How you manage your eCommerce supply chain varies depending on the business model you’re implementing. No matter you’re running B2B or B2C, it is essential to understand how products move from manufacturer to customer.
There are multiple approaches to supply chain management. Online store owners sell products through mobile apps, social platforms, and websites. Digitally native brands often add a step forward by taking complete control of their distribution from factory to consumer. Meanwhile, marketplace sellers allow third parties to take part in delivery to reach a wider customer base.
Identify the customer needs
All supply chain model is designed to meet a particular goal – to satisfy customers. Your customers probably have high expectations when buying online. They often do extensive research, looking through every review and social comment before making a decision. Before placing an order, they want to know if the item is available.
They also want to have a seamless experience across platforms and devices. They expect your website to be responsive, even during the peak seasons. Furthermore, most customers have become accustomed to fast and free shipping. Once they are unhappy during this process, they might never come back to you. At the same time, they want to return the item conveniently without spending any money, should it fail to meet their expectations.
There are a lot of different things that customers want. The key is to know what the most urgent and important needs are to fulfilled. Then you can work on the others on your way.
Effective warehouse design
A warehouse design can directly or indirectly affect your supply chain. In detail, you should design your warehouse in a way that allows you to increase storage density and capacity. Some helpful features to be installed are a strategic racking system, narrow aisles, and a mezzanine level. You might also want to consider hanging shelves or bookshelves.
Invest in innovative technology
Another way to optimize your eCommerce supply chain is to invest in innovative technology. Investing in modern technology will help improve performance. You can utilize a warehouse management system to take care of your daily warehouse operations and inventory management tasks, including ordering picking, EDI capabilities, and replenishment.
Furthermore, depending on the size of your business, you can acquire an order management system to help optimize inventory and provide visibility for your store. With this, you can view several fulfillment sources to help prevent overstocks, stock-outs and minimize inventory carrying costs.
To ensure your customer has access to quick refunds and hassle-free returns, ensure you have a reliable information system, transportation capabilities, and distribution network. In this situation, an order management system will help streamline the return process. To make it easier, you can set up distribution centers near your customers to help speed up return processing and reduce transportation costs.
Expand sales channel
Most online eCommerce store owners expand their physical locations like pop-ups and boutiques. If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, you must ensure your eCommerce supply supports or allows multiple order profiles and sales channels.
All in all, it’s not easy to have an effective eCommerce supply chain right at the beginning. However, you should always look through your process, communicate with your team to identify bottlenecks, and find a way to optimize them. This way, you don’t have to waste too much thinking about how to streamline your supply.