E-commerce in barely a decade has become established and part of everyday life. According to Médiamétrie’s Internet Usage Observatory, 41 million Internet users made online purchases during the 2nd quarter of 2020. That’s nearly 1 million more cyber-purchasers than in the 2nd quarter of 2019. Figures that make you dizzy!
For Jamila Yahia-Messaoud, Director of Médiamétrie’s Consumer Insights Department: “the period of confinement has had a significant impact on the way we consume on the Internet. 71% of cyber-buyers solicit and use ecommerce sites that have physical stores. 68% are even in favour of an online offer from local shops, with a clear preference for an Internet site that would bring together several local shops located in the city center. Moreover, following the period of confinement, they are gradually returning to the
delivery at the relay point or at the store pick-up. »
According to Marc Lolivier, General Delegate of Fevad: “there is no longer any doubt that the crisis will have a lasting impact on consumption habits. Nearly half of the respondents continue to order more on the Internet, including since the end of the containment. Nevertheless, consumers remain very attached to their stores. And since the beginning of the crisis, more than one out of every two cyber-buyers say they are trying to to favour online purchases from physical stores. Being able to order online when you can’t go to a store is becoming an expectation shared by more and more European people, and one that should last well beyond the crisis. »
While the majority of sales concern dematerialized services, the other part concerns the purchase of products requiring the implementation of an adapted e-logistics process. How do companies manage this problem? What are the stakes to know before starting?
To launch into e-commerce, the goose with the golden eggs.
Information on the steps related to the installation, creation of an e-shop in a few clicks, lower initial investments … it may seem easy to start an e-commerce business today. However, things get a little more complicated when it comes to planning the whole logistics process, either because entrepreneurs do not have a sufficient mastery of the issues or because they do not have the necessary skills.
They sometimes neglect the definition of the specific communication to be implemented to make themselves known when setting up their business on the Internet and the logistics which is a determining factor of survival.
The stakes of e-logistics that should never be underestimated
Web consumers have very specific expectations and behaviors that are not necessarily the same as when they buy in the usual distribution networks. They wish to be delivered quickly, at a lower cost and in optimal quality standards on which they will be more vigilant, having made their purchase on photo.
In case of dissatisfaction, the penalty can quickly fall for the company: if a customer can quickly place an order thanks to the Internet, it can be just as easy to post a negative opinion on the networks, forums and other e-merchant rating sites. The entrepreneur must therefore implement effective order tracking to recruit and retain customers and be particularly attentive to the following issues: deliver the right product, in good condition, in the shortest possible time, at a competitive price or even free of charge. He must therefore ask himself the right questions, especially in terms of storage (location, level, replenishment …) and in terms of routing of goods (home, store, relay, by appointment …).
On the other hand, the implementation of a logistic procedure adapted to e-commerce must also meet the specific requirements of the entrepreneur, concerning its profitability. If online sales allow him to save money thanks to lower intermediate stock levels than in the traditional scheme, transport is generally more expensive, and many are those who, under pressure from competition, fall into the trap and find themselves selling at a loss. It is therefore important to be clear about the costs involved so as not to jeopardies the financial equilibrium of the company.
How to organize, manage and optimize the process?
E-logistics therefore represents a real strategy and different solutions are available to the entrepreneur. First of all, small structures hiding behind the majority of web-merchants, internal management may seem conceivable in the short term but quickly become complicated, especially if the flow of goods becomes important. Concerning the sites of creation of e-shops, the majority of these now offer services for the follow-up of orders and the management of deliveries; the problem of storage remains, nevertheless. Another possibility is to outsource the entire process. Although more expensive, it allows you to benefit from an expert in this field and thus avoid errors that could end up being more expensive.
There are therefore no miracle solutions, and the entrepreneur must take into account his level of skills and his business volume when making his decision.
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