Which Shipping Service Provider Best Represents My Interests?

You own a business and have much to consider when things really get rolling. Finally you are about to tackle the big question of which shipping service provider is the right one for your brand. More and more end customers attach importance to environmentally conscious shipping and returns shipping options. In addition, you also are looking to become more sustainable yourself and support projects that positively counteract our climate change. Accordingly, you are searching for a shipping service provider that supports your intentions. In fact, more and more CO2 is emitted through parcel shipping. Online trade is booming like never before. It is estimated that the shipping service sector causes about 20% of our emissions.

In the meantime, it is very difficult to keep track of shipping service providers, in which aspects they are sustainable and which advantages they bring along for your company and your clientele. To support you in your search, we have listed the points you should look out for when looking for sustainable shipping service providers. We’ll also give you a brief introduction to some of them so you can get a first impression.

What Are the Important Terms You Should Look out for?

One of the most important terms, which is also the most widespread, is the so-called “last mile”. The last mile is the last distance to be covered when shipping your goods, i.e. from the storage depot of the shipping service provider to the end customer. In fact, the last mile of shipping is where most CO2 emissions are produced. Due to frequent starts, short stops where the engine is left running and slow city traffic, more pollutants per package are emitted here than on the rest of the shipping route. To counteract this problem, more and more shipping service providers are working towards emission-free shipping in city centers. So-called microdepots/microhubs are being opened, from which cargo bikes or trikes then deliver the parcels. Freight bikes and trikes can be operated with electricity and muscle power and are therefore emission-free when using renewable energy sources! In addition, these vehicles are also practical for relieving road traffic, as they are only allowed to be driven on bicycle paths. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the infrastructure for this is well developed. They are also good for reducing noise for residents to a minimum. 

Other terms that might be relevant for you are CO2 reduction and CO2 compensation. There is a big difference between reducing and offsetting. CO2 compensation means that the company only invests in climate projects retrospectively and that the emissions have already been caused and are having an effect. It is merely an attempt to compensate for the climate-damaging effect. For example, investments are made in the cultivation of new forest landscapes, but trees need time to grow and be able to absorb CO2 again. In principle, it is very positive to support climate projects because it helps to regenerate our planet in the long term. Nevertheless, a shipping service provider should focus on both. After all, a CO2 reduction shows a direct change and no emissions and damage are caused in the first place! For every package that is delivered emission-free, we come closer to our climate goals and counteract global warming.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself in Order to Find the Most Sustainable Shipping Service Provider Possible

  1. Which companies optimize the last mile?
  2. Which companies support me in the best possible way in implementing zero-emission deliveries?
  3. Who handles my returns sustainably?
  4. Which companies have a sustainability certificate?
  5. Does the company support sustainable projects?

Shipping Service Providers in a Nutshell:

DHL GoGreen

Icon DHL

DHL is the largest shipping service provider in the world. Every parcel sent within the country is climate neutral. This is also possible in the EU and worldwide for a small surcharge. DHL pursues a dual strategy for its sustainability. They reduce and offset at the same time. Climate-damaging emissions are reduced during transport by increasing the use of e-bikes, e-trikes, e-Ivecos and their self-developed electric Streetscooters. In addition, a transfer to trains is being implemented for the long-distance transport of parcels. At the moment, airplanes and trucks are still primarily used, which is where the CO2 reduction comes in. For the harmful greenhouse gasses that are still unavoidable for the moment, Deutsche Post AG invests in certified climate protection projects. In addition, there is also the option of ordering one’s parcel to a Packstation, where the delivery person saves the additional journey to the customer and therefore also the resulting greenhouse gasses.

DHL has taken another step towards climate protection by constructing new depots and new buildings in general. Every building that is newly constructed becomes 100% environmentally friendly. The construction method has been optimized, building automation has been integrated and a photovoltaic system is being used. Older, already constructed buildings, on the other hand, are operated with 95% green electricity.

DPD 

DPD is also a good example of the dual strategy, whereby reduction is given greater priority than compensation at DPD. DPD actively promotes emission-free shipping in large cities. They are setting up micro depots with cargo bikes, gradually phasing out diesel and petrol vehicles and using e-transporters for this purpose and setting up DPD stores. The new DPD stores serve as a parcel shop (equivalent to a DHL Packstation); unlike other parcel shops, end consumers can unpack the goods here and try them on if necessary (changing rooms are available). In addition, cardboard packaging can be left on site as it will be used for another customer’s return (or your own if you don’t like the item). Last but not least, it also serves as a micro depot for cargo bikes. To compensate, DPD is committed to social projects and even employees sometimes donate portions of their salary.

The only disadvantage, which unfortunately is a hurdle for DPD’s sustainability, is the subcontractors or courier services that are hired. Usually smaller companies pay less attention to sustainability because it is too price-intensive. But measures are being undertaken to ensure that subcontractors are gradually provided with DPD vehicles.

FedEx

Logo FedExFedEx works according to a 3-pillar initiative for sustainability. The first pillar is called “innovative operations” and focuses on reducing emissions and waste. Outdated technologies are replaced by new ones. This encompasses mainly vehicles, revolutionizing packaging and FedEx facilities. The second pillar looks at driving development and research efforts. FedEx invested 100 million US dollars in the “Yale Center for Carbon Capture”, which focuses on climate change, biodiversity loss and the health of our planet. FedEx also works with BrightDrop to implement delivery using electric vehicles. BrightDrop is an American manufacturer of General Motors, which specializes in the production of delivery vehicles with electric drives. The last pillar deals with bringing sustainability closer to the customers as well. Online resources are available where anyone can find inspiration on how to act more sustainably, whether for the workplace or for the home, and save money at the same time.

Liefergrün

Liefergrün is a young start-up that was founded in 2020 focusing on the last mile. While they are a very young company, they are also very progressive. For one, they offer next-day delivery, which has been proven to increase your business repurchase rate by around 25% and increase the value of your basket by around 15%. They operate pick-up and delivery exclusively with electric vans and cargo bikes. Most of the time, deliveries are picked up by vans in the stores or from the logistics provider and brought to the microhubs. From there, the goods are transported to the consumers on bicycles. In addition, returns are picked up free of charge, which means that the end customer does not have to make the extra trip to the parcel shop. According to their estimation, you can save up to 50% of your CO2 footprint through Liefergrün.

Liefergrün is a location-based company and thus skips long-distance transport and stops at any distribution centers. They now operate in over 40 cities nationwide.

Conclusion

Of course, we have not listed all logistics service providers here and this blog entry is also intended to serve as a little inspiration for you. It is important that you yourself or your fulfillment partner, who hopefully also does CO2 reduction or compensation, does their own in-depth research and finds the optimal company for you.

At MOODJA, we are committed to sustainable logistics solutions and also work with many sustainable logistics providers. We always make sure to cooperate with shipping service providers who also actively support our sustainability goals and values. As your fulfillment partner, we are happy to advise you on which service provider supports sustainable projects, who optimizes the last mile best and who is closest to zero emission delivery. Together we support sustainability and optimize processes for the benefit of our environment.

Classic Collections vs Drops: What Suits My Brand?

2003: You are walking through the shopping malls on a beautiful summer day in the middle of August and you get a lot of bargains because the yearly summer sales are taking place. Every year around the same time, you browse your favorite shops and get your new favorite collection at a big discount.

2022: After the abolition of clearance sales in 2004, everything has changed, you constantly see shops with discount offers throughout the year. You can’t keep track of when your favorite shops are offering big discounts, when collections are coming out, and all of a sudden all the young people are talking about is new “drops”! You ask yourself what exactly this is supposed to be and what this new “trend” – as they say nowadays – is all about.

We explain to you what has changed over the years and what “drops” and new trends are all about!

Collections

Classic collections such as Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter are less common than they used to be. Haute Couture brands nevertheless still place a lot of emphasis on the classic versions. The reason for this is the fast Zeitgeist of our current age. Brands that want to stay true to the culture of collections are now launching pre-collections in spring and autumn. These collections serve as a basis for the whole year and now account for almost 40% of fashion companies total annual profit. Moreover, pre-collections are ready-to-wear. They are also less categorical than the main season collections. A new trend of collections is also that they are produced independently of the season or are replaced by drops.

Drops

Product Drops have been around since around 2018. They are the reaction to fast-paced times and our increasingly shortened attention spans. They are a new way for fashion brands to get the same attention from customers throughout the year. Today’s society constantly expects novelties and the desire for exclusivity is growing enormously. As drops are mainly promoted via social media, it drives the building of an engaged community for millennials and generation Z.
To this end, new marketing strategies were developed, namely working with influencers, who immediately present your novelties and spread news. This strategy is especially effective because consumers identify more with real people and their opinions than with advertisements, posters or other advertising media. 

Drops, however, only make sense for your brand if you also rely on social media and are present there. A new aspect among drop brands is collaborations with other well-known brands. Here, two popular companies together design sneakers, tracksuits and everything your heart desires. 

Drops and Sustainability

But can drops be sustainable? Companies that focus on sustainability usually tend to stick to the old traditional model of summer and winter collections. The reason for this is to preserve the image of these brands as “sensible”. They distance themselves from mass discounts, pre-season collections, drops and simply want to avoid excessive production of garments. They want to present themselves to their customers as authentic and environmentally conscious and thus stand out from the masses.

Changes Since 2004

Until 2004, the law regulated that shops always had to offer a sale in summer and winter. A fundamental difference since is that brands can now decide for themselves if and when they offer a price reduction. Disadvantage of this method, however, are that consumers no longer know exactly when which shop is holding a sale, whether it is the pre-season, the self-regulated summer and winter sales or other discount campaigns throughout the year. The only constant that remains from year to year is Cyber Week including Black Friday.

Black Friday always falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving and signals the start of the Christmas shopping season. During this week, and especially on Black Friday, almost every retailer offers big discounts. Consumers rush to shops to get long-awaited products much cheaper. However, apart from Black Friday and Cyber Week, confusion arises for most when it comes to discount promotions. Nowadays, you tend to discover by chance that there are sales here and there, but you can no longer predict them and thus plan for them sensibly. Even more confusing is the fact that some shops always have a sales sign hanging in the window. However, this does not necessarily mean that there are discounts, but is often used to attract customers and simply to show: “there is something to buy here”.

What Do All These Changes Mean for Your Fulfillment Partner?

Overall, with all these trends, it’s important to have a flexible fulfillment partner. Someone who can adapt to your plans and provide the capacity you need. Whether you’re launching a new unexpected drop or a pre-season collection, you need to be able to rely on your fulfillment partner to have enough storage space and staff for your new hanging or lying treasures. 

At MOODJA, we work hand-in-hand with you and adapt to your needs to keep your business moving forward. If you need a reliable partner and are not yet our client, feel free to contact us

Packaging Register – What Is It Good for and What’s New?

You know what it’s like… Your business is just starting up or rolling and you try to take into account all legal regulations. All licenses have to be applied for, as well as entries in many registers. One of these registries is the packaging register! But what exactly is it and what is it good for? That is in itself super simple. The German Central Packaging Register Office, which was founded in 2017, maintains a public register called LUCID. This register takes all your packaging data and automatically forwards it to all the important sites.

Wondering what this is used for and if you are affected? Then just read on and find out!

Why, When, How?!

You have to register as a company if you bring goods and/or filling material into circulation by mail order. This is independent of the size of your business, the turnover but also the type or quantity of packaging. As soon as your packaging ends up in the rubbish at any point in the supply chain, it must be licensed.

The Lucid Register ensures that retailers and manufacturers take financial responsibility and support sustainability. Any packaging that is registered will be recycled and reused, which should be in everyone’s interest for the sake of our environment. Indeed, this is one of the Registry’s primary objectives, to increase the rate of recycled packaging material. But you should also do it for the sake of your end consumer, as you will ensure that they can dispose of their packaging free of charge.

And if that doesn’t get them interested either, you should do it for your own sake and for the sake of your business. You ask yourself why? What could possibly happen? We will tell you: Quite a lot! If you’re lucky, you’ll only get a warning for committing an administrative offence. Otherwise you will face a fine of 200,000€ and in the worst case a sales ban. To easily avoid this potential damage, just click through and follow the simple steps, we’ll explain how here!

And This Is How It Works!

It really isn’t too ard. You will be guided through this process on every registration website, and everything will be explained step by step. Don’t worry, you can’t do much wrong.

First you have to register at the central registration office via the registry database LUCID. All the documents you need are listed there for you. At the end of the process you will receive a registration number, which you should keep safe.

In the second step, you have to license yourself with a dual system. You do this quite simply via a system partner, where you initially enter an estimate of the amount of packaging, including adhesive tape, filling material, etc. In the course of the year, you can submit the actual quantity. After you have entered the quantities, the costs incurred are immediately displayed. Registration itself is free of charge with any system partner and in the register. A dual system in addition to the district or city is primarily concerned with the collection, return and recycling of sales packaging.

Once the process is completed, at the beginning of each year you have to transmit the quantities of your packaging to your system partner, who then forwards it to the central office, thus the system ensures complete transparency.

Until now, there was no obligation to have transport packaging licensed, but this will change from 01.07.2022! From this date, you have to register all packaging that leaves your warehouse, regardless of who the recipient is. Another change is that if you work with a logistics service provider, they can no longer do your registration for you, but you are now responsible for it yourself as a brand. As of 1 July 2022, fulfillment service providers may only provide their fulfilment services if your company is registered in the packaging register and the packaging (shipping and, if applicable, product packaging) participates in a system.

If you have any questions regarding these topics, you can read everything in detail here in the FAQ’s.

 

Outsourcing to a Fulfillment Provider: 9 signs of Being Overwhelmed with Your Logistics

Before we get into the key points, we would like to add a disclaimer by acknowledging that outsourcing fulfillment is not for everyone. However, anyone working in e-commerce should research the facts and figures before making the decision to keep fulfillment in-house. Just because you can currently handle your order fulfillment in-house doesn’t mean it’s the smartest long-term solution! People often overestimate the cost and effort involved in using a fulfillment provider for small business shipping. Feel free to contact us for a non-binding offer!

1. Fulfillment Is a Distraction When Growth Is Strong

Chances are you have other and possibly stronger skills and experience besides logistics. If fulfilment is in any way a distraction from the normal activities that grow your business, it will most likely never become your absolute strength. Or, even worse, focusing on fulfillment can reduce your productivity in areas where you excel!

Furthermore, the opportunity cost of in-house order fulfillment can hurt your business more than it helps. Fulfillment providers not only take care of all the picking, packing and shipping requirements you face as an entrepreneur, but also generate a psychological freedom from these details. This freedom will allow you as an entrepreneur to focus on marketing, sales and product design. Delegating the crucial task of fulfillment can also free up positive energy that you can use to improve all the other skills you need to grow your business.

Scalability is another key element in deciding whether or not to outsource order fulfillment. You may be able to keep up with orders now, but what about 3 months from now? And when that day comes, will you have the peace of mind and time you need to choose the right fulfillment provider?

2. Your Fulfillment Costs Rise

Many startups have focused their operations on conserving resources to maintain better control while growing the business. This is great because you’re focusing on the core aspects of your business, but it also requires you to think long-term and not just look at one-time set-up fees, but also consider the bigger picture of outsourcing fulfillment. Does your business need to scale quickly to gain a competitive advantage? Or do you benefit from a fulfillment provider? By putting off using a fulfillment provider, you may be missing out on their extensive network. Plus, a well-connected fulfillment centre can offer you valuable industry-specific advice.

If you’re still concerned with costs, at least make sure you’re doing the calculations accurately. Once you factor in the cost of printers, scales, racking, facilities, labour and consumables, it’s not uncommon for the total cost of outsourced fulfilment per order to be less than the DIY cost per order. This also fails to take into account the value of freed-up working capital, perhaps the most important resource of all.

Delegating the repetitive process of receiving, warehousing, picking, packing and shipping to others can be the deciding factor in the battle between growth and stagnation over time.

3. You’re Paying Too Much for Shipping (and You May Not Know It!)

If you have ever worked with a fulfillment provider, you will have noticed that shipping costs have been greatly reduced by the fulfillment provider. Shipping is extraordinarily expensive for small businesses that don’t have the leverage to negotiate better rates. If you’re shipping a particularly cumbersome and unbound product, you may find that your shipping costs eat up your entire margin!

Because fulfillment centres ship large volumes, they have typically negotiated discounted rates with several reputable carriers.

4. You Are Concerned about Brand Damage Caused by Incorrect Orders

Unfortunately, most customers today only give a company one chance to deliver on a promise. Therefore, it is imperative that you meet their expectations when they place their very first order.

Regardless of how familiar you are with your own product line, manually entering orders – or picking and packing products without an inventory control system – leads to a margin of error that you may not be able to accept.

That’s not to say that fulfillment centres are perfect, yet most fulfillment providers today have inventory management systems that can keep error rates to a minimum.

5. Storage Space Is Getting Tight

Don’t let storage become an obstacle to forecasting inventory. By using an order fulfillment company, you are able to accurately forecast inventory levels and stock enough products based on market demand without having to consider more warehouse space. Since companies receive significant discounts for bulk orders, your price advantage by ordering a larger volume of inventory can cover some of the costs associated with outsourcing fulfillment. This solution is cheaper and far more convenient than renting a storage unit and far more convenient than storing your product in the storage room.

6. You Hope to Develop a Larger In-House Fulfillment Solution

Should you find yourself researching issues related to fulfillment operations and how to optimise your in-house efforts, it may be time to look into third-party options. Growing a profitable business takes a lot of work and every resource is valuable. So why waste resources building an order fulfillment department when you can simply outsource the entire operation?

Fulfillment partners have proven to be integral in helping smaller businesses streamline and scale their logistics processes. As experts in supply chain management, a fulfillment provider can help your business with factors such as sourcing cheaper packaging, finding better shipping options and even advising on your business model.

7. You’re Expanding Internationally

Outsourcing your international fulfillment is a great way to enter a new market without the risk of opening your own warehouse abroad. With the help of a fulfillment provider, you can solve this problem efficiently. Not only do fulfillment companies get better international shipping rates – and may even be strategically located in your destination country – but they also have experience with exports and the associated customs documentation.

The landscape of customs, declared values and harmonised tariff codes is complex and complicated. Instead of learning these ins and outs yourself, you might consider working with a fulfillment company that has demonstrable knowledge in this arena.

8. Inventory Management Is a Challenge

If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have a need for state-of-the-art technology to grab a product off the shelf, put it in a box and stick a label on it.

But once you have hundreds of different products in your warehouse, you’ll need to invest in some kind of inventory management system to keep track of stock levels and sales forecasts. Mismanaged inventory – whether insufficient or excessive – can cause significant financial problems for even the most robust businesses. When choosing a fulfillment company, always ask detailed questions about their fulfillment software.

Depending on the company, you may have access to inventory management software included in your monthly fee. This is another alternative to reduce other operating costs when you outsource order fulfillment.

9. Slow Delivery Times and Delays Put a Strain on Your Business

Sometimes larger fulfillment providers are strategically located near major shipping centres. This allows for faster delivery times and lower shipping costs. The physical location of your business can cause delays simply due to a lack of access to key carriers. The advantage of this is that up to two days can be lost in the transfer to a distribution centre. This are two days that a fulfillment centre can give you…. two days that will prove critical to customer satisfaction and retention.

No two businesses are exactly alike, so you’ll need to do a little more company-specific homework before you can make an informed decision about whether outsourcing fulfillment is right for you. We are happy to support you with this decision!

 

How Can I Optimize My Returns Management Process?

Who hasn’t experienced it?… Sitting comfortably on the couch in the evening, surfing the internet with your mobile phone or laptop and looking for new favourite pieces or a change in your wardrobe. Once you’ve found the right piece, it’s usually just a few clicks and you’ve bought it. Once the parcel is on its way to your home, joy sets in. The package arrives and you can finally examine your new clothes. You look and try them on directly. However, you notice that one item is not the one you ordered and another has a loose seam. Annoyingly, you now return these items.
Here we explain how you as a company can prevent such incidents with the end customer and optimise your returns management process!

What Types of Returns Errors Are There Actually?

There are actually several sources of returns errors from a logistical point of view:

  • Type error: occurs when an item with an incorrect identification (e.g. EAN13 barcode) is added to an order because it may have been incorrectly booked into the same storage location as the actual correct item.
  • Quantity error: occurs when more or fewer items end up in the order than were actually intended.
  • Omission error – a special type of quantity error : This error is when a bin location has been skipped or forgotten during the pick, which consequently leads to a quantity error.
  • Condition error: occurs when items are damaged or unclean.

How Can I Prevent Returns?

Type of errorType errorQuantity errorOmission error
Preventive measuresPick-by-scanVoice-functionPick-by-scan
DescriptionWith this technique, the goods are picked with a person-to-goods principle and a barcode scanner. This means that the employees are shown on the tablet to which storage location they should go and which article with which identification/ EAN they should pick.Pick-by-scan technology with an integrated voice function reacts here as soon as an incorrect item or too many items have been picked. In addition, this error can be avoided by scanning the item several times (e.g. pick, pack, etc.).This mistake can be avoided especially if an IT-linked picking system is used. This means that the goods are not picked by hand with a list, but with technical support.

Reactive Measures

If a customer sends back items from their order, they are checked in the returns management process and examined for defects. Depending on how serious the defects are, the item is sent for reprocessing or sorted out as B-goods. The B-goods are first stored and then sold by the manufacturers in outlets, donated or recycled. Items that do not have any defects are returned to the shelves and are available for new orders. However, it is recommended to work with logistics providers who ensure system-based traceability of the movement of these items. Further instructions on quality checks of the goods, both in the inbound, pack and return, enable a quick response on the part of the logistics partner. In this way, unnecessary waiting times in processing can be avoided. In order to be able to carry out such quality checks, the logistics service provider should provide its employees with extensive training and instruction. With these reactive measures, condition errors can be prevented.

Conclusion

It is important to make sure that the logistics provider of your choice works with a technical order picking system, as this can prevent many errors and automatically leads to fewer returns, which are independent of your products.

It doesn’t take much effort to optimise your returns management process. It is a few small and simple actions that can make a lot of difference. Firstly, it will increase your customer satisfaction, as customers can be confident that the goods they receive are the right ones and have no defects. This in turn will lead to customer loyalty, as customers will be happy to shop with you again and again if your processes are smooth and easy to handle, and they will remember your brand positively. In order to get more precise feedback from your customers about the exact reason for the return, we recommend always enclosing a return slip where the customer can tell you exactly what they didn’t like about the item. This should be filled in and returned with the returned item.

Do you have questions about MOODJA’s returns services? Connect with us via sales@moodja.com!

Second-Hand Clothes Recycling and Fashion Sustainability

Due to a fast growing global economy, the world today faces major environmental challenges related to overproduction and waste. The fast fashion industry plays a very crucial role in this. It contributes to huge amounts of waste that lead to various environmental and social problems worldwide, some of which are already dramatic in the industry’s production chains. In recent years, awareness of the seriousness of the situation has increased worldwide. As a result, NGOs are putting more pressure on governments and companies to promote sustainability and reduce waste. Various players in the fashion industry are increasingly paying attention to sustainability in fashion along the value chains.The question generally arises as to how companies can have a positive impact on the environment and serve the common good at the same time. Second-hand clothes recycling is one of the most effective ways to tackle some of these problems.

Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion

Did you know that fast fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world? Only the oil industry is more harmful to our environment. Fast fashion is responsible for 1.2 trillion tonnes of carbon emissions worldwide, which means the sector produces more carbon emissions than air travel and shipping combined. Fast fashion is also responsible for 20% of the world’s wastewater production. Every year, 93 million cubic meters of water are used for production. This amount can supply around 5 million people per year, which could benefit countries suffering from water scarcity and on the brink of “Day Zero”. But not only the ecological but also the social factor should be considered here. What is sold cheaply must of course also be produced cheaply somewhere. Mostly this happens in China, Bangladesh and other Southeast Asian countries, where people work under the worst conditions. Child labour, wages far below the minimum wage, forced overtime, no social security and the violation of human rights are unfortunately still a reality!

We need to scrutinize fashion more consciously and pay more attention to sustainability in production. Many brands are getting into the sustainable fashion industry and are committed to fair trade.They are committed on a social level to provide more humane conditions for people and reduce poverty levels as much as possible. From an ecological point of view, some companies, for example, have a tree planted for every item of clothing purchased, in order to at least partially offset their negative climate footprint. The focus is explicitly on rainforests that continue to make way for mostly conventionally managed cotton fields, which reduces the overall biodiversity to a critical level. This can indeed also apply to the production of organic cotton, but at least fewer pollutants are released and the environment suffers less damage than with conventional farming.

In recent years, the concept of sustainability in fashion has fortunately gained momentum. In the context of the circular economy, the recycling of old clothes, for example, can play an important role in reducing the amount of waste produced by the textile and fashion industry. However, of greater importance according to the hierarchy of waste management is always reducing waste, for example by not overproducing in the first place, or simply reusing old clothes. Fortunately the latter is increasingly reflected in the second-hand trend. Producing clothes that are as durable as possible promotes this trend. The DIY (remanufacture) trend can also be promoted, for example, through repair tutorials. 

Reusability of Textiles: Old Clothes and Second-Hand Clothes Recycling

Recycling of clothing is understood to mean the reuse of recyclable materials from items of clothing that have already been worn. These are sorted by color after being handed in at the shop or in certain containers, broken down into the individual fibers and spun into new yarn, which is then used to make new garments. However, even the so-called recycling processes are unfortunately often not entirely sustainable. Not only worn clothes from containers etc. end up in these recycling processes, but sometimes also brand new goods that come from overproduction or returns from fast-moving collections. This happens despite a German law about goods recycling, which states that it is forbidden to destroy or recycle unused goods in Germany. The products are divided into A, B and C goods. Mostly only the goods without any or only slight damage (A- & B-goods) get the chance for a second life, as in the case of sales in second-hand shops, new yarn production or the shredding process. The majority (C-goods) are nevertheless sent to incinerators and destroyed. This method is unfortunately a widespread solution to “recycle” discarded clothes. These are shipped to Romania, Poland, etc. to be sold as fuel, where again quite a few chemicals are released into nature.

There are numerous initiatives that aim to make clothing and fashion products or their components reusable. In addition, well-known fashion brands are increasingly adopting the concept of sustainable fashion as part of their environmental responsibility. Selling old clothes and used garments at cheaper prices ideally reduces textile production and thus makes the fashion industry more sustainable by counteracting overproduction. An example of this is the company F&P Stock Solution and its solutions for recycling clothing as its core business. On the company’s catalog page you can find various offers for wholesale of old clothes at reasonable prices.

Sustainable Fulfillment with MOODJA

As a 3PL fulfillment service provider, MOODJA is situated as a key well-connected link at the end of our customers’ long supply chains. Here we play a special role, because the final fulfillment often shows whether and how sustainably the upstream actors acted in the overall process and which ethical values can be communicated to the end consumers in a justified way. 

At MOODJA we are committed to actively promote sustainability in our spheres of influence. Sustainability is part of our core business strategy. In addition, we implement fair working conditions and strive for an overall climate-neutral fulfillment. Our first sustainability report is currently in development. Operationally, we are happy to process our customers’ returns and prepare the returned goods in such a way that they can be resold as A-grade goods if possible. From a sustainability perspective, the return rate should of course be kept as low as possible in order to save additional climate-relevant resources. Keeping general transport volumes in check should be briefly mentioned here. 

As the demand for fair brands and products is continuously increasing, our holistic endeavor is to be as sustainable a link as possible in the value chains of our customers and to offer sustainable high quality customized e-commerce fulfillment for fashion and lifestyle brands. It is essential to work together in a partnership. Are you ready to make a positive impact as a fashion brand? Then join us on the transformative path to a more sustainable fashion and logistics industry!

What Is E-Fulfillment and What Does It Cost?!

The term “fulfillment” has Anglo-Saxon origins and means “execution” or “fulfillment”. Simply explained, fulfillment stands for the processing of all activities related to the logistics and delivery of your goods. Fulfillment costs are therefore all the costs of order processing. As today’s value chains become increasingly complex, the process steps that take place in the background of your online shop can be really nerve-wracking.

Some example processes for your e-fulfillment are the independent warehousing, where appropriate storage space would have to be found and possibly rented or purchased, and the organisation of your own employees who are hired to pack your goods. Furthermore, the synchronisation between order placement and warehousing should be ensured without delay. In addition you have to take care of customer returns in parallel and undertake appropriate warehouse planning.

This small selection of simple fulfillment processes alone confronts some entrepreneurs with seemingly unsolvable tasks. That’s why more and more self-employed people are deciding to outsource their logistics and turn to a so-called fulfillment provider.

MOODJA GmbH is one such fulfillment service provider. Essentially, we want to support you to the extent that you can run your business from your laptop. Meanwhile, as an external logistics service provider, we take care of all order processing on your behalf. This means that we take care of warehousing, packaging, shipping and returns for you.

Is Fulfillment Worth It?

Whether a fulfillment service provider is worthwhile for you depends on many factors. It is advisable to check whether there are specialist providers for your business sector and what kind of goods you mainly sell. The process in e-fulfillment starts basically with the order acceptance in your webshop or on a marketplace and ends either with the shipment of your goods or, if applicable, with a customer return.

As individual fulfillment services such as:

  • Warehousing
  • Order picking
  • Franking and labeling
  • Shipping
  • Returns management

are costly and require a great deal of expertise. Retailers are increasingly choosing to outsource these processes to fulfillment providers like us.

However, it is always important for us to be able to fulfill your individual wishes as precisely as possible, in order to guarantee you and your customers the optimal shopping experience.

What Do I Get Out of Fulfillment?

Bundle your resources for your two most important tasks: Generating order requests and managing these orders. This directly impacts your sales and allows you to really focus on increasing your bottom line. Any other additional activity will cost you either time or valuable resources, which will then no longer be available to increase your profits. With the help of a professional fulfillment partner, you can focus on your core competencies with a clear conscience.

Today, professional e-commerce is no longer conceivable without the involvement of fulfillment service providers. The decisive question should therefore be, which fulfillment provider is the right one for you?

Fulfillment Costs

Even in online retail, each company should be considered completely independently and individually, especially when it comes to pricing. Typically, fulfillment service providers charge a flat monthly fee for working with the online retailer and their fulfillment centre. Then there are the costs for the actual order processing, which are typically charged individually for each order type. The order type was previously defined together with the online retailer and results from an individual effort as well as a corresponding cost type.

The cheapest e-fulfillment variant consists of warehousing, standard packaging and shipping. Special requests such as fulfillment with returns management, which also includes disposal or alternatively repackaging of returned goods, cost correspondingly more. The actual shipment of the goods to the end customer is carried out by us via reliable German logistics partners. If desired, you or your end customer can check the status of the order at any time via tracking ID.

ServicesUsual price
Inbound0,50 € - 5 € per package
8 - 15 € per pallet (120x80x180)
Storage0,50 € - 1,20 € per storage location (40x30x28)
8 € - 15 € per pallet (120x80x180)
Shipping1,20 € - 1,80 € per order
0,10 € - 0,80 € per artikel / additional service
Returns1,20 € - 1,60 € per return
0,10 € - 0,80 € per artikel / additional service

In addition to this classic method of calculating fulfillment costs, scaling has also become established for calculating fees. In this case, the fulfilment process is made assessable in advance through recurring order quantities or order relations. Subsequently, measurements are made in the sense of a yardstick in order to determine the fulfillment price.

Ultimately You Have to Decide for Yourself

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, but in the end you have to decide for yourself which method makes more sense for you and your shop in order to opt for a professional fulfillment fee model in the long term.

The fulfillment costs are never borne by you anyway, as you always pass them on to your end customers via your product price. However, fulfillment costs are typically not itemised to the end customer. For your internal company accounts, you should not only look at the pure fulfillment prices, but also at your internal resources that you can save by using e-fulfillment. We know this calculation is never easy, but our experts at MOODJA GmbH are happy to help you find out whether e-commerce fulfillment is worthwhile for you. We are your partner and will gladly help you to further increase the success of your business, even beyond the classic logistics issues. Simply contact us and let us support you.

Fulfillment Company: Which Provider Is the Right One?

The market of fulfillment companies in Germany is large and confusing. When choosing a reliable fulfillment company and partner, possible services must be understood at least roughly.

Fulfillment Services

online Marketplace

Goods receipt or inbound is the starting point for all fulfillment companies. Inbound is defined as the acceptance of goods independent of the shipper. When receiving goods, it should be noted that both individual packages and pallets can be delivered. The unloading of the goods should be possible from trucks or also by container in a standardised way.

Consequently, when storing the goods, care must be taken to ensure that the appropriate storage is provided depending on the size and nature of the goods. The goods can be stored in hanging or lying storage systems as well as in packaging or on pallets. The goods must also be booked in promptly after they have been taken into stock.
Picking describes the removal of the goods from the various storage locations. After the goods have been booked out, they are subsequently combined into the various customer orders in goods issue. The orders are packed in outbound and shipped to the B2C or B2B customers. This process is also called Pick & Pack.
Customer returns or returns describe the sending back of goods by the customer in case of a customer return. The returns are checked for their condition, then repackaged and put back into storage.

Wanted: Reliable E-Commerce Fulfillment Company. But How?

When looking for a logistics company, research on the internet is very helpful. Due to the high level of networking among companies in the German e-commerce market, it is worthwhile to additionally contact business contacts, friends or former colleagues to get recommendations from the network.

Once two or three fulfillment companies have been found, the question arises as to how to select the right fulfillment partner.

1. Similar Industry Specialisation

The most important and at the same time most difficult factor in the search for a fulfillment company is to find a partner at eye level. This means that on an interpersonal level as well as on a process level, both companies must have the same ideas about working together. A two-man start-up is not helped by adapting to the processes of one of the largest German corporations when the start-up itself is still in the discovery phase and has to react flexibly to market events.

Every fulfillment company has its own company-specific values and processes. Many of them specialise in certain industries or types of business, which makes it easier to work together if the right partner is chosen.

2. Comparable Customers

It is easiest if the fulfillment company already works with similar businesses. This is especially true for e-commerce fashion retailers who have specific needs. For example, not only is fast shipping a basic expectation of users, shipping costs and high return rates with the complex processes behind them are a challenge for any retailer.

For e-commerce merchants, choosing a company that has experience in fulfilling e-commerce orders is crucial. On the one hand, because they know the high expectations of delivery times and returns processing of customers, as well as the differences between B2C and B2B business. And secondly, a strategic logistics partner can assist with business challenges, as the relevant industry know-how and contacts are available.

The Biggest Pitfall

A fulfillment company is often chosen solely on price. Since a price comparison is sometimes not possible due to non-transparent prices and service descriptions, a pure price comparison can be misleading. For this reason, wrong decisions are often made. However, since the delivery and processing of orders have a high influence on customer satisfaction, an unsuitable but cheap partner can annoy customers, which leads to higher costs in the long run.

Hamburg, Berlin or Cologne: What Is the Best Location in Germany for Your Fulfillment Company?

First of all, a few facts: take-up of warehouse and logistics space in Germany once again exceeded the six million m² mark in 2017. While turnover in Frankfurt am Main (673,000 m²), Berlin (453,000 m²), Düsseldorf (452,000 m²) and Cologne (250,000 m²) increased significantly, turnover in Leipzig (110,000 m²) and Hamburg (461,000 m²) decreased.

The various locations of the fulfillment companies are characterised by different industry focuses. While the manufacturing and production industry is the strongest sector in Munich and Stuttgart, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg focus on transport and logistics services. As might be expected, fashion retail is the focus in the fashion metropolis of Berlin.

But How Do I Know Which Logistics Location Is the Right One?

When deciding on a location, in addition to a precise partner analysis, it certainly helps to look sideways at the various competitors. Which fulfillment company at which location do the competitors work with? What is the customer feedback in the respective online shops? In addition, it is necessary to look at what transport speeds the various shipping companies offer for the different locations. For this purpose, the potential fulfillment companies must be asked precisely about service levels such as pick and pack times, return booking times or goods acceptance times.

Only by looking at all fulfillment components can a decision be made quantitatively and qualitatively for or against a location and/or fulfillment company.

Prices: What Costs Can I Expect for a Fulfillment Company?

A direct price comparison of costs is not possible with most fulfillment companies. A competitive price offer is undoubtedly necessary for professional cooperation. However, transparency and working together as partners should be paramount.

When it comes to transparency, it is important to make sure that the price list is comprehensible and easy to understand. Very detailed lists of more than ten pages are usually less comprehensible than well-structured price lists with manageable items. This is because the invoices must be comprehensible even after the contract has been concluded. This can only be achieved with a manageable number of items.

It is helpful to differentiate the prices in the various fulfillment service areas such as inbound, storage costs, outbound and returns. The technical connection and, if applicable, onboarding costs for the connection to the fulfillment service provider should also be shown separately. Since these are incurred independently of the quantity-dependent components from the fulfilment service areas.

If you have any questions about MOODJA’s service times or prices, please feel free to contact us via our contact form. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Online Marketplace or Rather Run Your Own Business?

online MarketplaceAmazon, Zalando, eBay, ABOUT YOU and Co. – in Germany, a wide variety of online marketplaces can be used to sell one’s own products. Especially in the fashion industry,there are many providers who also enable small brands to sell their own products via their platform. The only question is whether you prefer an online marketplace with support or your own individual online shop.

If you also want to sell your products via an online marketplace, you should inform yourself well in advance. In the following, you will learn everything you need to know about the advantages, functions and costs of various marketplaces in Germany. With the right knowledge and an experienced partner at your side, you too can offer your products to an international clientele in no time.

What Is an Online Marketplace?

An online marketplace is a digital platform on which various suppliers can sell their products directly to the customer. The online marketplace is the opposite of the classic online shop, where often only one seller appears. Large fashion marketplaces such as Amazon, Zalando or ABOUT YOU generate large amounts of traffic with their wide range of different products, which is a key advantage for sellers on the platform.

Young start-ups in particular benefit from the advantages of the marketplaces. New products and brands can be presented to a large number of potential buyers – even without a big marketing campaign. Logistics and fulfilment services are also provided by some of the large fashion marketplaces. From the development of a product to international shipping, only a few steps are necessary and new business ideas can be realised within a very short time.

A List of Online Marketplaces in Germany

Amazon is just one well-known online marketplace that has been active in Germany for many years. But especially in the fashion sector, there are many different digital marketplaces in Germany, such as Zalando, ABOUT YOU, eBay and OTTO. In the following you will find a small overview of the largest platforms that are particularly active in the fashion industry in Germany.

MarketplaceFeatures
AmazonBiggest marketplace in the world
ZalandoBiggest marketplace in germany for fashion and cosmetics
ABOUT YOUFashion- and accessories marketplace of the otto group
OTTOOne of the oldest online shipping companies in Germany with a large fashion section
ASOSLarge British marketplace for fashion and beauty products, also active in Germany

Amazon

Amazon is the world’s largest and probably best-known online marketplace. Products from all over the world and from all industries are offered here. About 450 million people visit the website Amazon.com every month. For this reason in particular, it is interesting for young start-ups to offer their own products on Amazon. Hardly any marketing campaign can keep up with the traffic on the online marketplace.

Zalando

Since 2008, Zalando has been selling fashion and cosmetics products all over Germany. In the meantime, the company is active in more than 10 European countries with its online marketplace and can prove high visitor numbers on its websites every month. Becoming a retailer on Zalando can therefore also be worthwhile for young companies.

ABOUT YOU

The online marketplace of ABOUT YOU also primarily sells articles from the fashion sector. Various retailers offer their products here and can sell them – thanks to the ABOUT YOU shopping app – to customers all over Europe. Especially for start-ups that want to specialise in sales via mobile devices and in the target group of teenagers and young adults, ABOUT YOU can be a sensible option.

Selling Products on an Online Marketplace – This Is How It Works

Produkte verkaufen - so gehts!

With the right plan, you can start selling your own products on an online marketplace in just a few days. After registering and creating an account on the respective website, you first have to enter your products into the website’s catalogue.
However, almost all large online marketplaces have developed tools for this purpose, which are easy to use and require little prior knowledge. This way you can quickly and easily create a basic product page. The biggest challenge often lies in the organisation of logistics and fulfilment. How do I organise the receipt of goods, warehousing and shipping? Especially if the chosen platform does not offer any corresponding services, an alternative is needed. Here, external providers for logistics and fulfilment, such as Moodja, can be the right solution. With an experienced provider, you can organise your logistics in no time at all. If you would like to find out whether and how we can support you, please contact us. We will be happy to advise you.

Registration and account

Many marketplaces have designed the registration process to be as simple as possible so that it is easy for private individuals to get started. Only a few personal details such as your address, bank details and tax number are required before you can start selling your products on the platform. The process is particularly easy for companies based in Germany, as no international guidelines need to be observed.

Usual costs

The exact sales models vary from provider to provider, but Amazon’s information can provide a rough overview of the usual costs. For example, a small monthly basic fee is often charged, which can start at 40 euros per month. In addition, a fee is charged for each sale made, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the sales price. On the one hand, young companies can afford the service, but on the other hand, the online marketplace also profits from the flexible and scalable pricing for large traders.

Processing and fulfilment

Some online marketplaces offer their merchants their own logistics and fulfilment service. For an appropriate fee, the online marketplace then handles all logistics tasks from goods receipt to warehousing to shipping. Alternatively, external providers for logistics and fulfilment can be a sensible option – especially if the platform does not offer a corresponding service or you are looking for a better or more comprehensive offer. We have compiled the costs for external logistics here.

Legal aspects – business and small business

If you are just starting to sell your products on an online marketplace, you will probably have comparatively low sales in the first time. But this should not deter you! Especially in the beginning you can benefit from the small business regulation. If your annual turnover is less than 22,000 euros, you can register with the tax office as a small business and be exempt from VAT. You can pass these saved costs on to your end customers and offer your products at particularly low prices.

SEO and Rankings for Online Marketplaces

SEO und Rankings auf Marketplaces

An online marketplace such as Amazon has its own SEO and ranking system, which decides which products are presented in first place on the platform. Similar to Google, the results on the first page are clicked on a lot. So if you want to sell successfully on an online marketplace, you should understand the ranking and use it to your advantage.

The exact way it works differs from marketplace to marketplace, but in general, the ranking is made up of the relevance of a product to the individual search query and the performance of the product. It is therefore important to describe your own products with accurate and prominent keywords. Realistic product descriptions and good customer reviews also influence factors such as the click and conversion rate, which can contribute to a positive ranking. Overall, trust good and individual descriptions rather than cheap tricks with keywords. Good ratings or discount promotions make your products more sought-after in the online marketplace, which is ultimately also reflected in the ranking.

But Would You Rather Have Your Own Online Shop?

While you can benefit from the high traffic of the website and the existing infrastructures on an online marketplace, there are also aspects that speak in favour of your own online shop. For example, the fixed monthly costs for your own online shop are easier to plan and your expenses do not automatically increase with higher sales figures. Often, depending on the product, the return rate increases after placement on online marketplaces. Especially with high sales figures and if your brand is already established, having your own shop can be a sensible alternative.

Even if the freedom to design your shop is important to you, you might run into problems with a large online marketplace. After all, your product is embedded in the existing website and there are only limited possibilities to personalise your page. With your own online shop, there are no limits to your creativity and you can clearly stand out from the competition.

Own online shop - advantages and disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
great creative freedomComparatively low traffic (especially at the beginning)
No competing products on the same websiteLogistics and fulfilment have to be organised by the company itself
Fixed and well calculable costsTime to first sale probably longer than on a Marketplace

Forget Boxes! Why Individual Packaging Can Make the Difference

Picture this: On your day off, you’re walking through the shopping centre of your choice, looking for a new favourite item. You pass a large, well-lit, individually designed shop window. Your feeling guides you to a shop window that is particularly beautiful and tastefully designed. You briefly look at the clothes and the prices. You enter the shop and judge the clothes by how the material feels, whether it is the perfect colour for you and whether the thickness of the material meets your expectations. Now you try on a few pieces of your choice and then you have it: Your new favourite piece!

Online Shop vs Physical Store

The advantages of brick-and-mortar retail clearly lie in the holistic shopping experience: personal advice, customer-oriented services and above all, the opportunity to look at, touch and/or try on the merchandise in person. This intimate and emotional experience is missing in online shopping.

The main advantage of online shopping is the saved time. You can sit comfortably on the couch in the evening or on the weekend and browse. A wide range of goods, simple price and product comparisons are available without time pressure. Adding and removing products from the digital shopping cart takes only a click. So online retailers are facing growing competition: Both the number of online shops and the number of online shoppers are constantly increasing. And most recently, with the global pandemic, this customer behaviour has only increased.

Making Sure That Online Shopping Is also an Emotional Experience

You have to invest a lot of effort to get your customers to buy something in your online shop. Even more importantly, you want to entice your customers to come back and buy again. A high-quality product helps immensely. A key factor for customer loyalty is the moment when the delivery person brings the long-awaited package and your customer can unpack the ordered product. What is the first thing they will notice? Obviously the individual packaging! In online trade, this is the first real contact with your product. Make it a positive, emotional moment!

Unfortunately, packaging is still underestimated as a carrier of the brand message. Positive branding is enormously important, especially for small online stores. If they remember you positively, people will be happy to order from you again. In addition, individual packaging makes it relatively easy for a brand to stand out from the competition. Recognition is therefore crucial at the point of sale. A personalized adhesive tape with a printed logo already helps to bring the brand directly to the customer’s attention. In addition, a lovingly wrapped product covered in tissue paper helps create a pleasant feeling when unpacking.

Every Individual Packaging Tells a Story

Tell your story, without overwhelming detail but with authenticity and transparency. The goal of this storytelling is simple: Your customers should be able to identify with your product or company. Let them know why it’s the best product, how it’s produced and who created it. Forge a connection to the product using the customer journey through your online store to the point of purchase.
Custom packagingoutsoucing your Logistics gives you the opportunity to continue telling your story. Any kind of reusable, exclusive packaging feels special and reminds your customers of the quality of your product. Especially in brand environments like fashion, beauty and luxury goods. The effort will definitely pay off because you’ll get the buyer’s full attention. In the best case, your customer will even pick up the packaging, continue to use it and thus advertise your brand for free.

Convey a Mission With Your Individual Packaging

Reiterate your mission, whether it is to fight local poverty or make people feel good about their skin. Your packaging is the right medium to state that mission loud and proud. Consumers have been moving away from big retail stores for some time and discovering smaller, individual niche brands as valuable alternatives. Thus, the lifestyle aspect of a product is gaining importance. Your packaging should match the feeling you convey in your online store and on your social media channels. Once a customer receives the package, it should be an affirmation that your brand is the perfect addition to their life.

We know the benefits of personalized packaging for your brand and how it contributes to a positive customer experience. That’s why our outbound team will gladly take care of the individual packaging of your goods exactly as you imagine it. Your package should reach your customers as if you had packed it yourself – or even better!

Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to consult you further.