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Hackernoon logoEcommerce Logistics Trends Set To Shape 2021 by@rashmi-sharma

Ecommerce Logistics Trends Set To Shape 2021

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@rashmi-sharmaRashmi Sharma

Writer, Researcher & Marketing Specialist at Shiprocket

Even though the months passed within the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, its effects on the e-commerce logistics industry are still riding a roller-coaster as they scramble to adjust to new limitations, new demands, and logistics trends.

E-commerce businesses have to adapt to these new challenges and opportunities of e-commerce logistics strategies to secure additional revenue and market share in the 2021 peak season. It’s time to capitalize on some of the trending ideas like Amazon Prime Air service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less. 

Regardless, it’s much more challenging for e-commerce businesses to handle same-day deliveries, managing inventory, and managing relationships with courier partners. But, if you follow e-commerce logistics trends and coordinate with resources, same-day deliveries of products are also possible! 

Using an e-commerce shipping solution keeps you organized and helps you check the status of every order in real-time.

I have done a little research and put together the points for 2020 e-commerce logistics trends that will change the landscape of shipping & logistics.

E-commerce Logistics Trends 2021

E-commerce Logistics Trends #1

Faster & Flexible Delivery Options

Nearly 62% of customers in the USA are willing to pay an extra few bucks if the products are shipped on the very same day. It is also described as one of the factors of creating a positive digital experience. The concept of same-day delivery can be daunting for some e-commerce startups however it’s not impossible.

If you ask experts about how e-commerce shipping impacts purchase decisions, then stats show that around 41% of shoppers left the shopping cart because shipping time was higher than expected. 

This year, we’ve seen the introduction of faster and more flexible e-commerce shipping options.

For example, Net-a-Porter is a retailer that has chosen to offer same-day delivery options. The retailer delivers the products on the very same-day by well-dressed drivers in branded black vans in New York and New Jersey locations.

Google's Express is a same-day delivery service where customers order online through the Google Express website, and unlike Amazon Prime Service, they deliver products in a four-hour window. 

Many other retailers are popping up to offer same-day deliveries of products by utilizing on-demand courier options and drop-shipping is a new business model in which the products are shipped directly from the manufacturer to the customer’s home.

Whether you have a small business or enterprise-scale business, you are competing against big marketplaces that provide same-day shipping. Same-day delivery has emerged as a reliable option for retailers, as it not only helps curb costs but also provides quicker delivery.

E-commerce Logistics Trends #2

Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Fulfillment

For e-commerce businesses, victory is not achieved when an order is placed into the shopping cart, but only when the product is bought and paid for. As online retailers try to meet consumer expectations, there are many considerations to take into account when choosing an e-commerce fulfillment model.

D2C, or Direct to Customer, is the new trend in the e-commerce shipping & logistics strategy that allows manufacturers to sell directly to the consumer. It bypasses the conventional method of getting your product on the market and allows brands to sell directly to the consumer through an online medium.

Direct to Customer is one of the important e-commerce shipping trends of 2020, which makes brands more data-focused than their traditional counterparts. And DTC brands are more open to experimentation as compared to conventional retailers, who typically stick to their tried-and-tested strategies. Lastly, D2C e-commerce brands also focus more on technology innovations like AI, AR/VR, IoT, and chatbots to achieve their targets.

Going D2C has many advantages For example, Haus is an online platform that sells wines featuring different flavors and supplies customers with several bottles a month. With their Direct to Customer fulfillment strategy, they have established long-term relationships with their customers.

Another great example of the D2C model is Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime that allows the merchant to ship directly to the consumer. This cuts down on costs and fees associated with warehousing and needing to hire a third-party logistics provider. 

In a personalized shipping experience, the items shipped by the retailer can be personalized. This is becoming an increasingly popular e-commerce shipping trend for those who want a personal touch on their every day carries. And, Direct-to-Consumer Fulfillment gives e-commerce brands complete control over their products shipping and reputation. 

E-commerce Logistics Trends #3

Cross-Border Shipments

Cross-border e-commerce shipment is another trend that has gained large popularity among customers due to many reasons. Today consumers would choose to buy international products because of the reasons such as easy & flexible shipping options, payment methods, product quality, etc. Cross-border e-commerce shipments benefit retailers as they get the opportunity to reach new customers throughout the globe.

Since online consumers can choose to buy products from international sellers from anywhere on the globe, retailers have felt the need to make global shipping easier to execute in a worldwide market. 

But, before you begin shipping overseas, first check to ensure that you can import your product into your countries of choice. The best way to control overspending on cross-border shipping is to work with multiple carrier partners, as choosing one courier partner limits the shipping of products. 

Also if your products come under the category of dangerous goods, so be ready to make extra paperwork and labeling work to ship your items overseas. And because of this, some international carriers may charge you higher for these shipments.

Cross-border e-Commerce benefits the retailers as they get the opportunity for selling products internationally throughout the globe and by improving their brand awareness in the international market.

E-commerce Logistics Trends #4

Brand Your Shipping Experiences

Today customers like to shop around with top brands and businesses, so as an e-commerce shipping company you need to make sure the shipping experience with your brand is cohesive. Let’s look at a few of those points and how you can make them count.

For online retailers, premium packaging can be an important way to brand your shipping experience, as a customer may click a photo of their delivered package and share it on social media. A shipped package from a retailer creates the very first impression of a product that solidifies brand identity among your customers.

Also creating a branded packaging and shipping experience for your customers helps foster loyalty.

For example, Amazon prints the smiling arrow on the side of packaged items; it’s become a way for consumers to know the brand who shipped the package. 

To compete with these branded shipping experiences, you need to work on your parcel tracking solution, product packaging with unique logos, shipping labels, and more.

E-commerce Logistics Trends #5

Robots & Drones For Product Deliveries 

Technavio market research report suggests that the autonomous delivery market is poised to grow by USD 16.86 billion during 2020-2024. Chinese e-commerce companies are also deploying robots to deliver orders in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Chinese Delivery app Meituan Dianping launched the concept of “contactless delivery” last month, in which the brand has started using fully automated vehicles to send grocery orders to customers home in Beijing.

Amazon's delivery robot Scout is another great example of automation in retail which is small in size and can travel across the walkways and hand over packages to the customers.

As people demand the same-day delivery of packages, the developments of AI robots, delivery drones, shipping vehicles have almost paved the way for an array of thriving opportunities in the industry.

E-commerce Logistics Trends #6

Smart Return Solutions

You’ve likely seen a variety of reasons for product returns. It ranges from an item that is damaged or a wrong product type that was returned. Your customers return products for many reasons, and every return is a direct hit to your revenue line. The main reasons for product returns for online purchases include:

  • Consumers returned products due to damage.
  • Returned products that didn’t match the product's features & images.
  • Returned products because they were shipped the wrong item by the retailer.

Managing returns manually takes a lot of hours and burdens your team with processes. The labor costs of receiving a return often far exceed those for fulfilling an order.

A smart return management solution automates some of the most intensive tasks in return workflow. This results in a more efficient operation for the retailer and a better customer experience for the shopper.

My prediction for next year is that we will see an increase in these return management software to help maximize efficiency with online returns.

Final Words  

The e-commerce logistics & shipping industry demands proper planning so that retailers can streamline business processes effectively.

You should keep experimenting with your e-commerce logistics & shipping strategies that take time but it will work for you too. With that, you should also know what trends work best for your business in particular.

Do you need to improve your return management, fulfillment models, or delivery options? You must ensure that you make your shipping services as reliable as possible. If your customers don’t receive the products on time, it directly affects your brand image and shopping experience, and also affects your profits.

This post enlists e-commerce logistics trends for 2021, so use this information and make a sound decision about your shipping & logistics system. And offer your customers an easy and convenient shipping experience to receive the product ordered on their desired date and time.

However, you should evaluate these logistics trends carefully to decide and implement the best shipping services for your business.

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