Introduction to Logistics Software for eCommerce
The logistics industry has steadily built its way up over the past half-century. What was once a few distribution centres in the 1980s is now a well-connected widely distributed systematic market. This market is solely for sending couriers and delivering orders. At the centre of this development stands shipping companies, courier partners and third-party logistics companies. With the onset of e-commerce in the 21st century, these companies made rapid changes to handle the increasing delivery demands. And to handle these myriads of changes, eCommerce service providers turned to logistics software.
What is Logistics Software?
Logistics, as we see it today, functions in a much more streamlined way. That is in large part due to logistics software. Logistics software uses tech-enabled features to provide more efficient logistics solutions like speedy delivery and real-time automated order tracking. These software can help with inventory management, carrier selection, order management across multiple carriers, data analytics, among many other things.
They can improve the functionality of existing delivery mechanisms. They also provide insight into which areas require more attention and improvement initiatives. Logistics software enables both the logistics industry and the eCommerce industry to grow side-by-side as more and more customers choose the online shopping experience.
Top 10 Best Logistics Software for eCommerce Businesses [2021 Updated List]
Logistics Software can come in a variety of shapes and sizes (not literally, of course). Some logistics software focuses on inventory management solutions. Others may provide overall logistics solutions. This includes everything from AI-driven courier recommendation engines to automated NDR management protocols.
All over the globe, eCommerce businesses are using the best logistics software to revolutionize the online shopping experience. Over 100 million of our country’s residents now prefer to make their purchases online. It's up to the logistics industry to keep up with their demands. To give you a better understanding of how logistics software works, here are the 10 best logistics software in the world.
Aftership is a Hong Kong-based logistics software company that was founded in 2011. It operates all across the world and is utilised by 10,000+ eCommerce retailers globally. The major service provided by this logistics software is automated shipment and order tracking.
1.1) Aftership makes use of a package tracking API integration system. It offers integration with 600+ logistics partners.
1.2) It also enables integration with the leading online storefronts like Shopify, Magento, OpenCart and SquareSpace. You can also integrate with virtual marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
1.3) The status of all orders can be tracked and managed from a dashboard provided by this logistics software.
1.4) Automatic emails and notifications are sent to customers when needed. These are typically regarding order status updates and other related information and use courier API integrations.
1.5) These order tracking updates are also made visible to customers via a branded tracking page.
Pros: With Aftership, both implementations of the software and integration with logistics partners is made easier and more efficient.
Cons: Aftership’s order tracking software is most effective with SMBs (small and medium businesses) and can be delayed in the case of larger order volumes. It also offers only minimal customer support services.
ClickPost is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company founded in 2015. ClickPost provides logistics software solutions both domestically and globally, primarily in India and the Middle East. This logistics intelligence platform uses tech to automate different shipping services.
2.1) ClickPost offers integrations with 120+ logistics companies in India and across the globe, like FedEx, DHL, and Blue Dart.
2.2) It uses Tracking API Integrations to provide real-time tracking updates automatically to customers via a branded tracking page.
2.3) Integrations with different communication gateways send notifications on behalf of businesses to their customers. These notifications are sent through multiple channels, i.e., SMS, Whatsapp, Email and IVRS.
2.4) It also provides eCommerce businesses with single API integration for order manifestation. This API works with the respective API integrations for order creation, waybill generation, shipping label creation, and assignment of the delivery agent.
2.5) As a multi-carrier shipping system, all orders can be tracked and managed through a single dashboard.
2.6) It offers a specialized NDR management workflow. This flow automatically reaches out to customers with issue-specific queries when notified of failed deliveries.
2.7) All courier companies' performance data is viewable on the dashboard. This enables improvement initiatives that can be carried out regularly.
Pros: ClickPost offers a wider range of features and logistics solutions to optimize delivery mechanisms and maximize order fulfillment. This includes an NDR workflow, returns management system and many others.
Cons: ClickPost is most equipped to handle logistics for large enterprises with high order volumes. Only a limited number of SMBs are served by ClickPost.
FarEye was founded in 2009 and operates in 30+ countries across the world. It is a leading supply chain management and logistics software. This software is available to eCommerce businesses the world over. It provides a low-code/no-code delivery intelligence and management platform to optimize shipment speeds.
3.1) FarEye makes use of plug-and-play integrations, AI-driven engines, and other tech-based solutions. This creates what they describe as more personalized delivery experiences for customers.
3.2) The software also acts as a data aggregator. It tracks and monitors orders and last-mile delivery operations to allow enhancements to be made quicker.
3.3) Its transportation visibility software enables easier orchestration of deliveries and route optimization. It also allows the most accurate ETA information to be passed on to customers.
3.4) Smart devices are provided to delivery agents to enable them to give customers real-time tracking updates.
Pros: FarEye is an easy-to-use platform that is known for offering good support during integration and implementation.
Cons: The process of implementation of FarEye is somewhat long and complex. There are also numerous limitations on the features and their functionality.
Founded in 2014, California-based logistics company Loginext works to provide secure and automated logistics services through its state-of-the-art logistics management software. It offers end-to-end logistics and shipping solutions through a comprehensive dashboard.
4.1) Loginext’s dashboard enables both in-depth analytics to be performed alongside other major functions.
4.2) These include route planning and optimization, and order visibility. Order visibility involves tracking shipment capacities and order volumes.
4.3) Another automated function is receipt of real-time E-Proof-of-Delivery in the form of the customer’s e-signature.
4.4) Its fleet management system collects historical data of transportation systems. It can also monitor driver behavior, the efficiency of fuel utilization and other vehicle-specific metrics.
4.5) It enables on-demand and scheduled deliveries to be performed with ease. This includes scheduling pickup for returns and route optimization for return journeys.
Pros: Loginext Mile, its main service, is known for an efficient tracking system as well as returns management.
Cons: Only certain last mile delivery services are provided, resulting in delayed response times. Implementation can be difficult based on the systems being integrated with.
Veeqo is a logistics company based out of the UK that was founded in 2013 by a team with a massive amount of experience handling logistics for retail companies. Their intention behind creating this logistics software was to optimise logistics. Utilising technology, they seek to solve the major issues faced by the retail industry. They specifically target issues in inventory and supply chain management.
5.1) Veeqo provides integrations with numerous selling channels and storefronts like Shopify and Magento as well as with virtual marketplaces like ebay and Amazon. This enables e-commerce businesses to manage their inventory across multiple platforms where customers can place orders.
5.2) The software ensures that inventory accounts and bookkeeping are synchronised across all above-mentioned channels and platforms. The main goal is to ensure that every order placed has the necessary stock available to be fulfilled. This should be regardless of the platform used by the eCommerce business.
5.3) This software enables them to make regular stock appraisals. It also provides data on inventory forecasting so businesses are informed as soon as stocks run low or run out.
5.4) In addition to inventory management, Veeqo also provides a platform for viewing all orders across multiple logistics partners on a single platform.
Pros: Veeqo is known for enabling more efficient communication between systems. It also allows ecommerce businesses to control stock supply to different storage locations and stores.
Cons: In order to manage inventory across multiple vendors, each vendor must be individually integrated with. Larger stocks require a more complex implementation and integration process.
Parcellab is a logistics software platform that was founded in 2014 in Munich, Germany and has been operational since 2015. Today it is among the largest logistics software in Europe. It serves 500+ clients that are major brands like Bose and Nespresso by focusing on operations experience management to improve brand interactions.
6.1) With the ParcelLab software, eCommerce service providers are given access to courier integrations and storefront integrations.
This enables customers to engage with your brand with ease and access a branded “Order Status” page from your website.
6.2) The software is also enabled to send regular order tracking updates to customers via email notifications.
6.3) ParcelLab’s software focuses on the operations experience provided by every e-commerce business.
6.4) It uses delivery data and analytics to enhance the customer experience and improve brand loyalty. This is done through brand-based customizations and personalized communications to customers.
Pros: Both implementation and onboarding of ParcelLab are simplified processes. Good support services are also made available.
Cons: Large businesses will find it difficult to manage orders with ParcelLab as a limited range of features are made available.
Shippo was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in San Francisco. While Shippo is primarily operational in the US, it also offers streamlined logistics services for international shipments. This logistics software offers order tracking services in addition to regional, national, international delivery.
7.1) Shippo offers eCommerce solutions access to 60+ logistics, multiple selling channels like BigCommerce and Shopify, multi-channel order management systems like FreeStyle Solutions, and financial management services like Square.
7.2)It also helps to simplify documentation and customs clearance for imports and exports.
7.3) Shippo streamlines and automates previously complex manual tasks like shipping label creation and printing, packing slip creation and printing and order processing.
7.4) Its main purpose is to provide a single point of reference for tracking orders as well as to send automated order tracking updates to customers.
Pros: Shippo carries out regular validation checks to ensure minimum error in the delivery. It has a user-friendly interface and comes with sufficient support services.
Cons: Shippo is less equipped to handle large volumes of orders as it offers fewer features and specialised services to address delivery issues.
Freightpop began its journey into the world of logistics in 2015, with its base of operations being established in California. Today, FreightPop holds reign as one of the largest transportation management and logistics software companies in the world. It enables eCommerce businesses to manage their warehousing operations and storage solutions.
8.1) FreightPop provides integration with 300+ logistics companies which enable both international and regional deliveries to be carried out.
8.2) This platform also allows eCommerce companies to integrate with WMS (warehouse management systems) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems.
8.3) Through FreightPop’s platform, eCommerce enterprises can gain access to simplified shipping rates.
8.4) This software offers options for freight planning and freight auditing to enable better inventory management.
8.5) Freightpop also helps businesses to track orders and push order statuses to customers.
Pros: The biggest benefit of FreightPop is that e-commerce businesses that are not partnered with any WMS or ERP can still avail of these logistics services.
Cons: Because of the limited technical bandwidth of FreightPop, integration and implementation with large businesses can be slow.
In 2016, two former MIT students started logistics software to improve supply chain management for eCommerce service providers. This software, called ShipWell, works to enable communication between e-commerce partners and logistics companies.
9.1) Shipwell’s platform gives e-commerce companies access to Shipwell’s TMS (Track management system), with ELD-enabled (electronic logging device) carriers.
9.2) Visibility to customers is improved through automated communication of tracking updates and delivery exceptions.
9.3) The platform also enables rule-based determination and connection with logistics partners.
9.4) This platform also automates order processing, route optimisation and identification of delivery exceptions.
9.5) A load-board proprietary matching algorithm is made available to simplify the process of carrier selection.
Pros: Shipwell offers ease through all stages of implementation and onboarding. It is also easy to navigate the platform.
Cons: Shipwell only offers a specified range of features that do not allow delivery defects to be immediately addressed.
ShipStation was first established in Austin, Texas in 2011. It is an internationally operational logistics software company that enables automated order processing and order tracking. This platform can handle order volumes ranging from 50 to 10,000 orders per month. It is utilized by top-rated eCommerce brands across North America, Europe and Asia.
10.1) Shipstation is integrated with 50+ logistics companies in addition to online selling channels like Shopify and Squarespace.
10.2) The platform also offers other software integrations like with accounting channel QuickBooks and numerous ERP systems.
10.3) Shipstation also enables eCommerce service providers to customize various processes in delivery service, like shipping labels and packaging.
10.4) Inventory management is made simpler through regular stock reporting and data analytics.
Pros: ShipStation offers easy integration with a wide range of systems and logistics partners. The platform is also simple and easy to use.
Cons: ShipStation offers features that are most suited for small and medium enterprises. It does not enable the identification of delivery exceptions and enhancing the delivery experience.
How to Choose the Best Logistics Software for Your eCommerce Business?
It’s important to remember the vital role that logistics software plays in optimizing delivery mechanisms. eCommerce logistics service providers are given a massive leg up depending on the logistics software they choose. However, deciding which logistics software can impact the success of your business is a comprehensive process. It requires a detailed understanding of your business operations as well as dedicated research into different logistics software, like those listed above. With this information, you will be equipped to review these important criteria.
The various logistics software typically have different areas within which they are operational. Depending on their primary areas of operation, the efficiency of the solutions they provide may be varied. You would accordingly need logistics software that exhaustively covers the entire region and locations your eCommerce company provides services in.
The area within which your business operates can also affect or be affected by the logistics companies you choose to tie up with. In order to enable truly efficient tracking and logistics management, the logistics software you integrate into your delivery mechanism should be tied with the appropriate logistics companies.
Every eCommerce company has one overarching goal to meet, and that goal is to maintain profitability. Accordingly, you would need to ensure that your logistics software efficiently optimized delivery operations. This means actively reducing losses and enhancing customer delivery in a manner that covers the cost of the software.
A big part of determining whether or not a logistics software is worth its cost depends on the features and products provided by the software. The ideal logistics software would be one with the widest range of logistics solutions available in the area business operates, based on market trends.
The effectiveness of the different features provided by various logistics software is dependent on the technological advancements used by it. A good logistics software is one that is constantly updated not only on the latest business trends but also the latest technology trends. They would accordingly offer greater efficiency in the services they provide.
A wide range of features may sound great, but they can prove to be ineffective if they do not address specific requirements of your business. So in addition to profit margins, logistics partners and area of operation, you would also need to understand exactly what your delivery mechanism is and what is needed to improve it.
7.Customer Support of the Logistics Software
At the end of the day, logistics software makes use of complex technologies that would be both costly and time-consuming to develop internally. Accordingly, a good logistics software company should be able to provide regular support when it comes to implementation, maintenance and upgrading integrations with the software.
Any and every eCommerce business has to rely on one or multiple logistics partners to carry out their main function, i.e., fulfilling customer orders. As your customer base grows and your business operations expand, you’ll find that different logistics partners offer different logistics solutions. While many of these solutions may come in handy, you’ll find yourself struggling to properly utilise them with a proper management system. This is where logistics software steps into the picture with tech-enabled answers to solve many of your problems.
Everything from the orchestration of the purchase to processing the order, handing it over to shipping partners, and final delivery can be managed and monitored through logistics software. Much like with differing logistics partners, different eCommerce logistics software and tools may offer a wide range of services. Others may focus on inventory management and supply chain optimization. It’s important to keep track of the size and trajectory of business growth. With this knowledge, the right logistics software can act as your launchpad while your business takes off for the moon.