Integrating different parts
of the Ecommerce process.
So, you have this great idea for a product or products that you could sell over the internet. How hard could this be? You are convinced that people will beat a path to your door (website) and once it’s launched, you just sit back and rake in the money.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument that the product research and marketing plan are done and you have designed and built the website. Once you get past the set-up and the payment processing, you will need to figure how to get the products ordered on-line into your customers’ hands.
Now that you have a functioning platform set up and can send order information directly to the fulfillment entity (whether it is performed in-house or by a 3rd party logistics company) the hard part is done, yes? Once you integrate systems, orders are sent directly to the fulfillment center. How much more efficient can you make this part of the process? You would think of this as an efficient part of the process, which is true, but it is only part of the overall goal of getting your products to your clients. Let’s look at the bigger picture.
The entire e-Commerce process is split into 3 main areas. These areas are, ordering, fulfillment, and transportation.
Great strides have been made to integrate the software applications that tie the order processing with the fulfillment processing, and fulfillment has gotten more efficient due to this improved integration. But this only represents two thirds of the overall process.
Your transportation portion of the process, one that is most definitely outsourced, creates a larger disconnect with potential efficiency throughout your entire e-Commerce process. Oh sure, you can integrate software applications with most transportation providers to some extent, but the information flow is pretty much one way and not set up to benefit you.
The e-Commerce industry pretty much just accepts that the outsourcing of the transportation part of the process is restricted to this paradigm and the transportation providers like that. Because, face it, they are there to provide you with a service and make a decent profit. They are not there to help you become more efficient in your operations, unless it benefits them.
What if you could control more of the transportation part of the process? Do you think you could be more efficient with your transportation dollars? We believe you could, if you had the opportunity to view the situation from a different perspective. There are creative options that could allow you to perform many of the transportation responsibilities in-house, and lower your transportation expense.
Is it easy? Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, so no, it is not easy. However, the results can be substantial. What is the recipe for this creative option? All it takes is data (data, data, data….a lot of it) to churn and then apply these analytic metrics to an understanding of the inter-working of the transportation industry. Mix it, mash it, stir, stir, stir, and the outcome is usually quite delicious.
Outside-the-box concepts can come in a box, but be cautious when ordering on-line.
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