As the digital landscape evolves, businesses that stay ahead of the new changes can thrive. In this article, we look at how smart logistics can safeguard your e-commerce business' future by analyzing its significant role in helping companies meet customer demands.
Smart logistics merges technological advances with traditional supply chain and logistics management structures to amplify efficiency.
This is done by leveraging data and information to increase visibility into the supply chain and using technology to automate and streamline processes. The result is a more agile business that can respond quickly to demand or customer requirements changes.
In the following chapters, we'll explore what are the benefits of using smart logistics and where this trend is headed.
The benefits of smart logistics
Let's look at some of how smart logistics has helped e-commerce businesses better manage their supply chains.
Real-time tracking and enhanced supply chain management
Visibility is key in managing intricate supply chains. Amazon, for example, harnesses smart logistics capabilities to deliver real-time tracking—giving both business operators and consumers complete transparency about where their packages are at any given time.
This not only helps Amazon reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver products but also allows them to better manage their supply chain by ensuring that all orders are fulfilled.
Optimized inventory & demand forecasting
The more accurately businesses can forecast demand, the less they will have to hold in inventory. Smart logistics tools like automated inventory management systems can help businesses predict trends and consumer behaviors—helping them stock their inventories efficiently.
These tools can also help businesses manage inventory flow between different locations.
For example, if a retailer is running out of stock in one location but has plenty in another location, smart logistics systems can move inventory to where it is needed most.
Efficient last-mile delivery
The last mile refers to the final leg of a product’s journey from the warehouse to a customer’s doorstep. It’s often the most expensive part of an e-commerce logistics chain and remains one of the biggest challenges for online retailers.
Smart logistics has helped businesses optimize their last-mile delivery systems by using predictive analytics tools to predict when items will be sold and where to deliver them next. This allows businesses to plan for peak demand times (like after work on Fridays) to ensure there are enough drivers in the right places at the right time.
Personalized delivery options
Smart logistics enable the provision of personalized delivery options, enhancing customer experience.
This can be done by providing customers with the ability to schedule their own delivery date and time. This increases customer satisfaction because they don’t have to wait around at home all day for a delivery that may not come until later in the afternoon. It also helps reduce costs associated with overtime pay for drivers and additional labor costs associated with making multiple deliveries throughout the day.
E-commerce heavyweight ASOS, for instance, offers precise delivery slots and convenient return methods tailor-made to users’ preferences.
WMS and automated order fulfilment
Warehouses are the lifeblood of any e-commerce business. They’re where the goods are stored and prepared for shipping, so it’s vital that they run smoothly. A WMS can help with this by automating warehouse processes like picking and packing orders so that staff don’t have to waste their time on repetitive tasks like counting items or checking off boxes against order slips.
Automated order fulfillment systems also help to speed up the process of packing and shipping goods. They can be used in conjunction with WMS software to scan barcodes, pick items from shelves, pack them into boxes, and check that everything is correct before sending orders out.
Future trends in smart logistics
New developments in smart logistics hold great promise, and experts expect these trends to change the e-commerce landscape. Here are some future trends to look out for:
Rising technologies will continue to rise.
If we envision the logistics landscape of the future, we can observe these groundbreaking methods already integrated into today's technology.
1. Blockchain for enhanced traceability
Global food producer Nestle has been actively experimenting with blockchain technology to increase the transparency of its supply chain. The company uses a platform called 'IBM Food Trust' to achieve enhanced traceability for their products.
2. Drone deliveries for ultra-fast logistics
The e-commerce giant Amazon announced its plans to create 'Prime Air,' a delivery system integrating drones. The goal of this system is to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
3. Autonomous vehicles in logistics
Tech industry titan Google’s Waymo project involves self-driving cars designed to reduce errors in delivery times, create safer roads, and completely revolutionize delivery services.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for efficient fulfillment
Alibaba, the multinational conglomerate, has incorporated AI into its warehouse operations. The company uses robotic systems to pick and pack orders, significantly amplifying their order fulfillment speed.
5. Internet of Things (IoT) for smart storage:
Retail mammoth Walmart is harnessing IoT by connecting its cargo and cold storage units. This helps maintain optimal temperature, reduce spoilage, and ensure high quality for their perishable products.
Bright future for e-commerce
The e-commerce trends that have emerged in recent years demonstrate the competitive advantage businesses gain when they adapt their logistics processes to accommodate new developments.
After a sudden fall during the pandemic, online shopping is in full recovery and will continue to grow in the near future. This means it's even more important for businesses to stay on top of trends in this industry and ensure their supply chains are prepared.
Embracing smart logistics isn't just a recommendation, it's a necessity for future-proofing your e-commerce business. Actioning on the insights covered here can launch your online brand into the next frontier of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, sustainable growth.
If you're ready to unlock the full potential of smart logistics for your e-commerce business, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
At Frisbo, we specialize in assisting online store owners in automating their logistical processes, allowing them to prioritize sales growth and customer satisfaction.