International eCommerce: Logistics

Learning the Ins and Outs of International eCommerce Logistics

Take Your B2B Enterprise eCommerce Business Global

Expanding into the world of international eCommerce presents logistical challenges for businesses. Nearly every part of the sales process must be adapted to accommodate the differences that exist in the global market. To succeed on an international level, companies need a complete eCommerce solution that handles background processes, organizes data and minimizes error.

Storefront customization

Creating international shopping portals requires domains tailored specifically for each country in which a company conducts business. In addition to going beyond the standard .com extension, these sites must also display content in the local language to make the shopping experience more comfortable for customers. Most international shoppers also prefer to purchase from stores that show prices in their native currencies.

Setting up these localized stores requires an eCommerce platform that can translate content and pricing while taking into account factors such as tax rates and customs charges. Shipping rates need to be calculated based on the location of the nearest warehouse to provide the most economical options. With the right tools, all of this takes place automatically after website administrators set the initial parameters.

Inventory management

Some businesses opt to establish warehouses or distribution facilities in the countries where their global eCommerce efforts are focused. This can reduce shipping times and costs significantly for both the company and its customers. However, it adds a layer of complexity to inventory management that is best handled with an integrated software solution that tracks sales and delivers data to the appropriate departments in real time. Updating information consistently ensures that new inventory is ordered soon enough to prevent stock from running out in any given warehouse.

Restrictions imposed by local laws must also be considered, especially in the case of businesses with diverse product catalogs. Some products that can be sold freely on the domestic market may be restricted or banned elsewhere. Complying with these rules means adjusting store content to reflect regional regulations and ensuring that unacceptable products aren’t accidentally ordered for or sent to the wrong international warehouses.

Payment and shipping solutions

Consumers prefer to pay using the options that are most popular in their countries. Therefore, companies expanding into global eCommerce must be sensitive to the fact that prevailing payment types differ in various areas of the world. Integrated eCommerce software provides a platform for processing payments from major credit cards and alternative methods, thus providing a smooth shopping experience for customers. Hassle-free payment is critical to making sales in an eCommerce environment and avoiding the high abandonment rate that can occur during the checkout process.

Shipping is another critical piece of the puzzle. Delivering to a global audience means factoring in customs and duties, potential wait times and differences in shipping rates. An integrated eCommerce platform includes tools to manage these variables while providing access to the most common global shipping companies, including UPS, FedEx and DHL. All the associated forms are easily accessible, and a central dashboard makes it easy to change shipping rates for each localized storefront as necessary.

Optimizing fulfillment

Managing localized warehouses and offering popular shipping options ensures that products get to customers quickly, but it can pose some tricky budget problems for businesses. Domestic orders and international orders cost different amounts to fulfill, and some countries that offer cheap production costs may have high fulfillment prices. To preserve profits while providing customers with a positive experience, businesses must work with suppliers and shipping companies to strike a balance between these variables.

It takes a robust eCommerce platform to collate data from the high volume of orders received by an enterprise-level business with a global reach and translate it into reports that reflect local fulfillment pricing. With these reports in hand, sales and shipping departments can coordinate with fulfillment centers to manage the cost of production, inventory, imports, exports and customs fees. The end goal is always to deliver orders to customers in the easiest, cheapest way possible without losing money in the process.

Engaging with ERP

Running out of an item in any warehouse can cause significant delays in order fulfillment. Using an eCommerce platform to integrate inventory management software with ERP and CRM solutions brings every stage of the purchasing funnel under one dashboard. With quick access to all customer data and the ability to track orders as they come in, companies can create automated workflows that update inventory information across all global warehouses. Timely alerts prevent items from going on back order by allowing enough time to replenish stock that’s running low.

If a warehouse is out of a particular product, ERP systems can be used to transfer inventory from one location to another until more can be ordered. Centralized management takes the confusion out of tracking these transfers, and the instant updates made possible with integrated eCommerce platforms ensure that all storefronts reflect the correct number of items in stock. This allows companies to keep up with demand from the back end so that customers always have access to the products that they want.

Clarity can help

The experienced developers at Clarity are ready to design a network of custom integrations to support your company’s expansion into the global market. Our eCommerce platform along with ERP, CRM and multi-store solutions, provide the tools you need to establish your business on the international scene. Contact Clarity today for a free quote on the tools you need to reach beyond your domestic audience.