E-commerce logistics and the great challenge of selling internationally

31 January, 2019

E-commerce represents a great opportunity and at the same time a great challenge for enterprises that want to internationalise

E-commerce allows businesses to sell their products in other markets more quickly than via the establishment of bricks-and-mortar shops but a process of analysis and planning, and subsequent execution of the plan with sufficient flexibility is necessary, to adapt oneself to all of the unknowns and the uncertainty of any new market .

What benefits can an enterprise which internationalises successfully expect?

  • Risk diversity
  • Gains competitiveness
  • Access to a larger market and in short, keep growing

Thanks to e-commerce new projects are born into a global environment

E-commerce possesses the particularity and the complexity that you can sell all over the world, which means a clear advantage as we saw in this post of e-commerce data, but at the same time it is a real challenge in terms of logistics.

At the beginning international sales will be scarce and we will service them from the central warehouse, but once we manage to position ourselves, and the weight of the business outside our home territory begins to generate volume and increase in importance, it will be the right moment to ask ourselves the following question:

Should we keep on serving orders from the central warehouse or delocalise certain stock in the new markets?

Online sales are especially sensitive to delivery costs, as they are to delivery times. If our margins do not allow us to offer express delivery and reduced delivery times then we will require local stock in order to be competitive and develop our business in the new market.

Delocalisation of stock in new markets adds a level of complexity to operations considering that it requires:

  • Knowledge of the new market
  • Sourcing adequate real estate
  • Allocation of new resources to establish ourselves
  • Investment in IT systems
  • Hiring staff; in short a whole series of processes that divert us from our core business activity.

Another option is to look for support with local partners or from experienced global logistics operators such as Logisfashion with experience in distinct markets that can provide us with knowledge and customised solutions. This obviously has a series of advantages:

  1. To leverage economies of scale
  2. Cost variablisation and risk reduction
  3. Improved delivery times and returns management
  4. Optimisation of operational costs

If you have your sights set on Latin America, our cross-border hub in Colon Free Trade Zone in Panama has a number of advantages given that it offers us the perfect entry point to Latin America thanks to its privileged geographical position and fiscal benefits (free of tariffs). Its connectedness via sea, air and land to the main cities allows us to serve any destination with very reduced delivery times.