The explosive growth of the e-commerce logistics business is a result of customers migrating to shopping online. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, e-commerce sales increased 39% in 2021 compared with 2020. Growth before the pandemic was expanding at a rate of approximately 15 percent. Health and wellness items including dietary supplements, personal care products, and animal health products are regularly ordered online for home delivery.
The simplicity of fast and accurate e-commerce fulfillment is made possible by experienced logistics services providers. Reputable 3PL partners work with e-commerce companies to perform multiple functions related to inventory management, regulatory compliance, shipping, handling, customization, information technology, risk mitigation and returns. The objective is to provide on-time shipping with excellent service that surprises and delights end-consumers.
Standardized Procedures Produce Efficient Service
Experienced e-commerce fulfillment warehouses reduce cost and increase productivity for e-commerce businesses by eliminating extra steps in the fulfillment process. As a 3PL specializing in the healthcare industry, WDSrx warehouse technicians are highly trained to manage e-commerce projects.
- Regulatory Compliance – Vitamins, supplements and personal care products including skincare and cosmetics contain ingredients that must be handled with care. Strict procedures are enforced for e-commerce programs at every stage of product receipt, storage and fulfillment.
- Controlled room temperature (15-25 degrees C) – All WDSrx warehouse locations are heated and air conditioned to maintain constant temperature and humidity. This benefits manufacturers of supplements and cosmetics because products are protected in cosmetics warehouses against temperature fluctuations that may damage inventory.
- Licensing and Registrations – Reputable 3PL partners maintain current licenses with government and other authorities required to handle dietary supplements and personal care products. Proper registrations reflect legitimate business practices and help assure premium service and performance.
Inventory Management Supports On-Time Deliveries
Reliable order management and fulfillment are vital for customer satisfaction and positive reviews. Comprehensive supply chain services are the backbone of efficient e-commerce logistics including inventory management, shipping, information technology and system integration, special handling and warehouse location. E-commerce logistics is measured by customer satisfaction with accurate orders received at the correct time. A complex logistics process works behind the scenes to achieve high customer loyalty.
- Inbound Receipt – E-Commerce businesses often focus on product delivery costs and timelines. However, high customer satisfaction also depends on prompt and accurate inbound receipt of products in the warehouse. Receiving e-commerce inventory correctly the first time and every time requires an experienced 3PL partner who appreciates the connection between efficient product receipt, storage and also fulfillment.
- Stock Replenishment – Efficient inventory management begins with an understanding of stock levels and replenishment forecasts. The proper inventory level differs for separate companies. Some situations require high inventory levels on hand at all times to protect against supply disruptions or to take advantage of lower bulk pricing. Other companies may benefit from inventory levels that exactly match outbound order levels. For example, products that require special handling or that are customized may keep sufficient products on hand to fulfill immediate sales requirements. A reputable 3PL e-commerce fulfillment warehouse partner provides guidance to determine and maintain proper inventory quantities. Inventory should be routinely counted and reported in order to confirm that the correct products are in stock at the right time.
- Demand Spikes – During the holiday season, demand for e-commerce fulfillment is significantly higher compared to the remainder of the year. Customers expect fast, on-time delivery with minimal delays or problems. Seasonal spikes account for increased e-commerce sales for cold weather gear, for example or sunscreen during the summer months. Clients work with their 3PL provider and cosmetics warehouse to forecast sales spikes and allocate proper labor and other resources to adjust to customer demand.
- Flexible Labor Solutions – WDSrx approaches e-commerce fulfillment proactively. In instances where there is a heavier workload, WDSrx draws on an existing team of supplemental labor to bolster the existing warehouse team. Dedicated and shared teams focus solely on a specific client to achieve maximum efficiency and results.
- Pick/Pack/Ship Operations – Pick, pack and ship form the core of e-commerce fulfillment. All products, regardless of shape, size, and price, must get picked from a warehouse, placed into an appropriate package, and shipped to their final destination in a well-organized manner. Correct order picking is the primary defense against product returns. Consumers receiving e-commerce deliveries expect the right product in the correct quantity with prompt delivery to the proper address. When any of these requirements are not met, the result is lost sales and increased costs for the manufacturer.
E-commerce companies rely on their 3PL partner to be proactive advocates, negotiating and managing shipping solutions to keep costs as low as possible to maintain profit levels. Several factors determine the optimal shipping method including product cost, distance to destination, and service level.
- Independent 3PL Carrier Agnostic – WDSrx utilizes several courier services for e-commerce transportation. This allows clients the option to choose the carrier that best suits the type of fulfillment needed. WDSrx informs clients about benefits from selecting multiple carriers for different routes to take advantage of faster delivery times and lower pricing.
- Quick Turnaround from Order to Fulfillment – Fast and economic shipping solutions lose value if orders are delayed during the fulfillment process. WDSrx constantly measures efficiency of orders from the moment they are received until they are ready to ship. Efficiency of order preparation helps assure fast and accurate delivery to end-consumers.
- Amazon FBA/Direct-to-Consumer – Large orders are aggregated for Amazon FBA shipment directly to Amazon and other major retailers. These orders require special preparation and handling including retailer-specific labeling and precise delivery windows. Any deviation from established retailer requirements may result in retailer rejection of the order or imposition of fines and penalties. An experienced 3PL partner helps to avoid unnecessary business expenses.
Seamless integration between computer systems keeps everyone informed and simplifies e-commerce fulfillment. E-commerce sales platforms depend on reliable integrations with multiple information systems. The WDSrx Information Technology team are on-site full-time IT specialists who constantly monitor performance and connectivity.
- In-house IT Department – The WDSrx Information and Technology department designs, plans and implements integration between popular e-commerce platforms including Woocommerce and Shopify and the WDSrx warehouse management system. Downtime is minimized and any system disruption is promptly resolved to maintain business operations.
- Direct Integration with Online Shopping Carts – Orders placed by consumers in shopping carts of client websites are automatically fulfilled by WDSrx at regular daily intervals. The WDSrx operations team receives online orders and directly fulfills them from in-stock inventory. Inventory levels are automatically replenished based on client requirements.
E-commerce businesses that provide special handling or packaging for customer orders receive higher ratings and customer loyalty. Customized and personalized presentation improves both the physical appearance of the package as well as enhancing the overall experience of receiving the product by adding a unique touch.
- Fragile – For products that are more delicate and require additional care, stickers or labels containing the word “fragile” are placed on each side of the box to ensure product safety for the entire journey.
- Custom Boxes – Special carton configuration and materials enhance the look of an e-commerce order to fit the message that the company is trying to convey and make the box more aesthetically pleasing. It adds a personalized touch to the package rather than the standard brown cardboard box.
- Personalized Thank You Notes – Personalized thank you notes are sometimes included with e-commerce orders to build customer loyalty and trust. It lets the person know that their purchase is greatly appreciated and that the company cares for their customers.
- Branded Packing Materials – Packing materials such as tissue paper, bubble wrap, or foam protects the items inside and better represents the brand with logos or other brand-related identification.
- Bundling with Sample Items, Promotional Materials – Adding supplemental items to an order increases customer’s knowledge of a product and may introduce them to a new product that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. These include sample items and promotional materials including pamphlets, brochures, manuals, and other informative reading materials.
Location and Risk Reduction
The location of distribution channels directly affects the shipping duration of e-commerce orders. Having multiple, smaller access points across a geographical region may be more advantageous than one centralized distribution location. Depending on where product needs to arrive, transportation is managed out of the nearest distribution center for shorter delivery times at a reduced cost.
- Multiple Warehouse Facility Locations – Minimize risk with inventory in different warehouses – Having multiple locations to store inventory minimizes the risk of late shipments, weather delays, and other situations to provide the optimal environment for on-time delivery.
- Cost Savings with Reduced Transit Times for Shipments – Diversification of inventory between multiple facility locations reduces risk compared with operating from a single warehouse. This multi-warehouse strategy also minimizes transit times to customers with reduced shipping charges over shorter distances.
- National Footprint – WDSrx operates out of several states across the country including New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and Ohio. This expanded reach makes nationwide e-commerce fulfillment as efficient as possible.
Products that are expired, unwanted, or otherwise unusable must be disposed of or re-worked according to client guidelines. Medical authorities require all returned products to be stored in a way that prevents accidental ingestion or any misuse of the medication leading to fatal consequences. Personal care products and dietary supplements follow different regulations specified by each client.
- Simplified Returns Process – WDSrx simplifies the returns process with an experienced team of dedicated technicians. Returns processing and regulatory paperwork are completed by the WDSrx Reverse Logistics team, reducing costs for clients and enhancing the customer service experience.
- Regulatory Documentation – Returned healthcare products must be handled according to regulatory requirements of government and other authorities. WDSrx works daily with pharmaceutical manufacturers to manage their returns process to maintain proper compliance.
- Client Returns Policy – WDSrx understands that each client has different rules regarding handling of returned products. The experienced WDSrx Reverse Logistics team follows returns procedures specified by each client. The returns service customizes procedures to assure products are returned to inventory, destroyed or held according to client instructions.
- Product Re-Work – Previously damaged or returned products may be repurposed or refurbished according to client specifications to fix any issues and allow the product to be re-sold. WDSrx maintains experienced operations teams able to estimate and implement projects that may derive added value from returns.
Efficient e-commerce logistics relies on the consistent management of multiple supply chain processes implemented by experienced 3PL partners. Short delivery times expected by consumers are made possible by skilled technicians who are deeply involved in the success of e-commerce clients. At WDSrx, our experience as a pharmaceutical logistics services provider creates added value for e-commerce companies who appreciate the increased level of attention their products receive. The precision and training of the WDSrx team helps assure the correct order in the proper quantity arrives at the expected time to the exact address, increasing customer loyalty and assuring customer satisfaction.