With e-commerce and online shopping adoption on the rise, the sector is becoming increasingly competitive. According to Mal Siriwardhane, founder and CEO of B dynamic Logistics, while online retailers enjoyed a period of incredible growth and extraordinary sales during the pandemic, changes to the economy are now placing greater pressure on brands to find efficiencies and deliver products to customers faster.
“Online shopping exploded during the pandemic due to lockdowns. One only had to open an online store and people would buy. Now the market is normalising and digital is going to get tougher,” Siriwardhane said.
“We are just at the outset of the digital shopping journey and it has a significant way to go. Many businesses that started during COVID now need to focus on key areas of operation and service in order to survive and my advice is clear – act fast as the market is only going to become more competitive for everyone online.
“Many online retailers will find it difficult to cope if costs keep rising. It takes a lot of people and a lot of time to pack and ship products to customers. Add to this the rising cost of shipping and then having to manage returns. Many online retailers are going to struggle. Sadly many will disappear including a lot of businesses that started up during the pandemic.”
B dynamic Logistics is part of the B dynamic Group of companies which provides a broad range of services including e-commerce enablement, third-party logistics, warehousing and branded and sustainable packaging. The group has grown significantly over the last five years amassing an impressive portfolio of clients including Dymocks, Dettol, P&G, Qantas, Costco, Georg Jensen, Bailey Nelson, and Universal Music Group, just to name a few.
“Online retailers are going to have to act quickly in order to survive over the next 12 months,” Sirwardhane said.
Outsource logistics and returns
“For businesses that are currently managing their own picking, packing and shipping processes internally, now is the time to look at outsourcing this work. It doesn’t matter what size of business you are, outsourcing is cheaper. Logistics companies offer the benefits of economies of scale to achieve efficiencies that are not possible under a typical retailer’s roof,” Siriwardhane said.
“While everyone is being impacted by the rising cost of doing business, large logistics companies have the capacity through volume to absorb rising costs better than most. There are significant efficiencies that can be achieved through sheer volume and scale.
“In addition, they utilise commercial-grade systems and technology including robots that enable the work to be done in a fraction of the time and at much less cost. Take advantage of logistics providers in this market.
“You will probably find that once you have outsourced this work, you will never go back to doing it yourself.”
Increase your reach
“Not many businesses are aware, but much of the work we do as an e-commerce enabler and third-party logistics company involves helping our retailers to reach more customers online,” Siriwardhane said.
“We don’t just help to store and ship your products, we also help you to ensure your website reaches as many consumers as possible with an increased propensity to buy. This involves helping business owners to plug their websites and products into larger platforms such as Amazon.
“This is where the magic happens. Our competitive edge is our ability to achieve significant outcomes through clever thinking.”
Re-evaluate your packaging
“While packaging is important, it also adds costs. Heavy and bulky packaging increases the costs of delivery,” Siriwardhane said.
“Working with a good logistics company will assist you to understand how you can reduce your operational and delivery costs through simple measures such as minimising or changing the packaging.”
Review your costs for delivery
“Online retailers need to think strategically about their market base and how far they are prepared to service certain areas,” Siriwardhane added.
“Remote areas cost more to reach. Review your market to determine whether you need to reduce the physical range of areas you ship to. If you continue to do service these areas, you may need to add extra cost to deliveries. These are decisions a good third-party logistics provider can assist with.
“They work with many brands and can provide the benefit of their experience and understanding of what is happening in the market.”
Consider the frequency of deliveries
“Same-day or next-day delivery is a brilliant service for businesses that have the capacity to undertake this type of service,” Siriwardhane said.
“For businesses that don’t perhaps, a revised frequency and cost structure could be put in place to enable the business to absorb rising costs. Give customers the option to pay more for fast shipping or less for regular shipping.”
Set up collection hubs
“Removing last-mile delivery can reduce your costs of parcel delivery significantly,” Siriwardhane said.
“Partner with other businesses to become collection points for your parcels so customers can collect items at their convenience. This is ideal where you don’t have a physical location. All you need to do is ship items to these sites for certain cities or states. It is certainly cheaper than delivering items directly to customers.”