Your guide to efficient e-commerce logistics

Streamline your e-commerce logistics

Efficient e-commerce logistics is a crucial factor if you want to run a successful online shop. It's simply a matter of finding logistics solutions that make everything run smoothly. Whether you run a large or small e-commerce business, efficient information and delivery flows will make your business run more smoothly.

In this article, we therefore look at how e-commerce logistics works, what logistics solutions are available and what challenges characterise e-logistics today.

What is e-commerce logistics?

E-commerce logistics, also known as e-logistics, are the processes involved in the logistics of your online store - everything from inventory management, ordering, payment and delivery to any complaints and returns. A functioning supply chain can help you create a successful online store with good customer relations, increasing profitability, sustainable transport and much more.

Four common logistics solutions in e-commerce

First-party logistics

First-party logistics, also known as 1PL, means that the e-retailer takes care of the entire warehouse, packs its products, handles returns, inverts, transports and delivers the goods on its own. This logistics solution is common among small e-commerce stores and allows the e-merchant to have complete control over the entire logistics chain. However, for large e-commerce companies with a wide range of products and international customers, first-party logistics can be impractical.

Second-party logistics

Second-party logistics, also known as 2PL, means that one logistics company handles the delivery for both you and other e-commerce companies. They are responsible for the safe and secure movement of the company's goods from point A to point B. Other logistics such as warehousing, packing and inventory are handled internally by the e-commerce company. This type of logistics solution is suitable for e-retailers who want to outsource some parts of the supply chain and take care of other parts themselves.

Third-party logistics

Third-party logistics, also known as 3PL, means that as an e-retailer you let a third party handle all or part of the logistics chain. It is often the transport that companies choose to hire out. Two common reasons are that they do not have that capacity within the company or prefer to focus more on their core business.

Fourth-party logistics

Fourth-party logistics, also known as 4PL, means that an e-commerce company leaves the entire logistics process to someone else. For large players, it can be very costly to manage the entire logistics chain under their own roof as it can require a lot of space and staff. Therefore, it may be more efficient and less costly to let another company with logistics as an area of expertise manage the entire logistics flow.

PostNord's e-commerce logistics solutions

In the PostNord Business Portal, you'll find several smart tools to help you take control of your e-commerce logistics. Using the various functions of the portal, you can get an overview of the entire supply chain from freight booking to delivery and return.

For example, the Skicka Direkt Business feature allows you to manage all your orders, shipping reservations and deliveries in a secure and easy way. Track & Trace allows you to track all your incoming and outgoing shipments and update the recipient on the delivery status of the package.

In the portal you can also access statistics and reports. Perfect for evaluating e-commerce logistics. For example, you can take out a quality, environmental, consignment or pallet balance report.

Four tips to streamline your e-commerce logistics

Check your stock

Few things are as annoying as when you buy a product and then find out it's out of stock. By checking your stock regularly, you can save yourself and your customers the frustration (and bad reviews) that can arise in such situations.

Improve your deliveries

Delivery times and delivery options play a major role in your competitiveness. For many customers, delivery times and the ability to decide how and where the parcel is delivered play an important role. Some people like to pick up their parcels at a post office after work, while others prefer to have the parcel delivered to their door at a certain time of the day. By providing customers with multiple delivery options at the time of ordering, you can seamlessly meet their needs and allow them to choose an option that fits into their daily lives.

To improve your deliveries, you can bring in a third-party logistics company and let them handle your deliveries. At PostNord, we offer several solutions for third-party logistics. Read more here.

Choose a professional logistics partner

Whether you want to outsource part or all of your e-commerce logistics, it's important to choose a logistics partner that suits you. Here are five questions worth asking: What logistics solutions does the company offer? What is the price picture? How security conscious are they? What do others say about the company? What is their customer service like? How technically compatible are you?

Review and evaluate your e-commerce logistics regularly

By checking and evaluating your logistics chains, you can quickly detect and solve the problems that arise. After all, efficient and functioning logistics chains are essential for your business to flourish.

Challenges in e-commerce logistics

As e-commerce has grown, intermediaries have become both more numerous and more global, resulting in increasingly complex logistics. Each component is dependent on the others and it is therefore important to ensure that each of them works smoothly to get online orders to customers quickly and efficiently in a sustainable way.

Competition between e-commerce companies has also increased, raising demands for efficient logistics flows. As an e-merchant, you are responsible for ensuring that the webshop’s e-commerce logistics run as smoothly as possible by creating, managing, directing and controlling these flows.

For example, companies involved in the production of goods must continuously optimise production logistics by streamlining the process, reducing lead times and designing an optimal batch size.

In addition, if the e-commerce company handles the transport logistics itself, it must ensure that the parcels get from point A to point B without problems. The e-retailer therefore needs to be in control of the movement and constantly updated on where the transport is and what challenges there are along the way. Complicated, isn't it? However, with the right logistics solutions, work becomes easier and e-commerce logistics more efficient.

More information on other important aspects of e-commerce can be found on the category page for e-commerce.

Frequently asked questions about e-commerce logistics

What is the difference between e-commerce logistics and logistics?

Logistics is an umbrella term that refers to the planning, implementation, management and control of material flows in general. E-commerce logistics refers specifically to the logistics processes related to online store logistics.

Why is effective e-logistics important?

Effective e-commerce logistics helps you manage the logistical challenges you may face when running an e-commerce business.