Online selling has been popular for a decade and there is still no sight of slowing down.
As sales channel becomes versatile, inventory replenishment and order fulfilment gets more complicated than before. An efficient order replenishment and order fulfilment strategy will ensure sellers could stay competitive and grow the business into the next level.
Having Black Friday and Christmas season sales around the corner, we should be shortly entering peak season of the year, however, there was an article published on JOC.COM with an alerting headline;
With further explaining that,
“Top NVOs losing Asia-US market share. Small and mid-size NVOs are chipping away at the market shares of the top five NVOs in Asia-US trade by moving aggressively on smaller accounts and responding quickly to declining spot rates”
Considering big BCO accounting for a big share on this trade and big BCO tend to be working with the big guys (sizable NVO), a safe interpretation might probably be small and medium-size traders/importers/sellers outperformance big brands in consumer or retail market.
To cross-check, we took a quick look at the traffic of major online B2B sourcing platform
- Alibaba.com is taking a dip since earlier this year
- 1688.com ( another sourcing platform under Alibaba for smaller order, lower MOQ) is flat or slightly increasing
- Globalsources.com, a platform specialized in hosting the exhibition for SME (small and medium-size business), website traffic increases steadily.
also looking at forwarding industry, we are seeing peer forwarders moving shipment with less volume but on a more frequent basis which is also reflected in Asia – US NVOCC ranking in August. It is interesting to see Flexport and Amazon CHINA (both moving B2C shipment from China) grew explosively.
Same for online freight forwarding marketplace Freightos, hardly seeing any sight of slowing down
International trading is still promising despite all the known difficulties internationally, with a noticeably growing trend from SMB (small and medium-size business) in placing smaller order as regular/frequent replenishment.
The requirement of SMB in shipping is different from sizable accounts as they are normally looking at the followings;
- Growing SKU list with a small quantity inventory
- High turn-around time and multi-channel fulfilment
- Return order handling for resell
- Competitive end-to-end shipping cost per item, pallet and FCL
That’s why we have been striving to improve our multi-channel fulfilment ability across the board for small and medium-size customers and here are what we firmly believe in shipping;
- Reduce the consolidation cost at cargo origin to ensure a lower end-to-end logistics cost
- Reduce the number of intermediary in operational flow
- Reduce the zone and distance your cargo move within the sales market
For Amazon seller
In most cases, here is how most amazon sellers arrange their FBA shipment which we would like to call it
1. Place order to suppliers at cargo origin
2. Get a quotation from freight forwarder for international shipping (FOB/EXW) from cargo origin in the form or LCL/FCL or by air mode
3. Arrange export from cargo origin
4. Clear import shipment, move and store the cargo to seller’s owned warehouse or a 3PL warehouse
5. Place inventory order in seller account as “Inventory placement service” or “Distributed inventory placement” to obtain one or more FBA warehouse delivery address
6. Check and compared shipping rates, print shipping label and handover the cargoes to the shipping company for delivery
Pro: Full control
- Increased logistics cost in shipping from origin and delivery to Amazon as shipping volume not enjoying the economy of scale
- Increased lead time due to separated shipping activities with multiple service provider (export, import, storage, delivery).
- Additional coordination with multiple logistics parties, international freight forwarder, cargo clearance agent, warehouse and delivery company
- Additional investment for some sellers on warehouse and infrastructure.
In fact, there is an alternative for anyone who would like to make a difference
This alternative has been in place for years and has been proved to be of high efficiency.
“Ship from oversea”
1. Place order to suppliers at cargo origin
2. Place inventory order in seller account as “Inventory placement service” or “Distributed inventory placement” to obtain one or more FBA warehouse delivery address
3. Get all-in DDU quotation from factory address all the way up to Amazon warehouse location with multiple shipping solutions
- Ocean FCL/LCL + truck
- Ocean FCL/LCL + express
- Air + Truck
- Air + express
4. Confirm the most suitable shipping method with one 3PL and wait for inventory report
pop-up in the seller dashboard
- Reduced logistics cost in shipping from origin and delivery to Amazon as shipping volume is consolidated at cargo origin by freight forwarder where the economy of scale is directly translated into huge saving
- Reduced lead time due to streamlined shipping arrangement
- Reduced unnecessary coordination with multiple logistics parties, international freight forwarder, cargo clearance agent, warehouse and delivery company
- Say goodbye to investment in warehouse and infrastructure
Con: a lack of visibility for cargoes moving from supplier to Amazon
Here is our moving rate for “ship from oversea” and it is always up to a seller to decide whichever is in the best of interest of their business model.
For easy reference, please take a quick look on the map below to find out how we are strategically positioned among Amazon fulfilment centre.
From the map
- Blue icon: Amazon existing fulfilment centre
- Green icon: Amazon new fulfilment centre from the end of 2019 to 2020
- Yellow Icon: That’s us!
For eBay seller
After the introduction of Ebay’s “Managed delivery”, more sellers are exciting that eBay is finally taking fulfilment more seriously than it used to be.
However, no further news had been given since July about how eBay is going to make it happen.
Considering Ebay’s famously light-asset operation mode, it might be a safe bet to say they are probably extending a similar partnership through their existing 3PLs, setting up a large partnered warehouse and delivery network, where eBay seller could deliver their inventory to, and contract delivery agent or 3PL will handle the final mile from there.
It remained to be seen how attractive this solution would be with eBay branded packaging and how many sellers will sign up to.
But if this is really happening, we are also able to match this by offering interested eBay seller an all-in package. Similar to Amazon FBA, this package covers international shipping from the overseas factory, storing goods in our warehouse and drop-shipping to buyer or delivery to eBay network.
For Shopify seller
This platform has been a rock star in 2019, with share price soaring and analysis predicting it will overtake eBay in few years, more and more sellers are paying attention to this new opportunity.
Before the introduction of Ebay’s managed delivery, Shopify revealed their fulfilment plan for 2020, known as the “Shopify fulfilment network”.
From public info on Shopify fulfilment network, we learnt that
- Seller may be able to have their logo visible on the package delivered (unlike Amazon or eBay where the buyer only see the visual of Amazon/eBay brand)
- The seller could choose the warehouse recommended by Shopify in sending their inventory (unlike amazon where it is dictated by the system)
Soon after the introduction, more details were given and pilot-run for selected sellers are operational through their warehouse network in;
California, Georgia, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas
Apparently phase 1 of Shopify fulfilment focus on selected states on the East and West coast, and given the location of our warehouse, we are able to extend our consolidated shipping package including international shipping, storing goods, drop-shipping or delivery to Shopify network.
From the map
- Blue icon: Shopify phase 1 fulfilment warehouse location
- Yellow Icon: That’s us!
To make it easier for Shopify seller to compare rates and ship, we are developing a Shopify APP that will be soon made available on Shopify APP store, stay tuned.
One more thing
For seller running their owned website site (Wordpress, Wix etc) for B2C or B2B, we are able to assist fulfilment objective with our “ship from oversea” approach, check here to compare existing international shipping rate with our instant quote.