If you decide to open an online store from scratch, in developing a business plan (and it must be), you must consider one of the largest expense items - the organization of logistics online store. If you are working with one supplier, then there will be no problems. You can either send the goods yourself to the customer, or work on a system of dropshipping, when the supplier makes direct shipments to your customers. But what if you want to open your own online store and work with several different suppliers? Dropshipping will not save you in this case, because customers will not pay 2-3 times for the delivery of each product - it's both inconvenient and expensive. Consider several options for the delivery of goods for different types and sizes of e-commerce projects.
Self-shipment or dropshipping
If you have just created an online store from scratch, then at first you can send your orders by yourself using the most popular delivery services. You can also establish cooperation with dropshippers. For business, the risk will be minimal, because there are no storage and delivery costs. Over time, the demand for certain categories and types of goods and brands will be revealed. This will help later on to confidently make purchases in large batches or bring in goods directly from China. Logistics for online stores in this case is organized with minimal effort and expense.
Demand can be tracked using built-in analytics. For example, in the SoloMono online stores administration panel you can get detailed analytics on sales. Graphs will help you estimate demand over a specific period of time and make forecasts for the next month or year.
If you are starting up an online store, you can open 1-2 Pickup points in the city you are located in. The office of the company may also be suitable as a pickup point at the initial stage of working with customers. Also, suitable to rent a warehouse for an online store, which may already be equipped with office space. This is how many internet shops started, the name of which is now popular throughout the country. If the organization of outlets is problematic, you can turn to companies that provide their own outlets and employees.
If you have already successfully opened your online store and the number of orders has increased significantly, there are several options for organizing delivery from the online store to the customer.
You do not need to hire a whole staff: it can be 1-2 people with their own vehicles. With each employee can discuss an individual schedule and wages depending on the generation of hours.
Do not forget about the fact that today most customers pay for their orders by bank cards, so you should immediately take care of the purchase of mobile POS terminals.
Advantages of hiring a courier:
1. Ability to develop a unique selling proposition, such as delivery from 9 PM or on weekends. This will help you stand out from your competitors.
2. For transportation of bulky goods you can hire a courier in a truck. The cost will be definitely less than, for example, in the services of delivery outsourcing.
3. Flexibility. If you need to make quick changes to the order or to make a re-directed delivery to several couriers is easier and faster to contact.
4. Optimal for a small number of orders.
5. Ease of implementation.
Disadvantages of such cooperation:
1. Monetary risks due to the unfairness of the employee. This disadvantage can be excluded if at the initial stage you sign a contract on hiring and material responsibility.
2. The courier's performance, responsibility, and other human qualities affect the reputation of your company, so it is better to ask for recommendations right away.
3. To find 1 worthy courier, you will need to make at least 100 phone calls, and conduct interviews. This is a time-consuming expense.
4. Couriers only work within the city or nearby regions. For shipments to other cities and regions, it is better to use the services of a transportation company. But this is also about the scalability of the business as a whole.
The outsourced delivery service will not only deliver orders to customers but also provide its own call center and warehouse for storage. It's really convenient: one contract is drawn up and all calculations are made with one company. If you want your goods to be delivered to customers in branded packaging - provide it to the company. Also, the terms and stages of packaging your goods should be spelled out. In order to track the processing of orders and the status of the shipment, your partner can offer its CRM system.
Choose a shipping service focused on online stores (fulfillment), then you will get a number of additional services, such as collecting orders from different suppliers or the possibility of individual packaging of goods.
The advantages of outsourcing:
1. If you increase the orders or expand the geography, the outsourcing delivery service is ready to provide employees at once. Also, the company already has its own optimized routes and fleet of vehicles for any size and batch of cargo.
2. Automation. Most companies can provide their CRM system, in which you can easily track the status of orders and shipment of goods.
3. Related services. Some companies can additionally offer a call-center service and warehousing.
4. More affordable cost, if compared to creation and maintenance of own delivery service.
5. The delivery service is financially responsible for the goods. This should be specified in the contract.
1. You as a manager cannot influence the employees of the logistics company. There is also no possibility to change the schedule of the couriers or to quickly redirect the parcel, if necessary. Such cooperation lacks flexibility.
2. Many owners of Internet stores complain about the fact that delivery services delay the money for the goods. It is necessary to clarify the terms before concluding a contract.
3. In comparison with the services of one or two couriers, cooperation with delivery service is more expensive.
Personal warehouse and staff (logisticians, drivers, couriers) - expensive. In addition to the above, you will need top managers who will organize all the processes.
The advantages of own delivery service:
1. Prompt delivery. You yourself determine the work schedule of your managers to receive orders, as well as the courier service. Orders are processed and shipped faster.
2. Transparency. You as the owner have access to all processes, which helps to monitor how money is spent rationally. With outsourced companies, transparency is not always provided.
3. The possibility of implementing your own CRM system. You can implement your own system of order processing automation, which will be more affordable and easier to use.
4. You hire as many employees as you need.
5. You get the money for the goods from the customers at once.
1. High costs.
2. The need to organize and optimize all processes.
3. Additional volume of tasks, which will fall on your shoulders, but if you cope with it you get a delivery service that is fully "grounded" for your online store.
If you have already reached the point where logistics - the only viable option, let us tell you what points you need to pay attention to. First of all, how to open a warehouse for an online store.
Each storage space can be assigned to a certain class. There are a total of two types of classes: A, B, C, D, and A, A+, B, B+, C and D. Class A warehouses are the most equipped, but also the most expensive. The premises can be connected to an alarm system and heating. An office and restroom may also be included in the total area. Class A warehousing may include a drop-off point, call center, and sorting center. Class D warehouses are not equipped with heat communication and in general, may be a basement or shipping container. This type of warehouse is not suitable for food and equipment storage. In general, "experienced" entrepreneurs who have already organized logistics recommend choosing a room no smaller than class B. The warehouse for the online store must be selected for the type of product and its quantity.
Warehouse space is more expensive to the city center. To save money (sometimes 1.5-2 times), you can pick up storage outside the city. But there is a problem with the self-delivery of goods, as customers who do not have personal auto, will not be able to get. It is necessary to weigh the pros and cons, but the savings on leasing a warehouse can be significant. In drawing up a lease agreement is better to consult with a lawyer. By the way, a lawyer should initially be at the registration of the enterprise. You can hire a person on outsourcing, for an hourly fee.
Of software, it is necessary to implement a program of warehouse accounting. This can be off-the-shelf software or a self-written program specifically for the online store engine. On the choice of the program should also spend time comparing the advantages and disadvantages, flexibility and scalability, user-friendly interface, price, and other characteristics. Online stores based on CMS SoloMono can integrate with 1C program. In the admin panel you can easily manage the settings of the warehouse.
If you have your own software and want to integrate it into our online store - leave a request to our specialists.
After leasing your own warehouse and integrating the software, you will need to deal with the organization of the logistics service. Here you can get by with several couriers, or get a partnership with a logistics company for outsourcing. If the store is growing, and the trade turnover increases - it makes sense to open several departments and hire staff on payroll. To start is better not to try to cover all cities, and start with a few. This will gradually expand the staff and develop a step-by-step script.
All options should be listed in a table with the advantages and disadvantages. Consider everything: trade turnover, income from the sale of goods, the number of orders per day / month / year. Ideally, use the services of specialists who will help you make a business plan, so you can immediately assess the financial capabilities and choose the option, starting from the budget.
When organizing a delivery, get the support of lawyers who can help you properly draw up a contract of cooperation and financial responsibility, the contract of lease or purchase of premises, etc. This article can be of help regarding which direction to take. Ideally, it is better to consult with a business consultant, a person who specializes specifically in the direction of e-commerce. You may be interested to read the article "Is it necessary to legally design an online store. What are the options. The order of registration. And a little about EDM for online stores".