Textile logistics: how to become the best?

In the first quarter of 2019, the French spent no less than 3 billion euros on the internet, for purchases of clothing and accessories. The online fashion market is becoming the leading market on the internet: an opportunity to be seized! But like any dynamic market, textile fashion is an extremely competitive sector. That's why, if you want to stand out as an e-merchant, there are crucial steps to take care of, particularly in the organization of your supply chain in France. The unboxing of your items, the choice of carrier, the management of product returns... There are various elements you can work on to guarantee a fulfilling customer experience and avoid unpleasant surprises (e.g. damage, theft, or loss of packages).

By
Julie Ribeiro
Created
August 20, 2020
Modified
August 20, 2020

Logistics for a textile e-commerce: an essential element for customer satisfaction!

The e-commerce supply chain for textile products and accessories requires a certain amount of organization to ensure that the item arrives on time and in good condition.

If the success of certain steps is not your responsibility, certain levels of the supply chain are under your control and are dependent on your choices. Between unboxing, delivery options, and returns policy, there are logistical phases that are particularly worthy of your attention. Take care of your textile logistics and supply chain!

The art of unboxing and the logistical preparation of the packaging

The choice of packaging and wrapping for your clothes and accessories is crucial: it's all about finding the perfect balance. Indeed, 73% of online consumers say they would not reorder from a company if the product is delivered broken. At the same time, a lot of bad buzz related to excessive packaging can stain the reputation of companies. A compromise must therefore be found between safety and moderation.

When it comes to planning your packaging, it is necessary to think of everything: the packaging of your products says a lot about your brand!

Outer packaging: a logistical solution dedicated to the continuous image improvement

The parcel is one of the first elements not to be neglected: it is the last thing your customers see before discovering their item. And since you only get one chance to make a good first impression, the presentation of the parcel is not to be ignored!

4 out of 10 customers share their shopping experience on social networks. And given the speed at which publications spread on the web, it is preferable that this experience be positive. The idea is to pamper your customers as you would like to be pampered as a consumer.

Make it a point of honor to choose a package packaging that represents the values of your brand image. Whether it's the colors, the materials used or the designs: everything must be consistent!

Bigblue Tips: Creating packaging in your brand's colors tends to appeal to customers. However, beware of the risk of theft! Branding a package (putting distinctive signs that it belongs to a brand) can lead to more theft. Again, strike a balance between discretion and small details. 

Optimization of product discovery by the end customer

Once the package is presented, you have to think about its interior: decoration, quantity of dunnage for safe transport... The unboxing stage has become a real phenomenon on social networks, as many consumers film themselves opening up their products. And the general presentation says a lot about your brand! If your customer orders a denim jacket and it arrives all wrinkled and packed in a plastic bag, you have missed a chance to make a strong impression and build customer loyalty. 

Apart from the overall design, don't skimp on the little things. Brands like Sézane understand this and have become true experts in unboxing: the possibilities are numerous! 

Customized packaging with the customer's first name, a little word, quality packaging... The inside of your package must be worked onto boost customer satisfaction and encourage them to recommend it to you.

To take the example of your customer with the denim jacket, remember to include a little tutorial on the best way to wear it. Rolled up sleeves, with black trousers, open or closed... Completeness is appreciated!

Bigblue Tips: Even if you outsource the logistics and delivery part of your e-commerce, it's up to you to work upstream on the unboxing process. We advise you to put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask yourself: how would I like to receive my denim jacket? What do I appreciate as a customer? Remove the plastic wrapping, wrap the item in tissue paper, add a personalized flyer... The possibilities are endless!

Logistics and transport management of delivery options

Higher up in the distribution supply chain is the delivery and the options that come with it. Again, a very important step!Between the choice of carriers (which is crucial for all sectors) and the various delivery services, nothing can be left to chance.

Transport and logistics: choosing the right transport provider

38% of French internet users who buy textiles online always say they are afraid of an unpleasant surprise upon delivery of the product. When you select a carrier to work with, you give them the responsibility of taking care of your image.

It is therefore essential that your choice is oriented towards a carrier consistent with the quality of your products, and especially the values of your e-commerce. For example, the Loom company does not offer an express delivery service in order to stick to its ethical and eco-responsible brand image.

Bigblue Tips: Choosing your carrier is not a step to be taken lightly: being the last link in the supply chain management, its actions can have a great impact on your image. Not to mention the fact that the delivery options offered by your carrier must satisfy your customers! To aid you in your selection, here is a short guide to boosting your brand image with a concrete delivery process.

Click & Collect delivery and freight service

As an e-commerce specialist in clothing and accessories, the Click & Collect delivery option is very interesting on many levels. First of all, almost 85% of French consumers say they are interested in this alternative, which has significant advantages for both you and them.

The Click & Collect option works for multi-channel brands: in addition to sending the products directly to your customers' homes, you offer in-store delivery to a partner store. As well as avoiding the ecological disaster of the last kilometer during home deliveries, this is a plus for your logistics management! 

Indeed, if your customer who ordered the denim jacket took a size 38 instead of a size 40, a Click & Collect delivery allows you to avoid many inconveniences. First of all, your customer does not have to print a return slip, repackage the parcel, and move to return it. In addition, your carrier does not need to go to all the relay points to collect the returned products: his only stop is at the partner shop.

As your customer has the opportunity to try on his denim jacket on the spot, you don't have a return to take care of. And your customer is satisfied!

Bigblue Tips: Just like the choice of carrier, the choice of delivery options should match your products and your business. For example, delivery to a relay point is a green solution, delivery by appointment is a security and customer satisfaction option, Click & Collect is more economical (with the possibility to take advantage of the in-store flow of goods).

In any case, don't neglect the selection of your delivery service: it is a real secret weapon to satisfying the customer every time, and enhancing your reputation!

Efficient logistics performance for product returns

Regardless of your choice of carrier and delivery options, as an e-merchant in the textile sector, you are at great risk of being confronted with returned products. 

However, many textile companies are forced to throwaway almost 25% of returned products due to poor reverse logistics management.A serious loss of profit which can be avoided!

The scheduling of a return policy favorable to the customer experience... 

The textile sector is a market in which product returns are quite frequent. In countries such as Germany, almost 50% of all clothing and accessories ordered are returned. Problems with size, color, or even cut... There are many reasons for returns. In any case, with the increasing number of orders on the internet the situation is not likely to improve.

As an e-merchant, it is essential to design a perfect and flawless return policy to avoid being confronted with complex logistics management.

Make sure you communicate fully about the return conditions. For example, if your customer who ordered a denim jacket wants to change the size of his garment, he will have to return the product directly to your warehouse. If, on the contrary, he just needs a touch-up, perhaps you have a partnership with a fashion boutique, to which he can send his product? Plan for all eventualities to ensure your back is covered!

Bigblue Tips: Whether you want to create reusable packaging for returns, limit returns as a price or liability deterrent, or set up a size guide with Fitle, the choice is yours. What's important is the clarity of your return policy.

Use simple terms, set up a FAQ, attach the return label... Here are a few tips on e-commerce return policies to help you get a clear picture!

... But always a measured return policy

Because of the Covid crisis, the number of customers in clothing stores has dropped dramatically. Physical shopping is becoming less and less popular, especially for the 32% of French consumers who are reducing their presence in the city on a daily basis.

As an e-merchant, you have to find a balance between a helpful return policy and a dissuasive return policy. Indeed, product returns are extremely time-consuming for you, in addition to being terrible for the environment.

In the event of a return, you must carry out a thorough check of the returned products, their packaging, their storage...Without even mentioning the return of products in the right size or color to the customer's address!

So, make sure you put conditions in place that avoid abusive returns. For example, if your customer orders 4 denim jackets in a row and sends them back each in turn, you can warn him that the 5th return will not be free.

Bigblue Tips: Unfortunately, these days, free returns are almost an obligation: 80% of consumers don't order if a return is not offered. If you want to implement this option, don't forget to count the return fee in the price of the product on sale!

Indeed, according to research by the company Gartner, less than 50% of returned products will be resold at the full price. So, a free service, yes, but without breaking the bank! 

Professionalizing your global supply chain: the key to satisfying your customers! 

As an e-merchant in the textile fashion market, you are confronted with different choices to ensure safe internal logistics, coupled with a successful customer experience.

Every step and every external factor (even if unpredictable or improbable) must be taken into account. From the design of quality outer and inner packaging, to good management of product returns, to the choice of carrier and delivery service, nothing should be left to chance.

If you are afraid of missing out on something essential and tarnishing your reputation, you can entrust the entire logistics management to an experienced textile logistics specialist such as Bigblue. That way, there will be no unpleasant surprises for you or your customers

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Julie Ribeiro
Marketing specialist and content writer at Bigblue.
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