The e-commerce environment in 2021 was marked by many surprises, including various problems with limited logistics or mobility due to the pandemic. These caused delays in the storage of goods, especially in Asia, production factories were closed for several weeks. In addition, the world was troubled by problems with transport or limited capacity of carriers, which only underlined the problems with the smooth movement of goods last year.
On the other hand, higher interest among consumers in online shopping has been encouraging for the e-commerce sector. This is also confirmed by the numbers on the Statista website, according to which not only the dynamics of sales growth but also turnover has increased since 2019. Over the last two years, sales in the online environment have been estimated to increase by approximately 50 percent. The sellers also had to respond to the increased interest in the products from the point of view of logistics. It´s caused because the market has become increasingly international in recent years.
Therefore, the services of 3PL (third-party logistics) fulfillment companies, which focus on logistics in the country of operation or abroad, are gaining more prominence. Because of this, they not only facilitate the work of e-shops, but also give them the opportunity to expand their operations to other countries. During the year, there are also periods that are increasingly demanding for logistics. At that time, order volumes traditionally grow, reaching even record numbers. They can be linked, for example, to a certain day of the week, holiday, or interest from the e-shop.
Unconventional Christmas season
Every year, perhaps the busiest time in delivery is when is in progress shopping for gifts under the Christmas tree. This peak in orders traditionally lasts since Black Friday and stretches until almost Christmas. Last year, however, the habits of customers changed, which was caused due to the effects of the pandemic, and they started shopping much earlier than before. This resulted in an extension of this most important part of the season, which lasted about two months from the end of October. The volumes of orders also changed last year, which did not split over a longer period, but on the contrary, roughly doubled year-on-year.
With higher pressure, companies then have to deal with different methods. In the short term, it can be, for example, the recruitment of seasonal employees. However, the area of e-commerce has been growing for a long time and this rising trend is also expected in the coming years. In addition, there are several peaks during the year, so a more advantageous and long-term solution are regular investments in automatization, information systems or storage. At the same time, the right training and organization of employees can help to cope with the seasonal increase of orders, and they can also occasionally help each other between departments.
The weekend collects orders
When people are at home, they are shopping. This is a rule that almost every e-commerce seller or logistics company has encountered. Another peak for logistics is then every Monday. Compared to normal days during the working week, its occupancy in terms of number of shipments is sometimes higher by about half, or even double.
It is the duty of logistics to handle this bigger pressure every week. To ensure fast delivery, it is necessary to have a trouble-free delivery process from the picking of the goods, through its sorting, packaging to final delivery to the customer. At Fulfillment by FHB Group, we are therefore constantly working to improve the work with the package, and thanks to our own network of daily transport lines abroad, we can not only handle the shipment within 24 hours, but also deliver it throughout Europe.
Promotions attract customers
During the drier period or exceptional situations during the season, sellers also work to support the sale of products. In most cases, this can be special promotions that create another peak for the seller or logistic company in the form of increasing the volume of orders. This especially applies for 3PL companies, which work internationally with several e-shops.
You can prepare for such an increase in orders, for example, by communication between the seller and the logistics service provider. Equally important is the selection of a suitable 3PL fulfillment provider that can be flexible to the needs of the e-shop. Fast and without problem order processing is one of the most important reasons for customers to return to the e-shop in the future. As many as 87 percent of online shoppers say that delivery time influences their decision to buy again from a store. Therefore, the selection must consider how the fulfillment company can cope with the increase of orders, what its capacity, transport network, but also how it proceeds with investments to expand its services.
End of season at Fulfillment by FHB Group
As the largest provider of 3PL fulfillment services in Central Europe, we have been able to grow in the long term, mainly thanks to cooperation with new e-commerce customers. The volume of processed orders in our company is regularly growing approximately twice, and last year was no exception.
We can manage the growth of customers and thus equipped packages thanks to year-round investments. In automatization, for example, we launched a high-speed packaging line, which is also the fastest in Eastern and Central Europe. For information systems and warehouses, we have also supplemented software-controlled conveyors, elevators, sorters, and we have also expanded the warehouse-picking zone with a new four-storey mezzanine racking system. Because of this, we can constantly accept new e-commerce customers. The decisive factor in our growth over the past year was, among other things, the improvement of work organization and conditions for our employees.
We are ready for the busiest parts of the season all year round, while we are constantly expanding our possibilities in the form of more complex services for our clients. These include, for example, the increasingly popular 24-hour delivery for international orders and the error rate of the package contents. Equally important is the popular environmental aspect, in the form of reducing the shipment’s carbon footprint. We succeed, for example, in fit-to-size packaging or sensible package transport.