The consumer electronics market is experiencing rapid growth and increased demand in the e-commerce industry. In this ever-evolving landscape of technology and competition, precise order fulfillment plays a critical role for consumer electronics brands.
In this article, we will delve into the ever-evolving world of consumer electronics e-commerce, uncovering the latest trends and statistics. Additionally, we will explore the vital role that accurate order fulfillment plays in the profitability of an online electronics store.
I. Statistics and trends in consumer electronics e-commerce
With new items hitting the market every month and technology evolving at a breakneck pace, the consumer electronics sector is highly dynamic, and so are the consumer electronics trends and customers’ shopping habits.
The consumer electronics industry is constantly expanding
Most homes, offices, and organizations cannot operate without phones, laptops, computers, or multimedia devices as new technology turns electronics into indispensable accessories.
According to research conducted by YouGov, 4% of the entire population is constantly looking for the latest gadgets and is eager to pay for improvements as soon as they become available, regardless of their necessity.
Consumer data-driven product customization is on the rise
Cutting-edge brands have found that direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce presents the best opportunity to establish direct relationships with their customers. By analyzing consumer data, tech brands are continuously learning and developing more suitable tech products for their customers.
For example, leading brands in the consumer electronics industry, such as Samsung and Xiaomi, have embraced the direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach to cater to the diverse needs of customers at every step of their journey.
The focus is on sustainability and circular products
An increasing number of e-commerce websites are capitalizing on the demand for circular products. And the trend is moving clearly toward greener substitutes, as the number of used electronics is steadily growing.
In addition, an Environmental and Energy Leader study reports that nearly 75% of consumers are now willing to pay more for environmentally friendly packaging. This is why consumer electronics brands must make thoughtful judgments about green packaging and manufacturing.
Electronics customers want diverse shipping options
Two of the most prevalent trends in today’s e-commerce are free shipping and fast delivery. Especially when it comes to expensive electronics, the tendency to choose the brand offering the cheapest and quickest shipping solutions stands out even more.
The reasons for this may vary, but one thing is clear: when customers invest a significant amount of money in a product, they eagerly anticipate its arrival and cannot wait to start using it.
We’ve seen that consumer electronics are arguably one of the most lucrative industries in e-commerce. But with the popularity of this industry, the consumer electronics market is humming with ongoing challenges in the order fulfillment processes, which, if not managed effectively, could impair consumer satisfaction, limit sales, and eventually affect the brand’s image.
Let’s take a plunge to discover the fulfillment challenges of the consumer electronics e-commerce vertical and the best ways to overcome them successfully.
II. Challenges of consumer electronics order fulfillment
When talking about consumer electronics, we usually refer to numerous high-value products ranging from tablets, laptops, and media consoles to any smart gadget and electronic product people use in day-to-day life. The delicate nature of many of these products requires careful handling and comes with some unique challenges in the order fulfillment process.
Consumer electronics fulfillment means higher inventory management activity
Due to the multiple features and configurations, accurate SKU management is crucial. As each component, from wires and cables to consoles, devices, and accessories, has a unique SKU, you need to update the inventory records in real time and keep close track of stock levels.
Moreover, when it comes to electronics, there is a wrinkle: the retailer or the associated warehouse must record the serial code of each SKU individually.
For example, it may be relatively simple for an online fashion retailer to fulfill orders for a particular item as it can simply select from its existing stock without tracking additional information. On the other hand, fulfilling orders for electronic products can be more complicated due to the requirement of recording the Electronic Serial Number (ESN) or Mobile Equipment ID (IMEI) in addition to the SKU when receiving or sending these products.
The ESN and IMEI are specific identification numbers that must be kept track of whenever a product is assembled, sent to suppliers or distributors, sold, returned, or resold. These add-ons make inventory management for consumers’ electronic products a little more complex, thus becoming a tedious process that can frequently be prone to mistakes.
Electronics need specialty storage and careful handling
Electronic products can sometimes be worth a king’s ransom, so keeping them secure is a top priority in the order fulfillment process.
The electronic components are sensitive to both temperature and humidity:
- The extreme heat or cold causes plastic containers to shift form, and temperature affects the expansion and contraction of metal.
- Water molecules created by humidity break component insulation, reduce voltage and damage electronic chips.
Making sure you store your electronics products in a climate-controlled environment is the most effective way to keep your items away from damage.
Additionally, working with experts in consumer electronics fulfillment will reassure you that your products are in great hands and stored in ventilated and dry environments.
Technology changes quickly, and so do stock levels
Technology evolves quickly, leaving online stores with outdated, unsold products that depreciate in value and become expensive to store. Since the newest model is always in higher demand, this results in a short lifecycle for consumer electronics.
A prime example is Apple, which consistently releases new gadgets on an annual basis. This means that what you might consider to be an exceptional product to include in your product portfolio could already be outdated by the time you sell it.
Predicting and ordering the correct stock quantities and scaling your fulfillment capacity at times of high demand are vitally important to your brand.
Getting the big-ticket products into the hands of the customers
One of the most important aspects of selling electronics is to prevent losing revenue from damaged inventory due to packing or shipping errors. This is why getting these fragile items into the hands of the customers requires extra attention at every step of the fulfillment process.
The biggest challenge in packaging is securing the electronics to arrive in pristine condition at the customer’s door. If you’re facing this issue when preparing your products to be shipped, here’s a brief checklist to ensure you pack your products adequately:
- Package the original box within a larger box and fill the empty spaces between the two boxes with additional cushioning. This way, any rough handling will be absorbed by the outer box.
- Add cushioning. Fill any empty spaces with packaging material to protect the electronic products from shocks and vibrations. Depending on the product’s sensitivity, use materials such as bubble wrap, air pillows, or poly foam for cushioning.
- Seal the package securely. If you’re using cardboard boxes, use strong tape and ensure that each side of the box is firmly closed.
Managing to fulfill both B2C and B2B orders
The customers of the consumer electronics online stores may consist of individuals who buy products for personal use and businesses that need larger quantities of electronic products.
Therefore, with B2B orders come different invoicing and fulfillment processes.
In this case, the online retailer or the warehouse must review the inventory levels and determine how much of the order can be fulfilled.
The great news is that a fulfillment center equipped with cutting-edge technology, such as reliable WMS and instant communication with the end point of sales, will handle these situations easily without the risk of losing B2B customers due to miscommunication or stockouts.
III. The complete solution for managing consumer electronics fulfillment effortlessly
Having full control over the fulfillment process of your consumer electronics store can be a real challenge, especially when you're also responsible for managing the entire online store. In the long run, attempting to handle everything on your own only adds to the complexity.
However, outsourcing your consumer electronics fulfillment to a specialized 3PL company relieves you of the burden of handling all the fulfillment challenges, giving you more time to focus on developing growth strategies for your online electronics store.
At Frisbo, we love helping online stores to grow. This is why we channeled our logistics and tech e-commerce knowledge into creating the largest fulfillment network in Europe, with more than 50 warehouses and 24 Next-day Delivery countries.
You get access to 52+ warehouses with one single integration.
Once you connect your online store to Frisbo’s network, you can store your consumer electronics products in any of Frisbo’s warehouses. Don’t worry; all our warehouses are in line with the latest requirements regarding storing fragile, high-value electronic items.
Connect your online store smoothly with Plug&Play integrations
Whether you sell consumer electronics via your website, marketplaces, or both, plugging your sales channels into our fulfillment network is a matter of clicks.
Track inventory with ease
Our warehouses scan all the SKUs and serial numbers for you so that you can track real-time inventory to view the status of your stock, quantity on hand at your storage facility, total units sold per day, and more. This way, you have complete control over your supply and know your products don’t get lost in the order fulfillment process.
Pick&Pack your products with utmost accuracy
Your products will be handled with utmost care throughout the Pick&Pack process, from when our warehouse workers take the product off the shelves and scan its SKU and serial number to the moment of packing the outgoing product and preparing all the shipping documents.
Be close to your customer with consumer electronics micro-fulfillment strategies
Consumer electronics are often premium products purchased less frequently than consumable goods. This is why once the customers hit the order button, they want to get their hands on the products ordered as soon as possible. Frisbo helps you implement micro-fulfillment strategies to move your stock as close to your customers as possible and reach them Next-Day.
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