frees the online store from the responsibility and strategic complications involved in the logistical processes necessary to sell online. It is very common among companies with a very large volume of online sales, where it is more economical and practical to outsource this service to others than to do it themselves.
A courier company deals only with the sending of messages and packages, so it is a very suitable service for companies that already organize themselves the storage and processing of products and orders, and only need to outsource their shipments. It is the most popular model for small and medium-sized ecommerce companies.
In other words, a logistics operator is a company that coordinates all the activities of directing and managing the flow of orders and products required by an ecommerce, from the source of supply of materials to their use by the end consumer.
What are logistics operators responsible for?
- Order processing: Activities related to the collection, verification and transmission of purchase orders.
- Material handling: The logistics operator himself decides which material means and procedures are to be used to move the products within the warehouses, between warehouses and with the sales premises.
- Packaging: The systems and forms of protection to be used to send your products to the customer.
- Transport of products: Choosing the means of transport to be used and drawing up route plans.
- Warehousing: Selecting the location, size and characteristics of the warehouses that store your ecommerce merchandise.
- Inventory control: The logistics operator determines the quantity of products that must be available to be delivered to a potential buyer. It will also establish the periodicity of orders.
- Customer service: Where are going to be the service points and what material means and what people to have at each point to properly serve the customer.
A good logistic operator, not only must develop all these functions, but must also manage to carry them out with the minimum possible cost.
What functions should a good logistics operator perform?
Before we start listing the best operators in which to trust the future of our business, let’s make clear the key points that determine what a good logistics operator is:
- Management of suppliers for the reception of goods.
- Automation. The process to register new references and keep the stock updated must be done automatically, especially with regard to classification and storage of goods.
- Computerized stock control and integrated with your online store, with the possibility of consulting in real time the state of the stock and the merchandise. Again, it is essential that this is fully synchronized and automated, it is useless if we must perform daily manual activities.
- Flexibility to adapt processes. That is, the logistics operator you choose must be able to adapt to the level of evolution of its customers, as they change.
- Adaptability, to offer a quick response in short periods of time. Sometimes unforeseen events occur that need to be solved with a bit of improvisation or unplanned activities, which your operator has to be willing to admit.
- Constant innovation for the evolution and improvement of processes, managing to optimize costs and times: your logistics operator must be prepared to evolve at the same level as your ecommerce.
- Customization of orders, adapting the shipping format to our design and customization specifications. Especially when it comes to packaging and the wrapping system itself. It is useless to develop a whole marketing strategy of shipments, if our operator does not respect our strategic plan.
- Delivery options with the possibility of selecting the best carrier for each service and destination. This is fundamental in ecommerce logistics. Normally logistics operators work with several courier companies at the same time, in order to offer as many options as possible (or at least a greater number than a single courier company)
- Trackingof the order, online but also by email and SMS. In other words, a system of control and monitoring of orders like that of any other courier company.
- Customer service, with an after-sales service that solves possible incidents and doubts during the whole process, as well as managing the corresponding changes and returns.
After reading all these points, it is clear that the relationship with your logistics operator will be very close for both you and your customers, so it is essential to know that they will be able to respond if an incident occurs.
The next step is, therefore, to choose the logistics operator that suits you best for your online store. In addition, we inform you that if you need us to integrate the logistics operator with your PrestaShop store, we can do it.
Examples of national and international logistics operators for your ecommerce in Spain
B2C Europe (Spain):
Based in Coslada, near Madrid, is one of the best logistics operators you can choose if you intend to sell from the peninsula to the rest of Europe, as they are based in a lot of European countries and have one of the most complete portfolios of logistics services in Europe. It is aimed at Spanish online businesses looking for distribution services to expand internationally. But it also specialises in shipping to the Iberian Peninsula from locations all over the world, and pick and pack services to foreign companies looking to offer their products on the Iberian Peninsula.
Its service is bilingual so there are no problems of understanding between its partners from different countries At Innovadeluxe we have worked with this logistics operator developing an integration module for part of the necessary tasks between store and logistics. So if you work with them and you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us in the form at the end of the article.
One of the biggest challenges for national ecommerce logistics is to offer comparable services throughout the Spanish territory, and that often excludes our compatriots from the Canary Islands. Asigna was created to cover the global logistics needs between the mainland and the Canary Islands, and between the islands of the archipelago itself. Therefore, it is the best option if you are an ecommerce from the Canary Islands or one from the mainland that intends to sell in the Canary Islands, because they will speed up the whole process and make it cheaper in the long run.
It has its own offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Gomera and Hierro, as well as customs offices in the airports of Las Palmas and Tenerife In Innovadeluxe we have developed a complete integration module with the logistics operator Asigna, and we can say that their technical team always makes your work as easy as possible. If you opt for this operator, please contact us, as we have this integration for sale.
Getting right into the segmentation by sectors, this logistics operator offers services that cover everything needed to outsource internationally the supply chain of companies in the fashion and textile sectors. Services that cover sections of the business such as: stock storage, distribution of garments, quality control of garments, hanging, labeling, ironing, and preparation of clothes before processing them for bagging and packaging of orders. Although they do not only offer the service for the fashion sector, we know that the beauty products sector, hair products, etc, also use their services.
This logistics operator has offices outside Europe, for example in Mexico, which opens the market to sales on the other side of the pond If you need an integration with Logifashion, Innovadeluxe developed an integration module with them some time ago. Although the code of the new versions is different, we have the experience and knowledge with them to develop a new integration quickly.
In ecommerce logistics we should not forget the international courier giant DHL, a huge full-service logistics conglomerate. If your goal is to sell internationally on a regular basis, you’ll have no choice but to go through DHL for something, as they are present in every step of the chain, from warehousing and distribution, to order processing and subsequent shipping. Their biggest advantage is that you can rest assured that the whole process is handled by the same company. They are also a national logistics operator.
DSV is another international logistics operator, with headquarters on all continents and hundreds of offices around the world, as well as more than 10,000 employees in the sector. In Spain they have 11 logistics centres and their services are comprehensive, focusing mainly on warehousing and distribution. But they also have several automation and order integration services within their system, simplifying the laborious task of processing orders for customers.
As in the case of DHL, by relying on a world-renowned giant, we can be sure that there is only one company involved in all logistics (or if not, at least very few external companies involved). They are also a national logistics operator.
The list could go on and on until you reach a couple of dozens of very interesting logistics operators for your ecommerce, but while it is true that comparisons are interesting information to write about, we don’t want to overwhelm you with a lot of data about dozens of companies that you don’t even know (especially if this is your first approach to the concept of logistics operator).
If you need us to go deeper into the subject, write to us in the comments and we will expand this post with more logistics operators, or we will go deeper into what a logistics operator can mean for your ecommerce, if that is what you find most interesting. And, of course, if you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to comment. Or if you need a module that integrates your logistics operator with your store, we can develop it for you, contact us!