Cross-border ecommerce in goods is surging, with McKinsey & Company predicting it may expand to around $1 trillion in merchandise value by 2030, from its current value of approximately $300 billion.

As discussed in our recent blog on international ecommerce trends, global retailers and manufacturers are using cross-border ecommerce to expand into the US, open non-native markets, and build resilient international omnichannel fulfilment.  

Seizing the cross-border opportunity 

Moving goods through the international ecommerce supply chain involves disparate processes, partners, and systems. It includes first-mile pickup, labeling and consolidation at origin, and customs clearance, deconsolidation and final-mile delivery at destination.

As a result, inefficiencies, errors, and lack of visibility lead to delivery delays that cost customers, additional handling that erode margins, and avoidable exceptions and infringements that put orders, or entire shipments at risk.  

Seamless and efficient cross-border ecommerce requires all functions and partners to have visibility, accessibility, and processability of the order, regardless of whether they are the shipper, working in the origin country, or the destination country. Additionally, a key step for successful shipments is pre-screening and validating orders to identify and resolve issues before jeopardizing the order.   

How to efficiently manage each part of the cross-border ecommerce supply chain with technology

As an ecommerce order moves through each step of the international supply chain, efficiencies, automations, and productivity enhancements can help Freight Forwarders, who should consider these seven steps- from first-mile pickup to final-mile delivery.

First-mile pickup: System integrations automatically create the order and make details readily available, triggering pickup and initiating processing, eliminating the need for time-consuming and error-prone manual entry.  

Data validation and pre-screening: Flexible screening configurations let users set up rules for terms and conditions they know will cause exceptions down the road, including de minimis value, denied party, and product descriptions. These alert users of problematic data that can then be actioned appropriately, and over time, a glossary of terms and conditions is built for issues that would halt shipments in their tracks if unchecked.  

Labeling at origin: Automating the final-mile delivery labels through a ‘scan, book, and print’ conveyor belt process not only saves time in the origin country, but will reduce handling in the destination country. Accessing enterprise multi-carrier parcel management in the process can instantaneously make the most cost-effective final-mile transportation decision.  

Consolidation: Combining multiple customers’ freight into shipments going to the same destination can decrease costs and increase per container profitability. For example, a Freight Forwarder may receive manifests from three different customers, each containing consignments to the same three countries. Instead of sending the consignments in nine containers, they can be consolidated into three containers, one per destination country. Thereby, they fill out each container and reduce the number of container minimum charges.  

Customs clearance: Clearing hundreds or thousands of shipments individually is time-consuming and processing intense. Having the ability to submit many declarations and filings at once, even from different customers, is critical for the high volume, low-value orders of international ecommerce. What's more, in the event an order is flagged for an infringement, it is important to have configurable search capabilities to locate the order and quickly handle the exception.  

Deconsolidation: When the container arrives in the destination country, it is important to carefully manage the parcels and packages in the warehouse, logging events for every step and ensuring real-time visibility. This includes handling 'customs cleared' and 'held' packages appropriately.   

Final-mile delivery: Since the packages are labelled in the origin country, they are quickly injected into the parcel network. Often origin country labor costs are less expensive than in destination countries.  Delivery events from the final-mile carrier are tracked back in real-time, including delivery confirmation.  

Want faster, safer, and more reliable cross-border ecommerce fulfilment?

Looking to digitally handle all fillings and clearances into the US, process cross-border ecommerce order fulfilment alongside larger shipments, and maximize shipment density? CargoWise International Ecommerce can help you efficiently manage the entire international ecommerce supply chain from origin country shipper to consumer’s doorstep in the destination country.

Visit the solutions page to learn more and request a cross-border ecommerce consultation.

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