Expectations for E-Commerce Freight Forwarding in 2022 and Why an Expert Platform Is Key

Freight management, global forwarding, and supply chain logistics depend on innovative and up-to-date e-commerce shipping solutions. This includes traditional truck and road transportation and more creative and customer-focused modes such as air freight. As a ResearchandMarkets.com report published by PRNewswire, “The Air Freight Forwarding Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 4% during the forecasted period. Although land and ship cargo transportation remain favorable options, goods transport by air is considered the quickest and the unhindered mode of transportation.” As a result, forwarding services and e-commerce shipping solutions drive continued growth and recovery today. Knowing the expectations for the year ahead makes it easier for ocean freight forwarders to maximize shipping solutions for e-commerce services.

What’s Driving E-Commerce Freight Forwarding in Summer 2022?

Consumers’ unprecedented demand for these services is one of the driving forces behind the need for fast and reliable e-commerce shipping solutions. With lockdowns and local shutdowns limiting consumer access to various goods and services, e-commerce demand exploded. According to 2022 projections from Insider Intelligence, online sale milestones have arisen sooner than most industry experts had expected. As a result, US e-commerce will likely exceed $1 trillion for the first time in late 2022. Worldwide, online sales will likely continue the trend as they are expected to reach $5 trillion in 2022 and $6 trillion by 2024. Even as recovery continues, these e-commerce freight solutions will become more vital than ever for the ongoing efforts to boost throughput.

How Are Forwarders Responding to Growing Demand?

While the demand for innovative and customized e-commerce shipping solutions is apparent, forwarders need to respond efficiently. Using reliable data and analytics, they can more easily customize existing shipping solutions for e-commerce. In addition, investing in real-time tracking, same and rush-delivery services, secure transportation, and other specialized shipping options ensures customer needs get met successfully.

How Are Ecommerce Freight Forwarding Rates Trending?

Today’s e-commerce freight forwarding rates remain impacted by chain reactions that ripple across the supply chain. The second round of massive lockdowns among major Chinese ports is fueling rising forwarding rates and expenses. According to a June 2022 Freightos report, the “two-month lockdown in Shanghai has significantly impacted the availability of exports. Though authorities are trying to jumpstart production, manufacturing continues to drag. And with the city’s trucking capacity down an estimated 45%, it is difficult to get imported materials from the ports to the factories – or available shipments from factories to ports. These factors have led to an estimated 20-30% drop in export volumes out of Shanghai since the lockdown began.” 

With capacity tight, bottlenecks and backlogs extensive, and delays happening from the start of the supply chain, rising forwarding rates continue to dominate the market today. This only adds to the need for effective and innovative e-commerce shipping solutions to keep up with current trends.   

Reasons Why a World-Class Platform Is Key to Better Forwarding

Productivity depends largely on collaborative efforts between team members, managers, third-party members, and customers in a digital day and age. The need for e-commerce solutions for online retailers and freight forwarders has never reached such heights as today. Focusing time and resources on improved forwarding and shipping solutions for e-commerce brings many benefits that allow for better forwarding.

  • Easier access to data and insights on-demand
  • Faster collaboration with on-site and off-site team members 
  • On-demand access to forwarding data and resources
  • Better connectivity and communication opportunities
  • Insight into processes to overcome critical challenges
  • Ability to track and monitor loads in real-time
  • Reliable updates and notifications sent on-demand
  • Access to vetted drivers, carriers, and shippers
  • Cooperative efforts for e-commerce shipping solutions

Improve Your Use of E-Commerce Freight Forwarding Data and Resources With Cargologik

Managing rates, fees, and expenses related to standard e-commerce freight solutions depend on industry insights and access to real-time data and reports from partners. Understanding market trends gives forwarders the best opportunity to use e-commerce solutions. It is easy to improve e-commerce solutions for online retailers and give customers the service they expect from an industry partner. Signup for Cargologik today to get started!

What to Expect From E-Commerce Freight Forwarding in the Age of Disruption

E-commerce within the transportation and shipping industry encompasses all services that involve purchasing products and goods online from a retailer that must be transported and delivered to the customer at their home or office. E-commerce freight forwarding is the service that helps manage these services and keep customers satisfied while also keeping shipping costs low. Freight forwarding companies are under more pressure to provide quality and reliable freight forwarding services while still maintaining competitive prices. 

What’s Driving Continued Disruption in 2022?

Complex demands and expected services such as e-commerce freight forwarding arise because customers continue to shift their wants and needs. Disruptions make it harder to meet customer demands and provide the customized services that they still expect and anticipate, regardless of the state of the network. Irrespective of their size or niche focus, freight forwarding companies must face current and future disruptions and challenges. Freight-handling providers’ ability to overcome these issues can separate successful companies from those that continue to struggle during recent market fluctuations. 

Of all the challenges facing freight forwarding service providers, some of the most impactful are those driven by marketplace instability, transport bottlenecks, driver shortages, rising fuel, and shipping costs, and continued covid-related shutdowns. Mastering e-commerce freight forwarding services can help offset some of these issues and reduce the impact of continued disruption in 2022. Managing freight forwarding through disruptions requires end-to-end visibility and coordination throughout the supply chain network. 

Why E-Commerce Is Only Growing Throughout the Year

 The fastest and the most accessible way consumers have to overcome local supply chain disruptions is to buy online from cross-country and global providers. This, however, only serves to shift the stress and pressure of shipping and freight forwarding to different companies and supply lines. The shipping and transportation industry has long been dealing with a rise in the popularity of e-commerce freight shipping.  

As more consumers looked to online shopping to access products not available to them easily in their local area, the need for improved e-commerce freight shipping became apparent. It is a trend that is more than a decade in the making. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented and unanticipated impact on the supply chain poses the ultimate challenge to the market and keeps e-commerce freight forwarding, shipping, and transportation services in the spotlight today.

How to Improve Freight Forwarding With Ease

Preparing for the freight market in 2022 and beyond will ensure forwarders can continue to meet consumer and market demands. Most companies that have weathered the storm and adapted to the disruptions of the pandemic and ensuing market crunches understand how to implement intelligent e-commerce freight forwarding services. However, this does not mean that companies cannot improve things to improve overall success rates and productivity. According to Supply Chain Management Review,the key to succeeding at those customized services is the ability to engage existing and potential customers intelligently and ask the right questions. The best firms are able to match customers’ needs with their own organizational abilities.” This puts pressure on freight forwarding companies to offer customized services and deal with continued disruptions across the supply chain.  

This process can be simplified and improved with the following steps:

  • Stay informed with instant access to logistics timelines and delivery rates for multiple e-commerce freight forwarding services.
  • Integrate industry and company-specific forwarding tech to avoid missed opportunities and problems with freight forwarding services.
  • Share updates in real-time on various chat platforms to coordinate e-commerce freight shipping and transportation.
  • Enable automatic updating and reporting on freight forwarding services to understand teams and business networks.
  • Enable digital document management to communicate and coordinate with freight forwarding companies and 3PLs easily.
  • Upload past and current BOL information faster and easier and improve e-commerce freight shipping rates and services.
  • Keep your team members in the loop with web-based portals and hubs designed for freight forwarding services.
  • Get quotes, manage bookings, coordinate e-commerce freight forwarding loads, and follow up with customers online. 
  • Store digital documents and order specifics to maintain global forwarding and trade compliance for freight forwarding companies. 

Boost E-Commerce Forwarding With Cargologik

E-commerce freight forwarding services continue to drive the modern supply chain and form a critical lifeline for companies and consumers alike across the country and around the world. The need for freight forwarding efficiency has never been higher than it is today. This in-demand shipping service remains easily managed and profitable with the right partner. Companies embracing advancements with e-commerce freight shipping and that keep up with the newest technology and trends remain poised to deal with the continued stress and pressure of the market today. Freight forwarding companies can quickly boost forwarding services and better maintain e-commerce related forwarding services with the right industry partnership. Contact Cargologik and sign up to learn more about improving freight forwarding services for today’s volatile and uncertain market.

Why More E-Commerce Shippers Are Outsourcing Logistics to Forwarders

E-commerce refers to the process of buying and selling goods and services over the internet. That is the simple part, but it’s an incredibly complex process that requires logistics expertise and efficiency. Yes, it has come to represent a vital alternative to brick-and-mortar store shopping, and some businesses have opted to have both while others choose to remain strictly virtual with their services. The increasing demand for products has made e-commerce shippers rely more heavily than ever on outside assistance for logistical management and forwarding assistance. With everything from food and clothes to electronics and toys to tickets and more being available online, e-commerce platforms and websites represent the future of the modern economy. And it’s important to under why e-commerce is on the rise, how forwarders can help, and the benefits of outsourcing e-commerce logistics

Why E-Commerce Is on the Rise

As highlighted in a report by Material Handling & Logistics, the average retail e‐commerce sales for the second quarter of 2020 hit $211.5 billion, mainly due to the COVID‐19 driven increase in virtual sales. E-commerce sales rose an estimated 31.8% from the first quarter of 2020 and a staggering 44.5% from the second quarter of 2019. E‐commerce now makes up nearly a quarter of retail sales in the United States and shows no sign of slowing.  As e-commerce continues to rise in popularity, the need for freight collaboration platforms and websites to coordinate will continue to rise as well. Ultimately, people realized the benefits of convenience and increased efficiency that comes with e-commerce because of the disruptions of 2020 and 2021. 

Why Forwarders and E-Commerce Shippers Must Adapt to This New Normal 

One of the most significant factors driving increased e-commerce focus for forwarders and shippers is the need for improved shipping options and personalized delivery services. Customers increasingly seek out businesses that offer same-day shipping, and the expectation of free shipping options also remains high. With increased e-commerce service making it faster and easier to order goods online, shippers must adapt to the demand. And partnering with forwarders and other third parties can help e-commerce shippers make the most of the growing economy and market. 

Another demand changing the way shippers and forwarders in the industry respond is order returns. Customers embrace e-commerce trends because it is fast and convenient to buy and return goods when necessary. Keeping the forward and reverse flow of the supply chain moving as smoothly as possible takes a collaborative effort from freight forwarders and shippers alike.

How Air and Ocean Freight Forwarders Are Helping With Imports?

The pandemic forced retailers and customers to shift their focus and adjust their practices to accommodate supply chain disruptions. Now, as restrictions lift and things get back to normal, many businesses and customers are finding the benefits of e-commerce shopping worth hanging onto post-pandemic. With a long-term plan needed, many shippers are finding themselves in need of additional support and assistance. Collaboration between ocean freight forwarders and air cargo forwarders or carriers makes it easier than ever to fulfill rising needs and demands. These trends and collaborative efforts make it easier for e-commerce shippers to manage imports and deliver shipments on time. Additionally, the balance between air and ocean can help shippers account for urgent orders while still leveraging the cost-effective and frankly, less expensive, use of ocean transport too. These forwarders also serve a vital role in reducing confusion or delays in customs processing by pre-clearing cargo and helping shippers reliably know when freight will arrive despite customs risks. 

Benefits of Outsourcing to Forwarders For E-Commerce Shippers

By outsourcing loads and collaborating with forwarders to handle logistics and freight capacity procurement, shippers, as well as customers and every other team member involved in the process, can enjoy critical benefits, including:

  • Improved customer service relations and services.
  • Faster and more accurate supply chain communication.
  • Transparency from end-to-end throughout the supply chain.
  • Improved ability to successfully manage and source more inventory.
  • Advanced tracking and monitoring options for shipments.
  • Cost reduction, fewer fees, less overhead, and lower surcharges.
  • Lowered fuel usage and reduced waste throughout the supply chain.
  • More streamlined approach to digital freight forwarding as a whole.

Faster, Cheaper, and More Efficient E-Commerce Shippers Use Technology 

All these factors call for new standards and goals for e-commerce freight forwarding. By partnering with experts in e-commerce, freight forwarding, and transportation services, capitalizing on opportunities and maximizing profits stays easier than ever. Request a demo of Cargologik to learn more about why e-commerce shippers outsource forwarding services and how they can help take your brand to the next level.

What Is in the E-Commerce Freight Shipping Tech Stack

At the heart of modern economic growth and expansion lies collaborative e-commerce freight shipping services. Few would argue the impact e-commerce and related trends have had on the contemporary world and local and global economies. A thorough and well-organized tech stack setup lies behind every successful shipper who can capitalize on market trends and customer demands. While every configuration and combination of technological tools are different for each service provider, some key basics exist that every e-commerce shipper needs to embrace. Let’s take a look at the different aspects of this unique e-commerce freight shipping system lineup and its value proposition.

Before System Use, Understanding Frontend and Backend Tech

The various components that go into a modern e-commerce tech stack are classified as frontend or backend, and before getting into each system, it’s imperative to understand this difference. As outlined by Just Total Tech, “the frontend, or client-side, is the presentation layer that users can see and interact with. The backend consists of server-side technologies and works behind the scenes to perform the complex set of processes needed to provide users with information and functionality related to online shopping experiences.” Maintaining both sides of the tech stack proves vital for ensuring successful growth in any market environment, especially in the complex world of e-commerce.

Choose an E-Commerce Store or Platform for Selling

Without an online shop where customers can buy goods and products, the need for e-commerce freight shipping would not exist. Establishing a simple and easy-to-use storefront will ensure customers can easily shop for and purchase what they are looking for, anytime and anywhere they need. Additionally, different e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento, all offer unique strategies for online fulfillment, and it’s important to understand the system requirements and integration methodologies for each. 

Utilize Third-Party Logistics Service Providers and Software Vendors

Taking advantage of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) can help streamline key aspects of e-commerce operations, namely warehousing and fulfillment. Oftentimes, new sellers make the mistake of trying to manage their warehouse. The focus should be on product creation and marketing and selling; 3PL providers can help handle the mundane work of inventory and storage management. Additionally, some companies choose to outsource the whole process of storing, fulfilling and even marketing by leveraging the value of fulfillment by Amazon (Amazon FBA) as well, which while not a traditionally identified type of 3PL, is still useful. This also may include third-party software suites, such as a WMS, OMS, YMS or DSS, to ensure everything functions as expected and without delay.

Tap Into Freight Forwarding Services

If goods manufacturing occurs far from shipping and distribution centers, then the need to move freight quickly and easily becomes apparent. The easiest way to accomplish this is to work with a freight forwarder to move the product from the factory to the warehouse, especially when those moves involve international border crossings. Freight forwarding services and e-commerce freight shipping go hand in hand regularly, and forwarders with an established network of CBP protocols and offices will be best equipped to reduce delays at the point of import and also help your team maximize throughput. 

Remember Your Accounting Systems

Successful e-commerce also relies on an adequate budget and a practical financial tracking and monitoring system, i.e., an accounting system. Proper accounting makes it easier to plan to take full advantage of peak times and best prepare to get through the slumps in the market, and accounting naturally blends into existing ERP platforms and even business intelligence (BI) resources for accounting purposes as well. 

Use a CMS to Manage Marketing Too

A content management system (CMS) features a computer software and platform integration that helps business owners manage the creation and modification of digital content, which is a cornerstone of any e-commerce freight shipping tech stack. Ultimately, it is this system that helps shippers reach a wider audience through non-traditional purchasing channels, such as selling on social media, and it’s important to take all considerations for integration of shipping services within such channels. 

Focus on Technological Integration and Onboarding

E-commerce freight shipping would not exist today without technological advancements in the logistics tech stack. From real-time shipment monitoring and tracking to automated delivery updates and communications, technology makes e-commerce possible. Improving services by utilizing the latest technological advances and providing proper onboarding of new e-commerce platforms and fulfillment services are the top priority. After all, failures in the onboarding of new services or fulfillment parties, including 3PLs or forwarders, will inevitably lead to missed opportunities and higher landed costs. 

Maximize E-Commerce Freight Shipping Efficiency With Cargologik 

While it takes much planning, collaboration, and monitoring to keep e-commerce freight shipping efficient and profitable, a robust tech stack is a key to success. The right partnership can have a significant impact on the entire supply chain. Maximize efficiency and capitalize on current market trends with an innovative tech stack support system. Start by putting the above systems into use within your company and remember to sign up for Cargologik to unlock more value from a single source of truth for e-commerce freight management. 

Customer Experience Considerations for E-Commerce Companies & How Forwarders Can Help

As reported by BusinessWire, the digital freight forwarding market will grow at 25% CAGR through 2026, and across all modes, the e-commerce expansion is forcing all companies to evolve their transportation strategies. This is the age of fast, free delivery, and the pressure on e-commerce has led to increased demand for faster replenishment, more inventory despite setbacks in available warehousing space, and a stronger demand to work in tandem with Amazon, particularly for retailers leveraging Amazon FBA. There was a time when the Amazon Effect was seen as something to be feared, but with the expansion, the Amazon Effect shows retailers how they can augment their operations and achieve lasting success. It’s time for shippers to think about how their strategies for global fulfillment, whether with FBA or other channels, can benefit from improved freight forwarding efficiencies and how that translates into meaningful improvements in the network.

Integrate All Logistics Timelines

Parcel average daily package volumes soared past all records in the 2020 peak season, says Logistics Management, and employers hired thousands upon thousands of new employees to meet demand. Still, there is a clear talent shortage in terms of drivers and those willing to work in logistics, even if in a back-office capacity. Combined with more carriers, including regionals, and the changing face of ocean, there are many timelines affecting shippers. That’s why it’s critical to see the full timelines across all modes within a single resource and forwarding platforms like Cargologik offer a way to finally unify all timelines into a single source of truth for global e-commerce execution. 

Provide Instant Shipment Status Updates and Alerts

Visibility and end-to-end shipment transparency through forwarders also build on the customer experience in e-commerce. Shippers can track the shipment status by exception, getting alerts when things go awry, and this occurs in tandem with real-time shipment status updates that can be shared through the downstream supply chain. In turn, forwarders become the data-centralization resource needed to provide superior customer service without trying to invest in an entirely new tech stack. 

Upload BOL Information in Bulk

Another critical step in the consolidation of management comes from uploading documents, including BOL, POD or customs materials, within one place. Rather than trying to manage shipments from origins all over the globe, forwarders that have a single repository for uploading and storing documents are better equipped to share that document when requested and avoid the hassle of maintaining records. Remember, those are critical functions for those engaged in global trade, and that will further speed customs clearance along the way. 

Reduced Delays in Quotes and Bookings

Part of the challenge of managing the customer experience in e-commerce comes from the typical delays that exist throughout the supply chain. If a shipper needs a quote, there may be many emails, calls and minutes wasted trying to find the right carrier. But forwarders that deploy a unified system that’s pre-built to handle increased, automated execution and quoting can successfully cull those delays. Since shippers can effectively get more quotes and turn those quotes into scheduled deliveries/pick-ups, the B2B customer experience increases. Additionally, that trickles down into positive gains for the B2C customer experience in e-commerce as well. 

Maintain Increased Compliance to Handle New Regulations

There’s another side to global trade and compliance that involves much more than simply keeping records and having them accurately compiled. With all the added pressure on the industry, as well as the increasing rates across the board, Brooks A. Bentz of Logistics Management noted how additional regulations are likely. Those new regulations will put limited digital capabilities under the microscope, and for both shippers and forwarders, there may be little room for error. Using a centralized platform for e-commerce like Cargologik can make maintaining compliance with future regulations easier. 

Deliver a Higher-Tier of Service for E-Commerce Shippers by Becoming a Forwarder-of-Choice With Cargologik

There’s a simple reality of e-commerce. Be as good as Amazon or get out of the industry. Yes, there are many things Amazon does that go well beyond your capabilities, but there’s another solution. Rather than trying to beat Amazon, become equal by leveraging a digital strategy for forwarding. Why? Because it’s that digital strategy that can help your team increase efficiency, avoid delays, and better manage operations. And again, it all begins with leveraging technology and people-powered processes to stay informed, proactive and ready for the next disruption. And most importantly, those capabilities lead to your ability to provide a higher tier of service for e-commerce shippers that will inherently lead to improvements in the final customer experience in e-commerce on a transactional basis and beyond. Sign up for Cargologik to get started today. 

5 Tips on Better Managing Your E-Commerce Supply Chain

As the logistics industry reaches its peak season and complexity, managing the e-commerce supply chain is paramount to success. With the introduction of omnichannel experiences and other technological advances, many businesses struggle to compete with digital freight forwarding companies. For better management, leaders must adapt to the growth in the economy and the booming demand for goods. The best way to follow through is to integrate new software with existing systems, learn to capture data to improve forecasting and harness the power of automation.

Here are some quick ways you can get your feet wet when it comes to managing the e-commerce supply chain:

1. Integrate Your Shipping and Inventory Management Systems

Any team must take the first step to enhance performance measures by deploying and integrating shipping and inventory management systems. The more connected your systems are, the better.  Although it’s easier said than done, seek out solutions that are interoperable and that can connect via APIs. Be wary of solutions that are “walled gardens,” meaning that they work well and integrate, but only with the software provider’s other software and modules. That often you will have to pay for. In this day and age, there’s so much room for innovation, yet very little seems to be happening in tandem with one another. 

As the digital freight tech frontier continues to leave everyone behind, it means management needs to get on board. The e-commerce supply chain needs more advanced approaches to support the need and demand during peak season. While these systems work in tandem, it leaves little room for error when these two systems combine. 

2. Capture Data to Improve Transportation Needs Forecasts

To ease into the powerful flow that will come in the busy season, data can help those who need it. Be careful what you wish for though, while technology does streamline operations and make things easier, sometimes it can create a cognitive burden.  That is, an overload of data where it’s difficult to parse through it to find meaningful, actionable insights which are necessary for today’s modern forwarder.

For a business’s e-commerce supply chain, access to previous data will help improve transportation need forecasts. Being able to retroactively review operations over time, even at the individual representative level, can allow you to hone in on your most profitable lanes, people, and clients.  And when it comes to improving margin and reducing costs, focusing on these areas and removing the ones that are not as profitable can help an independent forwarder to differentiate while also improving their margin.

Generally, this type of information is hard to track and the relevant data hard to get a hold of. This is rapidly changing with forwarding systems and the new class of logistics software known as freight collaboration and communication.

Regarding this year, due to the unprecedented economic growth in the last part of 2020, this type of info has been very difficult to track – especially if you didn’t have the software or tools to understand what was happening with your business and customers. To combat this, implement a centralized data system and add systems that can collaborate with existing technology. Real-time visibility also assists management with forecasting as they can see what happens when it happens. 

3. Apply Analytics to Measure the Fiscal Health of Your Operation

Capturing data allows team members to measure and apply analytics to the operations. Doing so also enables those with an e-commerce supply chain presence to manage the overall financial health of the network. This data and these tools can serve as your true north, directing what you should be focusing on and generally maximizing, which is what you’re great at as a forwarding organization. 

This is also critically important for those who need to remain competitive against those who utilize a digital freight network. We encourage our independent logistics companies to be wary of utilizing these networks without truly understanding the economic drivers and motivation of the software provider. Sometimes the strategies of these software companies span many years, and if they’re not operating transparently and sharing this information with you, then just be careful. 

Often these networks can be races to the bottom, predicated too highly upon price. When that’s the case, then you end up commoditizing your business and exchanging differentiation for a short-term fix for your revenue issues. Seek out software that not only helps secure business but also that empowers the forwarder or broker. 

Keeping up with fiscal health can help prevent any high overhead costs or other transportation costs with the right systems to help you manage this over time will allow you to succeed in today’s environment.

4. Leverage Automated Workflows to Manage by Exception

Another opportunity to enhance collaboration by digitizing your freight network means leveraging automation to include workflows to manage by exception. The idea behind this is to decrease the wasted time for issues that do not always need human intervention. If you find yourself engaged in the same redundant activities over and over again in your commercial business, take a second look at them. See if there are consultants, software, or other ways to redesign the business in order that you can remove some of this redundancy. 

Automated workflows for the e-commerce supply chain will keep time-consuming errors at bay and increase productivity. Redundancy and the associated wasted time and costs associated with both the forwarder and the shipper is the real commercial killer keeping your margins low and preventing you from expanding your client base effectively.

5. Avoid Ambiguity With Real-Time Data and Clear, Concise Communications

Encouraging collaboration and technology in freight forwarding help clear confusion using real-time data too. A lightweight system of record that can be easily accessed or managed by partners and clients might just be the answer for many international forwarding companies.

Regarding the business itself, many aspects may be left up to interpretation, but those split-second decisions can cost valuable time and resources without all available data. And in worse cases of oversight or sloppiness, can cost you the business if you cannot effectively get that e-commerce cargo to where it needs to go on time and on budget. This is why transparency is so key to all parties.

According to Supply Chain Dive, those with an e-commerce supply chain presence have the leg up, but planning should parallel forecasting for a continuous clear picture. 

Put These Steps Into Action in Your E-commerce Supply Chain by Choosing the Right Tech Partner

Start the path by following the steps above. And remember that upgrading and implementing collaborative technology to the existing network will boost productivity and profitability. It doesn’t need to be a massive investment either, or something where you’re trading a significant portion of your revenue away for. Baby steps eventually turn into real steps, and simply getting started can put you on the right path forward to start building a culture of differentiation that can keep up with customer demand and tech. Decreasing costs and increasing the flow is made easier with the right partner. It’s time to take action to get ahead this peak season, gain visibility, and get the most out of upgrading by contacting Cargologik today.

How Shopify and Other E-Commerce Platforms Transform Logistics

In shipping, there are a million different terms to describe the expansion and advancement of technology. Freight brokers, freight forwarders, carriers, regional contract service providers, and other entities dot the landscape of logistics. The supply chain is complex, with both generalists providing overarching services and more specialists that go all-in on one specific aspect of the chain. It can get very complicated, very fast.

In recent years, the role of e-commerce has changed how everyday companies approach transportation management, and companies like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento, have created an entirely new foray of management. 

Rather than trying to handle minimal needs, today’s e-commerce logistics platforms are designed to rapidly scale with shippers and serve as a system of record for the whole operation. 

Let’s take a closer look at these entities and how they’re playing a vital role in the digital transformation of the industry. 

What Is E-Commerce Logistics?

E-commerce logistics describes the way in which companies, such as retailers, approach the need to handle shipping and management of digital or online orders, regardless of where a customer placed an order. 

These orders are also often taken on the terms of the customer including how they are placing their order. All businesses should focus on enabling and removing roadblocks for their customers to do business with them. 

In this case, the digital order can be via desktop, mobile, or tablet. It can be on an iOS or Android device. They can be using Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, or whichever browser they prefer to use. And usually over a phone or business internet connection. Regardless of the device, browser, connection, and any other factor, brands should be in tune with their customer’s activity and the environment around that activity.

This, in turn, leads to a lot of complexity to consider. These associated activities behind it generally take one of three forms:

  • An in-house strategy where the shipper packages the shipment, schedules pickup and plans for replenishment needs. 
  • Dropshipping, also known as shipping direct to consumer (DTC e-commerce), where the order is routed to a distribution center or manufacturer for fulfillment and without disrupting your internal flow of goods. 
  • Working with third-party logistics providers (3PLs) that provide multiple services, from transportation procurement through scheduling and warehousing, to reduce your workload. 

All three methods of managing e-commerce logistics have something in common—they focus on finding efficiencies wherever possible and enabling the customer. And that’s a distinction that has come out of the biggest ecommerce platforms like Shopify—unity through data and improved experiences. Simplifying and enabling the brand creation process, as it concurrently does on the “customer” side.

Business E-Commerce Logistics Platform Development Continues to Emphasize the Need for Integration

The types of platforms for managing e-commerce have expanded dramatically in recent years. According to The Wall Street Journal, e-commerce order volume surged more than 10 years over the past year. This jump in e-commerce orders related to lockdowns, lifestyle changes, and created supply chain flux where things are crazier than ever to balance and manage. Transparency is becoming ever more important during these times, where end-consumers still want their 2-day shipping and real-time alerts on their phone. 

Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions within the industry, such as Shopify’s purchase of 6 River Systems Inc., have stimulated additional interest within innovation in logistics. Together, Shopify’s advancements work toward a way to improve efficiency, expand fulfillment capabilities, and help shippers scale their networks. Shopify and companies of the same status quo are continuously developing new ways to streamline shipping execution, and part of that goes back to how well these systems integrate (talk to) to one another. 

Without integration, e-commerce platforms fall short of their value proposition. Integration through API and EDI, not to mention other options, such as RPA-based resources, can help shippers and intermediaries, like digital freight forwarders, reduce reliance on outdated processes and create more value for their trading partners. It adds up to a more informed, digital freight network that can handle more of your operation, so you can focus on interacting with your customers and building more value in your brand.

A Few Considerations for Choosing E-Commerce Platforms

E-commerce logistics platforms offer a way to scale operations based on demand. Still, shippers need to know a few things about how to maximize the value of these platforms to reap the rewards of digital transformation. 

  1. Choose a partner based on capabilities and how well they align to your current and projected needs.
  2. Evaluate the real worth of value-added logistics services, like packaging. 
  3. Focus on offering fast, free shipping to meet customer demands. 
  4. Automate redundancies by using chatbots or other advanced features to enable digital freight management.
  5. Increase order quality and accuracy by leveraging the collective buying power of companies like Shopify.
  6. Think about the environmental cost, using data within Shopify to understand the carbon footprint reductions possible within strategic e-commerce management.
  7. Gain control over your inventory flow, reallocating freight when necessary, forecasting demand based on ordering trends, and more.
  8. Connect your warehouses to track inventory across the full network regardless of its current stage in the shipment lifecycle. 
  9. Scale inventory based on regional demand, avoiding overordering and positioning inventory closer to end-users. 
  10. Diversify your carrier mix to reduce the “monopoly” a carrier may have on rates when you work with only that given carrier. 
  11. Remember to consider the impact of reverse logistics, especially since e-commerce has some of the highest returns rates in the industry. 

Enhance Customer and User Experiences With an E-Commerce-Ready Tech Stack

Shopify-users have a clear advantage in the world of e-commerce logistics. But the simple reality is that any company that connects systems and puts the power of technology to work can achieve record-breaking growth through the current e-commerce surge. T

There is money to be found and ways to improve efficiency at every turn, and it all begins by understanding your network, reducing the traditional delays and barriers to growth, and letting the limitless power of the cloud permeate your company. Last, these advances will naturally lend themselves to improved customer and user experiences, reduced overhead expenses, and a path to stay ahead of your competition.

Learn more about how your team can put the power of digital connectivity to work in e-commerce logistics by signing up for Cargologik today.

DTC E-Commerce Logistics and the Role of Digital Freight Forwarding

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce logistics play a huge role in the era of digital freight forwarding. The rise of e-commerce logistics came with the increased demand for domestic and international goods. The last fiscal year showed significant increases in household spending on these goods, according to CommonThreadCo.com. As a result, some companies were able to increase traffic by 2.5x with DTC e-commerce. DTC e-commerce eliminates the need for a middle man and allows businesses to connect with customers on a more personal level. Digital freight forwarding works to get those goods to their final destination in one swoop and create positive customer experiences. And it’s essential to understand how this happens. 

What Exactly Is DTC E-Commerce and How Does it Impact the Modern Supply Chain Network

DTC e-commerce is the practice of bringing products, goods, or services directly to the customer without the red tape and intermediaries. Digitization helps the modern supply chain by automating different functions for business owners. This concept can be made more accessible by using a digital freight network that eliminates the stresses caused by the back-office backlog. This is due in part so DTC retailers and vendors can continue to focus on what matters: building their brand and connecting with customers, according to McKinsey & Company

Potential Disruptions and Issues That Come With Poor Shipping Management Within the E-Commerce Industry

DTC e-commerce logistics do not come without risks. Missed deadlines, damaged goods, higher fees or surcharges, increased dwell time, more deadhead and dead haul miles, or decline are just some of the potential risks of poor shipping management. Damaged goods can lead to missed deadlines and adverse experiences with customers and can lead to customer dissatisfaction. More deadhead and dead haul miles mean missed opportunities and empty trailers. Some ways to combat this include using a digital freight forwarder to coordinate these steps and keeping preventable profit losses from happening with real-time status updates. The shipping risks in freight forwarding remain, although freight forwarding decreases the likelihood of these events happening. The DTC e-commerce industry evolves each year, and with the growing demand, freight forwarding can offset the issues that may arise. 

How DTC E-Commerce Helps Streamline Shipping and Transportation Amenities With Freight Forwarding Services 

There are several ways DTC e-commerce helps streamline shipping and other amenities. First, the use of domestic freight forwarders assists with better communication overall. Freight forwarders can monitor real-time with on-demand tracking that makes it easier for shippers to view the process. Real-time data monitoring allows each level of the transportation process to access the data, potentially saving thousands of errors that may not have been caught otherwise. 

Freight forwarders create a deliberate strategy to ensure fulfillment for clients and their shoppers. Freight forwarders work as the intermediary and connect with vendors to ensure fulfillment. By doing so, this increases profitability by increasing on-time, in-full deliveries. Building an e-commerce strategy will increase profitability and allow businesses into this ever-increasing market. 

Maximize Growth and Tap Into the Power of Digital Freight Forwarding Today

When it comes to gauging profitability, DTC e-commerce is ready to go to the next level. Freight forwarders are changing the game when it comes to the booming e-commerce world. They maximize growth by tapping into the power of digitization and automation. This creates gains for freight forwarders, retailers, other businesses and their customers. Eliminating the excess processes via multiple channels will ensure ease within shipping. The e-commerce world can be overwhelming, and freight forwarding can put those worries to bed. Tap into the power of digital freight forwarder practices today and integrate this service to increase profitability. Sign up for Cargologik to improve your DTC e-commerce fulfillment strategy today. 

Digital Freight Collaboration for E-Commerce Logistics Units

Digital freight transportation and logistics have long been the backbone of the U.S. economy. Innovative use of modern technology and data-driven logistics allow for more collaboration within partnerships, which can help freight managers secure capacity and meet the ever-changing needs of the e-commerce market. The core of the network is freight transportation providers. Nearly 70% of freight transported in the U.S. annually, an estimated $671 billion, rely on truck transportation, according to TruckingInfo.net. This demand has only grown as e-commerce continues to increase in popularity, showing the need for innovative freight collaboration like never before.

Understanding the Connection Between E-Commerce and Digital Freight Logistics

Real-time visibility remains an integral part of the modern e-commerce supply chain. Especially now, transparency in operations and staying connected with drivers is necessary to secure future growth.  Digital freight logistics focuses on connecting drivers and shippers to ensure capacity is maintained and all units arrive on time. The actual value of digital logistics and improved visibility is that most U.S. trucking companies are not hefty million- or billion-dollar companies. 

According to Supply Chain 24/7, about 97% of carriers in the U.S. operate 20 or fewer trucks. And out of that number, a staggering 90% have six or fewer trucks on the road at any given time. Digital processes for freight tracking, collaboration, and reporting have always been necessary for the modern supply chain. Still, with the continued rise in e-commerce and the need for collaborative partnerships, digital systems and processes are now a requirement. 

Problems With Outdated or Inefficient Collaboration Processes

There are many emerging issues within the supply chain network, thanks to ineffective processes and poor collaboration. Poor communications, lack of visibility, inefficiency and poor adaptability, slow response times, and sub-par customer service are just some of the most prominent and devastating of these. Outdated and cumbersome methods impact the entire transportation process making the whole freight network more vulnerable. Cloud-based logistics organizations and the idea of digital freight management have been on the rise in recent years. However, current events are bringing into sharp contrast the transportation service provider who has not embraced modern technological advancements. 

Logistics providers that depend on antiquated solutions find themselves struggling to keep up with consumer demands and needs. They also often struggle to collaborate and coordinate with third-party suppliers efficiently due to the disconnect in digital processes and platforms. Relying on outdated processes and protocols makes it difficult to deliver units in a timely manner and keep shippers and customers alike satisfied.

Growing With and Adapting to Market Changes With Digital Freight Collaboration and Partnerships

There are several innovative ways collaborative partnerships help freight managers secure the capacity to meet the demands of e-commerce.  Adapting to changes in the market and shifting consumer needs and expectations is a critical part of successful business operations today. Embracing freight collaboration and tech-driven partnerships can help transportation service providers maintain the competitive edge. Everything from digital load platforms, digital freight matching software, built-in mobile communication apps, and automated data collection and analysis dashboards can help shippers stay up-to-date with supply chain technology and innovations. 

Rather than trying to do everything independently, shippers can partner with other shipping providers and network specialists to improve their compatibility and enhance their competitive advantage. Market changes and shifting trends are unavoidable, so adaptability, scalability, and versatility are all critical characteristics that allow shippers to grow and adapt to every high and low fluctuation. Market volatility is unavoidable but its effects can be mitigated with proper planning and collaboration.

Maximize Growth and Salability With E-Commerce Ready Freight Forwarding Systems

Transportation service providers need to plan for the next shift in the market ahead of the coming peak season. They should also continue to expect the momentum around digital freight collaboration to continue as more shippers and carriers integrate digital technology and software trends into their supply chains. Modern technology and innovations improve operations throughout the supply chain, from warehouses to distribution centers, and from docking yards to delivery destinations. 

The entire transportation network will become even more efficient and productive with digital collaborations and automated freight management. So, be sure to find the freight forwarding system and maximize growth potential with e-commerce focused freight management and collaboration systems. Sign up for Cargologik to get started today and upload your first 10 MBLs for automated tracking and sharing with your customer, for free.

Choosing the Right E-Commerce 3PL for Your Company

Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are collaborative networks that many e-commerce logistics procurement managers often utilize today, to get more done, when they may not necessarily have the large internal team or budget to handle the work with their own team. 

The role of the 3PL essentially entails overseeing and managing the supply chain platform. As providers focused on managing and optimizing the digital supply chain, e-commerce 3PLs, including freight forwarders, focuses on strengthening the supply chain network from end to end.  Their primary task involves allowing online stores to focus on marketing and critical business operations and sharing the ultimate goal – which is making their customers happy. 

In today’s competitive business market, and with the drastic rise and acceleration of e-commerce traffic, these kinds of services remain in higher demand than ever before. Customer expectations are also increasing exponentially. Last, we’re also seeing independent brokers and forwarders seeking to expand their organizational capabilities and roles into more international markets. 

And no matter where you stand, the sooner the better for these up-and-coming e-commerce brands to realize that they can do more, with “less”. That “less” being a function of selecting the right logistics partner, at the right time. It’s often in the early days that these critical decisions can define whether or not a new venture, such as a direct to consumer, or CPG company, is going to succeed or not.  It’s better to get those logistics bearings aligned earlier rather than later. 

Why the Right 3PL Is E-Commerce Ready

The demand for reliable and versatile e-commerce 3PL partnerships has mainly grown thanks to the push e-commerce has given to the global economy. More people than ever before are using online shopping, virtual ordering, and delivery services to meet their purchasing and shopping needs. 

According to Forbes, recent surveys found that only around 9% of U.S. shoppers, 8% of Japanese consumers, and 15% of United Kingdom customers claim to have never made a purchase online before the shutdowns of 2020. Yet, e-commerce has exploded with more people ordering online than ever before, pandemic or not.  

The modern customer has better, more affordable access to mobile devices and corresponding technology platforms like Shopify. Individuals can start building e-commerce brands easier, cheaper, and quicker than before and often can access large untapped consumer markets.  But those consumer markets also have higher demands regarding their “2-day shipping,” and instant updates of their logistics timeline. Factoring these concepts in, it’s no surprise that the world’s population was already gravitating towards e-commerce, and now doing so exponentially more than ever before.

E-commerce 3PL services, ranging from brokering through freight forwarders, have made it easier to meet these shifts in market demand and consumer needs, and these consumers will likely remain for some time to come. E-commerce is the way to the future, and supply chains that fail to embrace 3PLs and other technology-driven services will struggle to keep up and fund success in today’s e-commerce market.

Top Qualities to Look for in an E-Commerce 3PL

The value of third-party networking and outside support can influence the entire supply chain’s growth and profit margins. However, knowing what to look for in a partnership remains equally important. 

When choosing digital freight networks and partnerships, consider the following: 

  • Integration with significant shopping service providers and cart apps. Easier access to apps and services means customers can more easily make purchases. Platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, & Magento are great places to start.
  • Access to all transportation and shipping modes or options. Offering several shipping options increase customer appeal and can also boost delivery success rates. Often, the startup supply chain will start simple and become ever-complex and critical to the business with time. Thus, having a system that can cover those complexities overtime should be top of mind.
  • Ability to provide instant shipping rates based on real-time data trends. In a competitive market, rate differences of mere pennies can quickly add up. Leveraging a rate marketplace can get you the cheapest option, but not often the right one. 
  • Uses a SaaS-based platform to keep overhead costs and fees in check. Reducing fees and surcharges allows for improved returns and more significant profit margins overall. Freight forwarding platforms give your internal logistics teams superpowers when it comes to working with multiple LSPs.
  • Avoiding confusion by creating intuitive and easy-to-use digital dashboards. Collaboration is more straightforward when e-commerce 3PLs can easily connect and communicate along with a unified system of truth. Seeing your data can allow you to think more strategically and help make the right decisions.
  • Enables in-depth tracking and real-time updates for valuable loads. From pharmaceuticals to perishable goods, automated shipment tracking remains a vital component. Being able to present these updates in a way that’s easy to understand, to all key stakeholders, is also very important when it comes to tracking.
  • Empowers team members with automation and digital freight matching. Giving drivers and managers the power to self-regulate when possible boosts overall efficiency. Tap into the untapped market of truckers for example with SmartHop or Draying.io
  • Improved management of freight loads for short-term and contractual capacity. Domestic and international forwarding services improve significantly with 3PL collaborations. International has more moving pieces, and being able to put those pieces together to see the big picture matters.
  • Provides analytics to improve scalability and adaptability. Real-time response and efficiency during disruptions can mean the difference between success and failure. Timing is everything as they say, and the sooner, the better, in almost all business situations to plan for the optimal outcome.

Modern 3PL networking partnerships can help improve end-to-end visibility and performance within every area of the supply chain network. Knowing which traits and qualities to look for remains a critical part of forming a strong and mutually beneficial e-commerce partnership. 

Choose the Right E-Commerce 3PL Focused on Freight Forwarding to Thrive in the Global Freight Network

The need for third-party partners and providers continues to grow as freight management industry experts and freight forwarding managers across the globe search for a way to remain competitive. 

Utilizing the power, scalability, and flexibility of e-commerce 3PLs opens the doors for future growth and success within the supply chain network. Tapping into that vast potential of the global freight network requires acceptance and utilization of freight forwarding innovations, including 3PL and automated supply chain networks. Kickstart your e-commerce 3PL partnership by signing up for Cargologik and uploading your first 10 MBL’s for free today.