5 Ways to Optimise Your eCommerce Logistics

In eCommerce, efficient logistics operations are one of the most important ways businesses deliver a seamless shopping experience to customers. Optimising your business logistics can help streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction, ultimately driving business growth and success for your online business.

At Delta Fulfilment, we specialise in third-party logistics and UK order fulfilment, so we know a thing or two about the challenges eCommerce brands face in managing their logistics. That’s why, in this blog post, we’ll share our expertise in optimising your eCommerce operations.


What is eCommerce Logistics?

As an eCommerce business owner, you’ve likely heard the term “logistics” thrown around a lot. But what does it actually mean in the context of an online retailer? Simply put, eCommerce logistics refers to the entire process of managing the flow of goods, information, and resources to get your products into your customers’ hands efficiently.

It encompasses everything from procurement and warehousing to inventory management, order fulfilment, transportation, and even handling customer returns (those dreaded reverse logistics). Basically, eCommerce logistics is the backbone that supports your entire supply chain and distribution operations.

Having solid eCommerce logistics in place is essential for delivering a stellar customer experience. Efficient logistics operations allow you to get orders out the door quickly, minimise costs from delays or mishandling, and keep your customers happy and coming back for more. It’s what ensures a seamless journey from the time a customer clicks “buy” to the moment that package arrives on their doorstep.

While logistics may seem like a bunch of behind-the-scenes processes, it’s one of the key drivers of success for any eCommerce business looking to scale up operations and expand into new markets. Getting it right can make or break your ability to meet customer expectations in today’s demanding retail landscape.

1. Warehousing and Inventory Management

Efficient warehousing and inventory management practices are essential for optimising your logistics and supply chain management. By getting these foundational elements right, you can streamline processes, reduce costs, and provide better service to your customers. 

First, implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) allows you to accurately track inventory levels, locations, and movements across your warehouses or fulfilment centres. No more guesswork or costly stockouts—you’ll have real-time visibility into what you have and where it is.

Space optimisation techniques like vertical storage solutions and optimised layout designs help you maximise every square foot of warehouse space. This increased storage capacity means you can hold more inventory on hand to meet fluctuations in demand.

Speaking of inventory, there are plenty of methods to manage and reduce inventory costs. Maintaining optimal stock levels with Just-in-Time Inventory (JIT) management will minimise excess stock and associated carrying costs like storage fees and potential spoilage. At the same time, integrate your inventory management with sales forecasting to avoid underestimating demand and dealing with disappointing stockouts. 

By nailing warehousing and inventory management, you’ll be able to pick, pack, and ship orders efficiently – setting the stage for a stellar customer experience from the very start of the logistics chain.

2. Regular Demand Forecasting 

Accurately forecasting customer demand by anticipating future sales trends means you can align your inventory levels, staffing, and fulfilment capacity to meet those fluctuations in demand seamlessly.

Demand forecasting involves analysing historical sales data, market trends, seasonality patterns, and other factors to predict what products will be hot sellers and when. This allows you to proactively stock up on popular items ahead of peak periods and avoid costly stockouts.

But effective demand forecasting goes beyond just crunching numbers. It requires deeply understanding your target customers’ buying behaviours and preferences. Monitoring social media buzz, tracking influencers, and staying on top of cultural events can provide valuable context clues.

Investing in an inventory management system with demand forecasting capabilities is a game-changer. These solutions use advanced algorithms and machine learning to continuously analyse your data and automatically adjust forecasts as new information becomes available.

By nailing your demand forecasting, you can maintain enough inventory to meet customer expectations without tying up excessive working capital in excess stock. Your entire logistics chain – from procurement to fulfilment – operates more efficiently and cost-effectively when aligned with anticipated demand.

3. Streamline your Order Fulfilment 

When optimising your eCommerce logistics, having an efficient order fulfilment process is key. After all, this is the stage where the rubber meets the road – getting those orders prepped and out the door to your anxiously awaiting customers.

Streamlining fulfilment starts with taking a hard look at your current pick, pack and ship workflows. Are there any bottlenecks or redundancies slowing things down? Small inefficiencies can quickly compound as order volumes ramp up.

An Order Management System (OMS) automates and integrates all the moving parts, from inventory management to shipping carrier integrations. With real-time data at your fingertips, you can quickly identify and resolve any hiccups. Features like batch picking and configurable pack stations allow your team to process orders with maximum efficiency.

But technology is just one piece of the puzzle. Your physical fulfilment setup and processes are just as important. Implementing lean principles like optimised layout designs and quality control checkpoints can slash processing times. Little things like ensuring your packing materials are properly stocked and within arm’s reach make a big difference.

Continuously analysing and refining your fulfilment workflows, even minor tweaks, can create major cost and time savings as your business scales. A well-oiled fulfilment machine translates directly into happier customers who receive their orders promptly.

4. Reliable and Fast Shipping

Let’s be real – when it comes to eCommerce, the shipping process is often a make-or-break factor for customer satisfaction. Your customers expect their orders to arrive quickly and in perfect condition. Failing to deliver on those expectations risks negative reviews, low retention rates, and a poor brand reputation.

That’s why optimising for reliable and fast shipping will improve eCommerce logistics success. You need a shipping strategy that gets orders out quickly while minimising delays, damages, and other hiccups along the way:

  • Partner with reputable shipping carriers with a strong track record for punctual delivery times to your target markets. Don’t just default to the cheapest optioncheaper isn’t always better when shipping. Look for carriers with extensive networks, real-time tracking capabilities, and solid customer ratings.
  • Look at your packaging and fulfilment processes. Are your products being packed securely to prevent damage in transit? Are you building enough buffer time for orders to be processed and shipped out promptly? Little inefficiencies here can lead to delays downstream.
  • Expedited shipping options come at a higher price point, but paying a premium for speedy delivery is well worth it for many shoppers – especially for time-sensitive purchases. Just be sure to set realistic expectations by providing accurate delivery estimates.
  • Provide your customers with clear visibility into their order status every step of the way. Proactive communication around shipping timelines and potential delays goes a long way in managing expectations and building trust with your brand.

Reliable and fast shipping is a must in eCommerce today. Nail this component of your logistics operations, and you’ll deliver more than just great products—you’ll provide an exceptional end-to-end customer experience that keeps buyers coming back.

5. Returns Management 

Dealing with returns can be one of the most stressful parts of the eCommerce game. While no business likes seeing perfectly good products come back, having a solid returns management process is essential for optimising your logistics operations and keeping customers happy.

An efficient returns system starts with making the process as painless as possible for your buyers. Clearly outline your returns policy on your website, including timelines, approved reasons for returns, and any fees involved. Consider offering free return shipping as well – studies show this can significantly boost customer satisfaction and repurchase rates.

On the backend, you’ll want streamlined workflows for receiving, inspecting, and processing returned items. Integrate your order management and inventory systems to automatically restock products in good condition. For damaged or expired goods, have procedures for disposing of, donating, or selling them off where possible to recoup some costs.

If you’re shipping internationally, partnering with a third-party logistics provider with return centres in your markets can be a game-changer. This allows customers to easily drop off returns locally rather than shipping items back to your home base – reducing shipping costs and times.

Returns analytics should also be a priority. Tracking return rates by product, reason codes, customer segments, and more provide valuable insights. You can then optimise everything from product designs to descriptions and plan inventory buffer stocks accordingly.

The bottom line? A first-rate returns process doesn’t just minimise losses – it’s an opportunity to turn an often-frustrating experience into a positive interaction that keeps customers coming back to your brand.

Delta Fulfilment

If trying to implement all these eCommerce logistics optimisations seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry – we’ve got your back. At Delta Fulfilment, we live and breathe third-party logistics for UK brands. Our team is made up of experts at streamlining for maximum efficiency, and we’re passionate about creating partnerships that allow your business to scale seamlessly. Your success is our success, so let’s talk about how we can optimise your logistics management today.

Dani Mechlowitz is the Founder & Managing Director of Delta Fulfilment. When you’re ready to expand into new markets, Dani and the Delta Fulfilment team are here to help guide you every step of the way. Request your quote today for UK and EU fulfilment solutions!