Let's face it; the eCommerce industry is constantly changing and evolving. The top challenges we see today will differ from what we'll encounter tomorrow. Notably, some of the most pressing issues today include the port issues in Shanghai, supply chain disruption due to COVID, increasing carrier rates, a new wave of regulations coming into play, etc.
To stay ahead of the curve, you need to know where your online business stands now and what the future holds for your business. You also want to stay on top of the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. We're talking about 3PL software solutions, smart fulfillment systems, pick-pack-ship processes, and partnering with the best fulfillment companies, among other solutions.
Let's take a deeper dive into the top five eCommerce challenges in 2022 and how to navigate them:
1) Port Issues in China
In March 2020, there were reports that Chinese ports were experiencing delays in processing container shipments. This was attributed to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, which caused disruptions globally. It's not just the ports that are affected but also the logistics networks that connect the ports to their destinations. For instance, eCommerce order fulfillment can't happen without the right connections between the ports and warehouses.
The most recent setback has been the Shanghai Port lockdown due to Covid-19, slashing active operations by 17% in April. But the good news is that the port has recently rebounded from the lockdown, with daily container throughput hitting 95% of the normal level.
How To Navigate Port Issues in China
As an online business, you have no control over whether or when your goods arrive at the destination port. Fortunately, there are solutions available to help mitigate this issue. Here are a few:
- Use a trusted 3PL provider, like Rakuten Super Logistics, which provides warehouse space and freight services.
- Leverage our smart shipping solution, Xparcel for fast, efficient, and affordable shipping.
2) Supply Chain Disruption Due to Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted global supply chains, causing shortages of medical supplies, foodstuffs, and even toilet paper. As a result, many businesses are having trouble meeting demand. While the situation may seem dire, it's important to remember that the impact of the virus isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, the Biden administration warns that the Coronavirus wave this fall could affect 100 million people if the current trend continues.
How To Resolve Supply Chain Disruptions
With the current disruptions poised to carry on a little longer, it's time to stay ahead of the game to keep your business afloat. Here's how:
- Ensure that your inventory levels are sufficient to meet customer demand. To do so, you want to build backup inventory by setting aside safety stock that would cover for any delays or disruptions.
- Distribute your inventory in multiple warehouses across the country. This strategy gets your products to your customers faster and lowers shipping costs.
- Diversify your suppliers. If one supplier becomes unavailable, you'll still be able to get some products from another source.
- Rely on the best fulfillment companies to ensure accurate and timely delivery. They'll handle all aspects of the process, including picking, packing, and shipping.
3) Customer Experience (CX) Challenges
Customer experience is becoming more critical than ever before. Consumers are demanding better experiences across all channels. How they shop, use apps, and interact with brands is changing rapidly. And while these shifts are exciting, they're also challenging.
How To Deliver Better CX
To deliver a great customer experience, you need to understand what makes your customers tick. You should know what motivates them, frustrates them, and keeps them returning. Once you've identified those key areas, you can design and implement strategies to improve each area.
For example, if your customers are frustrated by slow website speed, you might prioritize optimizing your site for performance. Or, if they're upset about poor service, you might consider implementing AI chatbots to resolve issues quickly.
4) Order Fulfillment Challenges
While eCommerce order fulfillment may seem simple from the outside, it's pretty complex. There are several factors involved in fulfilling orders, including:
- Picking and Packaging - This involves selecting the right items, packaging them properly, and ensuring they reach their destination safely.
- Shipping - It takes both time and money to ship goods. Companies must invest in reliable order fulfillment services and warehouses, as well as hire qualified staff.
- Tracking - When an item leaves the warehouse, there needs to be a tracking mechanism in place to monitor its progress.
With an efficient and centralized pick, pack, and ship solution, you can save time and money by fulfilling your orders through the best combination of price and service.
5) Increasing Carrier Rates
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has seen gas costs rise exponentially within the past few months. This has, in turn, taken a toll on the cost of shipping goods, which has increased at an alarming rate. This increase has been felt most acutely by smaller eCommerce businesses, which often have limited resources to offset rising costs.
What Can eCommerce Businesses Do?
Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the effects of rising carrier rates. Here are a few:
- You can rely on a business fulfillment system like Xparcel to optimize speeds and achieve dependable deliveries without increasing costs.
- If you struggle to cover rising costs, you should look into other options to support your business. For instance, you could partner with a 3PL provider that has over 20 years of experience in scaling and saving eCommerce businesses' bottom-line.
Rakuten Super Logistics is Your Go-To 3PL Shipping Provider!
At RakutenSL, our goal is to simplify shipping online business so you can spend more time focusing on what matters most to your business. We provide our partners with the tools they need to succeed. Our logistics experts help you manage every aspect of your supply chain, from order fulfillment to returns management. We take care of everything so you can focus on growing your business.
In addition to offering affordable freight rates, we also give you access to a network of strategically located warehouses and national and regional carriers, allowing you to get your products delivered anywhere in the world. Our technology allows us to connect all parties across the country, ensuring your shipments arrive on time and in perfect condition.
Now it's all your call! Download our comprehensive white paper to learn how to reduce shipping costs with Rakuten Super Logistics while delivering fast and accurate order fulfillment to help grow your online business.
Rakuten Super Logistics is a leading eCommerce order fulfillment company that provides the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings retailers demand.
Stay up to date on the latest ecommerce news and announcements