It is obvious that for your ecommerce business to be successful you must offer quality products, make a good marketing campaign and reach out to all your potential customers. But when buyers process their order, there is another key factor that should not be overlooked.
The delivery times, the shipment of the order. This point is fundamental in building customer loyalty and, sometimes, achieving a better conversion rate. And for all this to be successful, there is a term that you should not ignore, the shipping zone of your ecommerce.
What is the shipping zone in a warehouse?
The shipping zone of an ecommerce or warehouse is a location that has been designated to contain and organize the stock or products according to certain criteria for shipment. That is, it is the place where you will have to go when the order is confirmed and the customer has completed the payment.
Of course, this makes the shipping zone one of the key elements in the process of shipping an order, especially if you want to do it quickly and efficiently.
The closer you are to your customers, the faster the shipment will be. For example, if your customers are in Europe, but your shipping zone is in China, you will hardly be able to compete against businesses like Amazon, which guarantee delivery in less than 24 hours.
Another important thing is to organize your shipping zone so that in the long run you can optimize all the processes that take place there.
In order to ensure that your customer’s order will arrive at their address as soon as possible, there are a number of processes and tasks that need to be completed. These are the ecommerce logistics phases of a shipping zone:
- Planning orders: first of all you need a method where you can plan your orders in advance, so that you can react quickly when a customer pays for their goods.
- Sorting orders: when orders start to pile up, it is essential that you sort them in chronological order, so that you can ship the earliest orders first.
- Prepare the order: start with the first one on the list and prepare it. You will need to pack the goods correctly for safe distribution. It’s no use rushing it to your customer’s address if the order arrives broken.
- Verify the order: before shipping, check that everything included in the package corresponds to your customer’s order. You will avoid returns, complaints and save a lot of money.
- Verify the customer: of course, you also need to verify that the customer you are sending the package to is the right one.
- Package dispatch: now that the package is ready, you just need to send it to your customer. You can do this with a logistics operator or with a transport and parcel company, such as Correos does in Spain.
How do you manage the shipping zone of an ecommerce?
You now know the steps or tasks to be carried out to manage the shipping zone of an ecommerce business. But, for practical purposes, how does it all work? Here are some tips we have gathered from our experience as logistics operators.
1. Plan your orders
Planning your orders is not always easy. Getting ahead of your customers’ purchasing habits is a matter of time, but if you have the right tools, it can be made a lot simpler.
For example, if you’ve chosen dropshipping as your business model, you probably had your head in your hands when we started talking about the distance between your customer and your shipping zone being important.
That’s why it’s important to have logistics operators and suppliers that are close to the people you sell to. If it’s in Europe, in Europe. If it’s in America, in America.
In this regard, some logistics operators like Beeping have taken a step forward, offering customers a warehouse of products that they can sell following the dropshipping model without having to order from China. Everything is in our warehouse.
And if your ecommerce business is more traditional, the same thing. A well-ordered warehouse will be key to getting the best results and planning your orders quickly.
2. Sort your orders
Once upon a time this was all done on paper. But in an ecommerce business, having your orders written down on paper seems like a waste of time, especially when the logistics warehouse is rarely located next to the central office where orders are handled.
That’s why the best way to sort your orders is simply to rely on software that does it for you.
3. Prepare your orders
In this regard, the only thing we can recommend is that you have a team of professionals. Anyone who has ever been faced with wrapping a friend’s or relative’s Christmas present knows that packing things is not easy.
And now, in all seriousness, ensuring the safety of a product is not easy. It requires knowledge of the right approach to packing each order the right way. So, in this sense, we recommend you have a good team of professionals and packaging experts.
4. Verify your orders and your customers
Humans make mistakes, that’s just the way it is. So if you can automate this part of the process as much as possible, all the better. We are not saying that you should have robots working in your warehouse, but software that provides clear and concise information can help and save you a lot of trouble.
5. Order dispatch
Once again, at this point we can only recommend that you rely on the service of logistics experts. Knowing how to choose the best parcel and transport company, and shipping your orders correctly is not easy.
That is why, in short, our advice is to delegate all these tasks to an expert logistics operator. This will ensure that everything goes smoothly, or at least as smoothly as possible. Just make sure that they are close to your customers so as not to move the shipping zone further away.
Tips for optimization
To optimize your shipping zone, there is nothing like organization. A warehouse should be as well-organized as possible, and this point is key. So if you want your orders to reach your customers quickly, these are some of the areas you should differentiate and respect.
- Goods reception area: this is the place where products are received from suppliers and checked. Verifying that everything is correct at this point is essential to avoid sending damaged goods.
- Storage area: this is where the stock that is not being shipped at the moment is stored. It must be sorted according to a certain classification system, as explained in our article on stock management.
- Picking area: this is the most important part and where the shipping zone is considered to begin. This area is reserved for order preparation. In this area you should have everything you need to pack your orders and the documentation you need for each of them.
- Order dispatch area: we have reached the key stage. This is the place in the warehouse where your orders are dispatched from. It must be well organized and ensure that the products can get from the picking area to the delivery company’s hands as quickly as possible.
- Returns area: finally, you must have an area where all returned orders are received, so that you can check that they are in good condition and that they can be returned to the storage area.
Mistakes to avoid
Our experience has taught us all the tips we have given you today on how to organize your shipping zone. But we are human, and we also learn from mistakes. So, to save you from them, here are some mistakes to avoid:
- Discrepancy between orders and inventory: if you don’t have good management of your ecommerce stock, an order may arrive and there may not be enough inventory to cover it. This is one of the most serious mistakes you can make in a digital business, as it means that the waiting time for that order will be delayed more than desired.
- Persistent returns: if your ecommerce business is experiencing a period of persistent returns, you’re doing something wrong. Maybe the packaging process is not right and the products end up damaged, or you are failing to verify orders or customers. Or maybe it’s time to change suppliers. Either way, don’t let this drag on too long – if returns are rising, find the cause quickly.
- Excessive consolidation time: Consolidation time is the time it takes for SKUs from different picking areas to be grouped together in the shipping zone. That is, how long it takes to get all the parts of the order to the zone where it will be shipped from. This needs to be fixed, time is money when it comes to shipping ecommerce orders.
- Documentation preparation errors: the documentation that must accompany an order must be prepared quickly and correctly. That is why it is important to have a trained team.
- Saturation of the shipping zone: if your shipping zone is designed incorrectly, it may end up saturated, causing orders to take longer to be shipped than necessary. This is another mistake to avoid.
How can Beeping help in this regard?
Now that you know everything you need to have a smooth shipping zone, it’s time to let you in on a little secret. The best way to make sure you have a good shipping zone and get your orders to any customer quickly is to delegate this important task to a specialized logistics operator.
At Beeping we are experts in this, and we want to tell you how we help our customers.
In addition to optimizing the shipping processes to reach your customers as quickly as possible, we are in Spain. This means that your orders can reach any part of the Iberian Peninsula in less than 24 hours, France in just two days and Germany in less than 3 days.
We are telling you this because many ecommerce companies have the mistaken idea that having the warehouse in China will lower their costs. The truth is that they only manage to move their shipping zone further away from their customers, delaying delivery times.
Because, contrary to what many people believe, VAT is not paid depending on the country where your logistics warehouse or your products are located, but on the place where they are sold. That is to say, if you sell a product in Germany and the product leaves from Spain, the tax corresponding to Germany will be applied.
That is why having a warehouse in European territory can benefit you greatly if your customers are in Europe.
In addition, Beeping we collaborate with the best transport companies specialized in ecommerce, such as Correos Express. How does this benefit you? First, in guaranteeing the best shipping times and second, because everyone knows where their nearest post office is.
So if your customer is not home, the order can be left at a post office for them to pick it up at their convenience, saving you unnecessary returns.
This is what Beeping can offer to help you with your ecommerce business. Want to know more?