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No more black box fulfillment – how data makes processes in e-commerce transparent



Bielefeld, August 6, 2020 – Dates: They are the key to e-commerce. The small information units help to understand, analyze and, above all, optimize processes. But what data is actually being collected? How can you evaluate this data, what information can be generated from it? What are the benefits of online shop operators from this data? And what about data security? Our e-commerce specialist Thomas Finke has the answers. Read more about this in this interview.


A lot of data is collected on a normal working day in the world of e-commerce fulfillment. What data is this?

In short, it is data that make processes understandable and give you the opportunity to optimize them. How much time do we as a service provider need to process the goods receipt and when is the goods available in the shop? What is the average throughput time of an order – i.e. the time that we as a service provider need to send an order to our system as soon as it is submitted? Or until what time are orders handed over to the parcel service providers on the same day – the so-called cut-off time? This data gives the online retailer transparency about the availability of products and the service level with which their customers are supplied. These are sometimes very important for sales on the marketplaces. Data is also collected for returns, which help us and the shop operators to know the processing rates and reasons for returns. Such key figures are important in order to visualize the efficiency of the fulfillment processes, which are then also presented in the form of buyer evaluations.

Collecting data is one thing. But how does information come from it and how is this information passed on to the customer?

We can derive important recommendations for action from data. An example: We notice that a large number of shipments come back without the recipient having received them. It is now possible to cancel the order and hope that the customer orders again. Or you can have each case individually processed by customer service contacting the end customer. However, the cause is poor address quality, which can certainly be improved by upstream address validation. Alternatively, the dealer can give the customer the opportunity to correct the address independently afterwards. Which dealer doesn’t know this: Customer support has to process hundreds of customer emails on Monday because there is a small typing error in the delivery address. This turns data into information, and information into scope for action. We provide the data to our customers via a live dashboard or individual reporting that transparently provides all relevant key figures. Here the customer can also see how many orders B + S has already processed or how many orders and picks are still open. Our aim as a fulfillment service provider is to analyze the data with our customers and jointly uncover optimization potential.

Processes are therefore optimized on a database basis. What other benefits do shop operators have from the information provided by B + S?

In addition to process optimization and transparency, shop optimization also plays a role. For example, how can I improve my customer journey and increase reseller rates? As a dealer, if I have my logistical processes under control and know my service level, then of course that has a big impact. In general, it can be said that transparency within logistics is extremely important for the shop owner. Of course, this affects not only fulfillment, but also parcel delivery. It is therefore crucial to think and act along the entire process chain. This not only simplifies processes, but also ensures customer satisfaction.

The word data security also falls in almost the same breath with data. How is this guaranteed?

Everyone who orders in an online shop agrees at one point that data for processing the order may be passed on to third parties. Of course, this only includes data that are necessary to process the order and only to those parties that are required to process the orders. This contract specifies exactly what happens to the data, which technical and organizational measures have been taken to ensure the maximum security of the data and when, for example, the data must be deleted. Such contracts are of course not only between end customers and dealers, but also between dealers and logistics service providers as well as between logistics service providers and parcel service providers. Because it is our primary goal to process the data entrusted to us securely and confidentially.