Delivery in the World's Largest Market: How Local Fulfillment Works at a US Logistics Operator
April 11, 2023 Meest America
The global e-commerce market continues to grow. Despite the partial slowdown in the pace of development after the record "COVID years", the industry is showing promising results: according to Euromonitor, in the next five years, the volume of online sales is set to increase by about 40% in the world’s largest markets.
In this industry, the USA is one of the leading markets. In this country, online sales grew by over 14% in 2021, according to the US Department of Commerce. The United States is traditionally one of the most developed, and thus one of the most coveted places to sell products, especially when it comes to e-commerce.
Delivery and customer interaction is always a challenge
At the same time, entering markets, such as the US requires considerable expertise and time. In this case, companies have two options. The first option is to operate through the parent company in the main market and deliver to a certain country independently. In this case, the business takes over all the work related to order fulfillment: actual delivery, tracking the inventory of products, customer interaction and support, as well as legal compliance.
This is a big challenge. According to Verifone, more than 20% of businesses are encountering difficulties with global trade, and another 15% struggles with legal compliance issues.
Many problems can arise with transportation. Companies - often a small or medium-sized businesses - need to find a carrier meeting their conditions, draft and conclude a contract, ensure a stable place to store products in the destination market, and also somehow keep track of their inventories.
Besides, interacting with customers may also lead to a number of challenges. Businesses are forced to communicate with consumers remotely, often in a different language, and resolve issues—such as product returns—according to the rules of local jurisdictions.
The second option that companies often opt for, while engaging in global trade is local fulfillment, in particular, contracting a logistics operator. This is an outsourcing tool that takes over all the work of delivering products to a certain market.
Since 2022, Meest has been operating this service for the US market with Meest Fulfillment. It helps businesses ship goods from anywhere in the world to the US, and then to the end consumer.
Here is how the platform works. A company sends its products to Meest fulfillment center in the US, and from there, at the client's request, Meest sends them to the customers, independently performing the last mile delivery to the doorstep. Also Meest can provide customs clearance for goods, entering the US market, providing a variety of brokerage services. Thanks to this, the business doesn’t need to open its own representative offices or logistics facilities in the US market - all the warehousing and transportation work will be performed by the Meest local team.
Logistics-wise, this tool covers the entire logistics chain: carrying the goods to the fulfillment center, their acceptance, labeling, sorting, accounting, storage, packaging and subsequent last mile delivery. A good logistics operator has all the required expertise in these matters, making outsourcing these processes a very rational solution.
Meest works with both direct-to-consumer companies and companies that sell goods via popular marketplaces, as part of its fulfillment services: Amazon, Shopify, Ebay and Etsy. Meest works with the largest carriers UPS, FedEx and USPS to deliver orders to customers. This gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of volume discounts, which in most cases are 30-40% lower than flat carrier prices.
In addition, Meest covers the process of handling returns from buyers end-to-end. For the American consumer, returns service is very important, as it helps to address product issues and ensure shopping satisfaction. It also increases brand trust and creates a sense of security when shopping online. According to Narvar, about 50% of shoppers use the return service, and at least half of shoppers check to see if the return service exists.
Meest Fulfillment is an online service. As per Freightwalla data, more than 80% of small and medium-sized companies believe that digitalization will change logistics for the better. To sign up for the service, companies need to create an account on Meest website, sign a contract, specify product information in their personal account — and send it directly to the US Meest distribution center. At the same time, all data on the status of the product and its further shipment can be tracked online using the same online dashboard.
Meest sets no restrictions on the minimum quantity or weight of the product. In addition, the company offers a 30-day trial period and free storage of products in the warehouse and variety of perks for new customers. You can cancel the Fulfillment service at any time without incurring additional costs.
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