Each week, we publish a mishmash of ecommerce related, insight infused articles for you to smash through. Just as we collect business information across all of a merchant’s channels in a single place, we’re doing the same for ecommerce related content from a variety of top tier content creators. If you find the material filling your appetite for knowledge, feel free to share this post, as well as any article you see here.

This week, we’re focusing on fulfillment. It’s an area of concern for many merchants, especially during this time of the year. Not only have shipping costs begun to creep up across all carriers, the early part of the new year is packed with return orders from the holiday season. But as the ecommerce market continues changing, we can promise that there will always be something relevant for you in our mishmashes. Today is no exception, with topics ranging from the psychology of returns policies to sourcing vendors.

The Annual Return of the Returns Season

After the holidays are said and done, some orders are destined to flock back to the merchant that sent them away. And as an increasing amount of orders are made online, more returns are inevitable. Usually, it’s recommended that merchants whip up a returns policy to combat the issue, but are they effective? The Washington Post has some interesting insight into the psychology of how a returns policy impacts shoppers’ tendency to return. Although a specific, tightly bound returns policy seems preferable, that’s not necessarily the case.

Uberizing Isn’t So Easy

A while back, we talked about how “uberizing” is one of the next fronts of fulfillment. It’s certainly picking up steam, with both Uber and Amazon fiddling with the idea of on-demand fulfillment. But it comes at a cost. Already, Amazon’s Prime Now delivery service is facing a flurry of labor issues. Employment law is one of the critical hurdles facing the uberization of fulfillment, and whether it can surpass it to become an established form of fulfillment is something to keep an eye on.

Getting the Drop on Dropshippers 

Dropshipping is an abundantly attractive fulfillment model to many retailers, but going about selecting a dropshipper that carries specific products tends to be difficult. Internet Retailer reports that Shop.com, using SPS Commerce’s service, called Sourcing, was able to add around 100,000 products from 40 different vendors to its ecommerce marketplace. With comparisons to LinkedIn, Sourcing aims to reduce both the vendors’ hunt for retailers, and the retailers’ hunt to find specific products offered by vendors.

Marginalized Margins

With the recent jump in shipping costs by all major carriers, whether it’s USPS, UPS or Fedex, many merchants are feeling their margins get squeezed. Low cost shipping options are just one major challenge facing online retailers this year, and eCommerceBytes has a few more online selling trends of 2016 that you may want to take note of, including the ever-growing importance of utilizing Amazon as a sales channel.


Image: Jarkko Laine, Flickr