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E-commerce (III)

Continuing with the content I am coursing about E-commerce, today the topic goes around logistic. Maybe it sounds so familiar to you but it is always good to review the knowledge we have.

Logistic concerns: collecting, storing, sorting, transportation, packing and delivery.

At e-commerce the relation between the business and the customer is through the transportation company/worker.

It’s so important giving to the client the possibility to control all the logistic process.

At the course they give me the example of the startup iBird. (The web page isn’t working so I will explain briefly what it is). iBird is a logistics company focused to ecommerce deliveries. It aims to resolve the typical problems of ecommerce logistics through technology and disruptive operational designs.

The way they work is through GPS. They had designed an app where the client can agree and check how and where they want to pick up the products they bought at an online company. Also the client can check on the map where is the package as well as ask questions or set up new agreements with the transportation company.

Another idea this company add to the process is to use electric cars to transport the products.

The logistic is such an important process at e-commerce that some business decide where to establish their offices after deciding where to have their storage. It is the case of Zappos, the company moved their infraestructures of California to Las Vegas to get a better logistic position that allows to cover all North American market.

Another way to interact at e-commerce is by the model of “click & collect“. This concept is very simple and very counter-intuitive. You, the customer, buy something online. Then, rather than wait for the postman to ring the doorbell three days later, you go to the shop and collect it yourself. Delivery charges are generally cheaper than by post, or even waived. Many companies are working giving this possibility to their clients.

At e-commerce, to have the possibility to return the product if there is something wrong with it → trusted brand.

But it is important to establish policies for setting which are the conditions. With them we will avoid plenty of returns without fair reason and the consequently losses.

If you are selling by internet your shop is open to the world, it means:

  • If you have restrictions they must be specified: which cities/countries are not included, which ones are planned to be open and when they are going to be opened.

  • Languages: you must adapt your web page to the language and culture of the country you are working for. (e.g. Portuguese from Portugal is not the same as Portuguese from Brazil, as well as Spanish from Spain is not the same as Spanish from Latin America)

  • Promotional strategies: it is so important to know the culture and the traditions of the place where you want to sell. (e.g. In Arab countries there is no Christmas. So it makes no sense to create a Christmas campaign in this case.)

  • The seasons are the opposite in each hemisphere. (It can be important if you are selling winter or summer clothes.)

  • You must know about the tax rules in each country: laws, taxes, forbidden products, etc.

  • All clients must have the same service regardless of the area where they are. There is not excuses to not keep the quality standards and similar delivery terms.

  • The packaging must be adapted to the language of the area is going to be distributed. They will be handle by staff which will be not familiar with your company.

  • Countries with extreme weather (e.g. Middle East): isulating packaging will be requested to mantain the quality of products like creams or perfumes.

Until now we were talking about the delivery of physical products. So let’s talk about the delivery of the digital products.

It is easier than the delivery of physical products. Usually they deliver content developed by providers. At the same time, the providers agree with this virtual shops/platforms to publish their work and get paid for it through the commissions on the sale. There is the ecosystem of developers and content/service provider. Some of this companies are: Netlix,, the Samsung videoclub, Play Store or Apple Store.

And there is three ways to access to this content:

  • Free content: they are mainly financed through advertising.

  • Premium content: you pay each download one or more times deppending of the platform.

  • Fremium content: you can download the content for free but if you want to access to extra content you have to pay for it. (in-app purchose)

Few months ago I saw that picture and I kept it because I find it interesting. What do you think about?

Related with it, probably you know that Adele had launched her new album and that she decided not to make it available on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Now I want to make you a question: Do you think we are conscious that behind the product/service we are consuming there is some else work/effort? Do you think we are taking for granted the work/efforts of others just because we easily have access to it for free?

Now, coming back to the delivery of physical products, you can find all of them by internet. An example of it is Naranjas Lola, an online shop which sell oranges from Valencia. They are directly picked from the tree and sent to your house without intermediaries.

Another usual practice which combine on and offline is what it is known by “showrooming“. It is the practice of examining merchandise or products in a store and then buying it online for a lower price. Showrooming benefits online retailers, since they can offer cheaper prices than brick-and-mortar retailers for identical products because of their lower overhead. They also do not collect sales tax in most cases. The tremendous surge in popularity of smartphones and mobile devices has substantially aided and abetted showrooming, since it gives shoppers much greater flexibility to check online prices and even place product orders online.

And we are going to end the content of today by remembering the importance of agility and conflict resolution. The relationship with the customer is always important for selling. But even more important at e-commerce because internet is a window to the world. And it can be the best ally or enemy for a company.

For this reason many companies uses the JIT process.

Just in time (JIT) = system of supplying goods as close as possible to when they are actually needed. JIT requires the constant and precise monitoring of demand. This is done with the use of KANBAN. Signals between various points of production which can alert when the next part or product is needed.

And some companies like Twitter are using Zendesk services to manage their relations with costumers. I suggest you to have a look into the web page. I think the service they offer, the design of the web page and how they explain it, is at least worth it to know.

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