In 2022, ecommerce pet product sales exceeded $30 billion. Ecommerce purchases accounted for a staggering 36% of total industry sales. It’s clear that pet owners love shopping online, especially when looking for products for their four-legged friends. You need a comprehensive ecommerce logistics strategy to capitalize on this ever-growing trend. Ecommerce logistics refers to getting online orders into your customers’ hands and their pets’ paws.
By making ecommerce logistics a core part of your growth strategy, you can fulfill orders faster, streamline the customer experience, and satisfy pet owners’ needs. Here’s a deep dive into ecommerce logistics for pet stores, including how to master inventory management, expedite fulfillment, and deliver for your customers.
The Booming Pet Ecommerce Landscape
To say that the pet ecommerce sector is booming would be a colossal understatement. Pet owners nationwide are using the internet to purchase their essential animal care goods and products. Pet owners buy almost everything online, from food and medication to accessories and toys.
Ecommerce shopping, in general, has become more prevalent over the last few years. However, pet ecommerce is growing at an accelerated rate. This is due to a variety of factors, including:
- An increase in pet ownership
- An increase in pet life spans
- Better accessibility
- The desire for convenience
Access to expedited shipping is also fueling the adoption of digital pet product shopping trends. In the past, consumers did not want to wait a week or more to get their hands on pet products, so they drove to their local pet store.
Thanks to modern distribution and ecommerce logistics strategies, they don’t have to wait. Most consumers can receive their goods within a couple of days after placing their order. In some cases, they can even enjoy same-day or overnight delivery.
To keep pace with ever-growing consumer demands and stay ahead of your competitors, you need an ecommerce logistics strategy to facilitate safe and timely deliveries. Providing expedited delivery options is especially important for perishable items, such as select medications and raw pet foods.
Mastering Inventory Management
If you want to master ecommerce logistics, the first step is to get your inventory under control. In the fast-paced world of ecommerce pet sales, you need real-time visibility of your product levels. To achieve that level of visibility, you need to perform comprehensive product categorization and use tech to access real-time stock updates.
Comprehensive Product Categorization
As you work to structure your inventory, organize all of your products into distinct categories. Getting more organized will simplify the management and retrieval of your list.
Next, you need to implement a robust inventory management system to track stock levels. At any moment, you should be able to access up-to-the-minute data about your stock levels.
Real-time Stock Updates
Once you get your products categorized, you need to integrate your ecommerce logistics platform with your inventory system to ensure that your inventory data is accurate across your entire technology stack. By optimizing inventory visibility, you can avoid overselling and minimize the risk of disappointing your customers.
Additionally, understanding your inventory better will help you avoid overordering. Ordering too much stock can negatively impact business liquidity and leave you without the financial flexibility necessary to explore growth opportunities.
Packaging and Shipping Solutions
Once you get your inventory in order, it is time to turn your attention to packaging and shipping. This critical link in the ecommerce logistics workflow will have a significant impact on fulfillment times and, more importantly, customer satisfaction.
The Need for Tailored Packaging
If you really want to differentiate yourself from the competition, invest in branded packaging materials that protect delicate items. Make sure that your packaging also prevents leakage or spills.
Want to make your products even more appealing to pet owners? If so, consider eco-friendly packaging options that will catch the eye of environmentally-conscious pet owners. For instance, you could use recyclable paper packaging as opposed to standard plastic goods.
Finding the Right Partners
After you have nailed your packaging, you need to forge quality relationships with shipping and fulfillment partners. You can reach out to carriers individually or connect with a third-party logistics provider and let them streamline all of your fulfillment and shipping processes.
When searching for prospective partners, ensure that they offer a variety of different shipping options, including subscription-based fulfillment, express, and standard. Also, make sure your partner is experienced in handling temperature-sensitive or fragile pet products.
Handling Perishable and Sensitive Items
Raw pet foods are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners. Likewise, many pet owners are investing in a variety of medications and health products that must be kept refrigerated. To support health-conscious pet owners wanting the best for their four-legged friends, you must address perishable and sensitive items in your ecommerce logistics strategy.
Managing Fresh and Frozen Goods
When it comes to shipping perishable pet food, treats, and medications, make sure that you:
- Use protective insulated packaging
- Insert cold packs into the package to maintain product quality
- Label the package as “perishable”
- Offer expedited shipping to reduce the risk of spoilage
- Pick carriers that are experienced in handling perishable goods
Perfecting your fresh and frozen goods handling processes will go a long way in maximizing customer satisfaction and building your brand image.
Safe Delivery of Fragile Items
You should apply many of the same principles when packaging and shipping fragile pet accessories, such as glass items. When handling these types of products, make sure that they are labeled as “fragile.” Also, ensure your packaging includes adequate cushioning.
Implementing a great strategy for handling perishable and sensitive items will reduce the likelihood of returns and improve customer satisfaction. Speaking of returns, find out whether your 3PL assists with returns processing or if this is a process you need to address separately.
At the end of the day, everything you do is about your customers and their pets. With that in mind, your ecommerce logistics strategy should strive to create a frictionless customer-centric experience.
When a customer places an order, make sure to provide them with tracking information and the option to sign up for delivery notifications. Also, communicate any potential delays as soon as you become aware of them. Keeping customers in the loop will help them develop realistic expectations and reduce the chances of any major misunderstandings.
Despite your best efforts, issues will occasionally arise with your products. The good news is that you can still salvage these customer interactions by providing a straightforward process for returning or exchanging items.
When processing returns, gather feedback from your customers to find out what went wrong. If you identify a recurring issue, be proactive about solving it to decrease the frequency of returns and maximize customer satisfaction.
Tech Solutions for Streamlined Operations
If you want to win at ecommerce logistics, you need the right technology tools.
First and foremost, you need an order management system (OMS) integrated with the rest of your tech stack. Sync your OMS with your ecommerce platform to maximize visibility.
Leading OMS solutions will feature automation capabilities, which you can use to streamline order processing and inventory tracking workflows. Integrating these core processes will save you hours every week and help you reduce your labor expenses.
Upgrading your technology stack will allow you to tap into the power of data analytics. You can leverage modern analytics tools to engage in demand forecasting and ensure that your inventory levels align with consumer purchasing habits.
Analytics and forecasting technologies also enable you to optimize your inventory management and restocking processes. You can prevent stockouts and keep your customers happy while also avoiding overordering.
As an added benefit, you can better manage cash flow and improve liquidity by using just-in-time ordering principles. Freeing up that extra cash can give you the opportunity to try out new products.
Build Your Pet Store With Innovative Ecommerce Logistics Solutions
As of last year, ecommerce transactions accounted for more than one-third of all pet product sales. Eventually, ecommerce purchases will make up the majority of pet product purchases.
If you want to thrive in the pet goods industry of the future, you need a robust ecommerce tool. By using established best practices, you can cultivate a frictionless shopping experience that boosts customer loyalty and maximizes revenue.
That said, if you want to create a truly seamless experience for pet owners, it all starts with the right technologies. Investing in innovative ecommerce logistics solutions will provide pet owners with unmatched convenience and satisfaction while visiting your digital store. Additionally, you can enhance the efficiency of your operations, identify waste sources, and support your company’s continued growth.