The impact of e-commerce on truck manufacturing.

There’s little doubt digital online buying – a.k.a. the ‘Amazon Effect’, is impacting traditional retailers, especially since Walmart has stepped up to the plate to compete with Amazon in this competitive e-commerce space.  While consumers enjoy the benefits of their e-commerce ‘warfare’, another dynamic to the ‘Amazon Effect’ being brought into the forefront is truck and trailer manufacturing.

The supply procedure of any online purchase is run ‘not as a marathon but rather as a relay,’ says Bruce Sauer, of Truck/Body Builder. Adding, “Track coaches typically assign their fastest, most reliable runner to anchor the final leg of the race. It’s where many relays are won and lost”. His clever analogy highlights the importance and emphasis supply chain management and 3PL (third party logistics) companies are putting on the ‘final mile’ – the shipping, handling and delivery phase, of any e-commerce order.  Retailers need to be paying attention too.

Delivery vehicles are being re-designed to have better maneuverability at distribution and fulfillment centers moving away from full truckload models to more ‘metro-friendly freight patterns.’  Additionally, vehicles will likely be lighter and also get better gas mileage; ‘optimized’ so as to maximize cargo space and keep drivers comfortable, safe and able to conduct their job most efficiently. E-commerce has created a ‘trucking revolution’ that has really only just begun.

Since the physical size of the United States remains enormous, trailers will remain to play a vital role says Brent Yeagy, president and chief operating officer at Wabash National, a leading producer of commercial trucking equipment.  However, “E-commerce is not linear,” Yeagy says, “It’s growing exponentially. And its implications for the trucking industry promise to be more disruptive than 99% of us can even fathom at this point.”

Consumer expectations are also a big influencer. AlixPartners, LLP recently found in their 2016 Consumer Shipping Survey, seventy-five percent of e-commerce consumers are ‘greatly impacted’ by free shipping when they are making purchasing decisions. ‘Free and fast’ are what consumers expect and this expectation is another reason delivery vehicle manufacturers are rethinking their designs.

Simply put, a consumers’ last impression of a retailer is based upon their interaction with the ‘delivery company’.  An all out effort to streamline the supply chain down to redefining the design of the delivery truck, are underway.  Ultimately, consistent and reliable order fulfillment and delivery are imperative to any successful e-commerce retailer’s sustainability – especially in the competitive U.S. market.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: Alix Partners, LLP article: “Final-Mile Delivery: What Do Online Shoppers Want? And How Should Retailers and Their Logistics Partners Respond?”)

(Source: Truck/Body Builder, “How the shipping model of e-commerce is impacting truck body and trailer manufacturers –the ‘Amazon effect’ of fast, free shipping re-routes truck body/trailer builders’ thinking”.)

Omnichannel Consumer

Evolving beyond ‘multi-channel retailing’, omnichannel is all about creating ‘a seamless consumer experience’ and is being called ‘the future of retail’.

A recent survey from the Harvard Business Review states omnichannel consumers are “shoppers who engage with retailers across multiple touchpoints” adding “[they] are driving boosts in conversion rates both online and offline” making them one of the most if not, THE most valuable consumer in the retail market.  One of the reasons they’re so valuable is because consumers shopping from multiple resources versus from just one allows multiple opportunities to buy.  Further, the survey reportedly states, “[omnichannel consumers have] become increasingly reliant on more than one channel to aid in their purchasing decisions.”  Therefore, consumers are getting to know brands and establishing their loyalties across these multiple digital and in-person channels as well.

The phenomenon is forcing retailers – both traditional brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce merchants, to supply multiple (digital) shopping tools in order to attract ‘the larger audience’.  In the case of the ‘physical retailers’, it’s in their best interest to invest in multiple digital omnichannel tools as well as their online counterparts since digitally promoting ‘in-store visits’ has been proven to increase foot traffic into stores.

It’s becoming more and more apparent Business to Consumer (B2C) companies must consider an omnichannel marketing strategy but one significant factor in their marketing strategies often overlooked is logistics.  “You can’t have marketing without logistics,” says Jim Pettinger, president of UCanTrade, Inc.

Recall that at the center of any omnichannel approach is the consumer.  Retailers (physical &/or online) need to plan for a ‘seamless consumer experience’.  They need to ensure an easy shopping experience – products are easily found, ordering & payment transactions are simple and smooth; the consumer receives what they ordered intact, quickly and can return it just as easily if they change their mind.

Companies using off-shore manufacturers need to plan cost-effective, customer centric product and packaging designs.  In a time where consumer expectations are high, ecommerce is exploding and dimensional shipping is the norm, partnering with an expert in international shipping and handling can be invaluable. (Related article:  E-Commerce returns – Tips to reduce costs)
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: http://omnichannel.me/what-is-omnichannel/http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-omnichannel-consumers-are-more-valuable-2017-1)

E-Commerce Returns – Tips to reduce costs

UPS reports high volumes of ‘holiday returns’ following 2016’s ‘unprecedented volume of online sales’.  E-Commerce returns present new challenges for sellers but in particular for Canadian e-commerce companies selling to U.S. consumers.

Even for U.S. e-commerce retailers it’s a struggle to find balance between often unanticipated reverse logistics costs and satisfying their customers’ high expectations for ‘an easy shopping experience.’  It’s especially difficult for Canadian exporters.  Canadians benefit by having a return address IN the USA – near the border, rather than discourage possible sales with a Canadian return address. (Related article: Return to Sender)

While each return is unique, some suggest including a pre-addressed, self-adhering ‘return label’ with each original shipment for easy return to your U.S. address with a suggestion to reuse the original packaging.  Recycling the original shipping box w/packing materials for reverse logistics purposes can reduce damage and shipping costs since most carriers ‘charge by dimensional weight standards’ (Related article: UPS / Fed-Ex Switch to Dimensional Weight).

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(source)

Order Returns – Cause and Effect

Attributed to the overwhelming increase in e-commerce holiday orders, UPS has hailed January 5th ‘National Returns Day’ because of the volume of product returns it manages during the first week of January – in particular on the 5th.

Ecommerce is on the rise and it’s not only putting increased pressure on shipping couriers like FedEx and UPS but the entire supply chain (Related Article: A Logistics Revolution). While business increases all parties struggle to adapt to the demand. In order to ‘stay ahead of the curve’ both shipping giants have partnered with specialized companies, like UCanTrade, Inc., to better control the costs and challenges presented by “reverse logistics”.

Further, their specialized third party logistics (3PL) partners work closely with retailers/e-tailers to establish (among other things) an effective return policy to best maximize their profits. “[An] easy-to-use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” said UPS chief marketing officer Teresa Finley.

This is especially true for Canadian (e-commerce) companies exporting their goods to the U.S. and selling to American consumers; notorious for their high customer service expectations. An effective return policy can give exporters a competitive advantage not only with other Canadian businesses but also with US retailers as well. (Related Article: Return to Sender – What’s Your Policy?)

Consider your supply chain, the cause and effect of returns and then manage it in both directions – there AND back.

UCanTrade, Inc. is a boutique, third-party logistics and warehousing services provider situated 15 minutes south of the B.C. / Washington State, Blaine border crossings. Proudly providing business and logistics services to Canadian importers and exporters, since 1984.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source Article)

New Research Provides Dramatic Views of the US Market

Many Canadian and other foreign companies are intimidated by the sheer size and scope of the U.S. market. In most cases, companies simply cannot afford to target the entire market. Often, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” when planning the worth of either traveling or shipping to different areas of the country.

A recent article by National Geographic describes brilliant new research published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The authors present data on U.S. “megaregions” based on their analysis of census data on over 4 million commutes of American workers. One amazing graphic is presented below; several others can be found on the two websites linked earlier in this paragraph.

U.S. Megaregions
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

A Logistics Revolution?

U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official beginning of America’s holiday shopping season and with it comes what we in supply chain management refer to as reverse logistics – better known as returns!

Based on data from the U.S. Commerce Department, online sales represent 11% of 2016 retail sales and are expected to increase by 20% more over the next 5 years.  Exacerbated by the increase in online demand, order fulfillment centers are being forced to rethink their ‘efulfillment’ procedures – how to meet online consumer demand as well as how they handle reverse logistics / returns, reports Supply Chain Digest.  Retail chains Macy’s and JC Penny reportedly both had ‘major store closures’ during 2016 due to merchandise handling issues.

One FedEx representative, Jonathan Radar says, “Ecommerce is standing [the Logistics] industry on its ear” due to high consumer expectations – “I want it here, I want it there, and I want it now.”  Voxware, a service provider of cloud based solutions for distribution operators, conducted a survey supporting this statement.  Voxware’s president Keith Phillips claims their survey revealed “online shoppers, especially during the four days surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, place the same if not higher demands on distribution operations for fast and accurate delivery as during any other time of the holiday season.”

Large fulfillment companies are challenged to meet this demand.  “There is the emerging trend of small urban warehouses,” says Radar, “developed to speed local deliveries now often made in just a matter of hours.”  The returns issue and how to handle it though remains ever evolving.  (Related article: “Return to Sender” – What’s Your Policy?).

Smaller third party logistics partners (3PL) like UCanTrade, Inc. can bridge the gap between etailer and consumer by providing the hands-on attention to detail required to insure order accuracy and timely deliveries while also handling returns, repairs, or re-stocking issues.  (Related Article: Six Eyes On Every Box). They’re better equipped to fulfill the order supply chain ‘from the consumer back’.

Learn more about UCanTrade, Inc.’s U.S.A. Business and Logistics Services – visit our Website, subscribe to our Newsletter for latest trade news and events and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source Article Links: Early Shoppers have higher fulfillment expectations and MHI Conference Panel Recap – Focus on Supply Chain and Consumer)

 

‘The Beat Goes On’

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

sonnyandcherRecent reports about the continuing slow Canadian economy and increased consumer optimism in the United States lead to one simple conclusion – the beat still goes on for Canadian exporters and traders wishing to earn extra valuable greenbacks. With the U.S. Christmas selling season now starting on Labor Day, there is no time to waste. According to www.xmasclock.com you have roughly 100 days to still cash in. (Sonny and Cher – The Beat Goes On – circa 1967)

Link: Canada Economic Forecast
Link: US consumer confidence in August highest in 11 months
Link: U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Jumps To Post-Recession High

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Optimize For Customers. Optimize Your Business.

So much more than business analysis or software upgrades, optimizing your business means taking a global approach to reviewing the processes required to satisfy your customers’ needs.

By definition, to optimize, is to make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource).  “It is not something only for the big companies,” says Casian Glavce, General Manager at Hewitt Material Handling, “if you do not optimize, you’re not going to be in business.”  This is particularly true for small and medium exporters where the supply chain process is very involved and oversights can cripple a business.

Packaging optimization for example, which is often overlooked, can significantly impact a company’s transportation costs which ultimately impacts pricing, one of the most important decisions a business owner has to make.  Inefficient order fulfillment can also be costly.

UCT Ops Mgr, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

UCanTrade’s Operations Manager, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

JR White, director, solutions engineering at KNAPP explains, “With the ecommerce orders … items can’t just be dumped into a shipping carton willy-nilly. There is a logical order to the packing that prevents damage and ensures the order arrives neatly presented to the customer. In other words, the shoes are not on top of the shirts.  That’s the first thing the customer sees and if you screw that up they’re not going to like it. They’re going to complain about it online and then ten other people aren’t going to shop here—all because of one missed order.” Accurate, considerate order fulfillment dramatically impact a company’s sales and market sustainability.

Through an ‘export lens’, trade experts and government organizations can provide invaluable assistance to help you outline your ‘best, most effective’ plan, to both optimize for your customer’s needs while simultaneously optimizing your business goals and returns on investments.

Interested in doing business in the United States?  Learn more at our upcoming seminar, October 19, 2016 in Richmond, B.C. Canada.  (Click HERE for more information.)

(Related: Six Eyes On Every BoxHow Much Should I Charge My U.S. Customers? )

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source article)

UberRUSH expanding options for courier delivery

By: Jim Pettinger, President and CEO at UCanTrade, Inc.

Along with Amazon, Google and others, Uber has entered the market to provide low-cost local delivery service.  According to its website, “When you tap into the UberRUSH network, you pay only for the deliveries you make.  Nothing more.  And because couriers don’t need to make round trips, you can actually expand your delivery zone.”  Although possibly making UPS and FedEx a little nervous, like ride-hailing, the more likely outcome will be an overall increase in the volume of users and uses.  Additional info can be found in this article published by The Verge.

Subscribe to our TradeTips newsletter HERE and stay current on upcoming BC / WA Trade Events and Cross-Border News.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

You Can Trade! We Want To Help.

At UCanTrade, Inc., we exist to help Canadian companies market and distribute their goods and services profitably to the U.S.A.  We aim to assist them in removing any ‘border barriers’ and to provide them with a low cost, fully equipped and fully staffed extension of their Canadian office on the American side of the border.

U.S. based third-party logistics (3PL) service providers, like UCanTrade, Inc., offer Canadian exporters many benefits. Here’s a list of our ‘Top Ten’:

  1. Reduce Operating Costs: Our shared resources can save you as much as 80% of the cost of setting up an independent office.
  2. Increase Marketing Productivity: By delegating the “back-end” of their business to UCanTrade, our clients increase their USA marketing productivity by up to 20% or more.
  3. Improve Prospect Response: A U.S. office will increase sales response, enhance your credibility, and generate confidence.
  4. Increase Sales: By responding to orders and inquiries from your U.S. office you can reduce response time, significantly increasing your selling effectiveness.
  5. Save Time: We know who you have to talk to, what you have to do, what steps you must take to do business in the U.S. We can save you many hours of legwork.
  6. Fast, Easy Startup: With UCanTrade, you literally have an instant office and staff in the U.S., so you can begin operations immediately.
  7. Maintain Control: Our offices are 15 minutes from the border, allowing you to stay in close contact and maintain tight control over U.S. operations.
  8. Minimize Taxes: U.S. federal and state taxes may be avoided or reduced by contracting with UCanTrade instead of establishing an independent office.
  9. Reduce Effect of Exchange Rates: Lower cost U.S. services can be paid with dollars generated by U.S. sales, thus eliminating the exchange rate penalty.
  10. Learn From Others Dealing with Same Problems: UCanTrade has established a community of Canadian entrepreneurs, allowing you to benefit from the experience of others.

Learn how Canadians can earn US dollars (USD) as ‘non-resident importers’ and find additional helpful articles about expanding a business into the U.S.A. here: http://ucantrade.com/articles

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade