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July 19, 2023
Logistics in the retail industry has come a long way in the last two decades. Amazon has been behind the changing face of customer experience over many years, in many ways made possible by optimising the process by which products go from points A to B across a supply chain. That way, customers' purchases are more convenient than ever.

The rise of e-commerce has emphasised the importance of strong relationships between vendors, suppliers and distributors. The digital transformation of the marketplace means shoppers can now place orders at the touch of a button with the option for same-day or next-day delivery, raising customer expectations across the board.

For businesses shipping freight, optimised retail logistics management does not simply entail offering next-day delivery for huge cargo. What it does mean is that smart businesses need to look at each part of their supply chain to assess how to bring down costs and enable faster delivery. In this guide we explain retail logistics for shipments, what is involved in effective supply chain management, and how Amazon Freight helps create a hassle-free shipping solution for our freight customers.
What is retail logistics?
The relationship between retail and logistics is a straightforward one. Selling retail goods involves a dynamic network of people and companies. From manufacturers sourcing materials to the carriers delivering items to an end-destination, the fulfilment of goods is made possible by a network of links within a supply chain. For many businesses, these chains have a global reach.

Whether domestic or international, retail logistics is the process of managing the flow of goods between each link in the supply chain to improve efficiency and reduce costs. It is usually divided in two halves: inbound logistics and outbound logistics.
Inbound logistics
Inbound logistics encompasses the movement of materials, supplies or other finished goods to an internal destination. The process includes sourcing and purchasing (procurement), inventory processing and distribution. It covers the relationship between a business and its suppliers.
Outbound logistics
Outbound logistics covers the stages from which a business holds the goods already sold and transports them from an internal location to the end-buyer. At this stage, products are picked and packed, shipped and delivered to the customer.
The elements of retail logistics
1. Procurement
When customers place orders from a business, the task is then for the vendor to source the products in a timely way. This first stage is critical because it demands alignment between the procurement of materials, supplies and finished goods and an overarching strategy. To make this first phase as efficient as possible, vendors should constantly restock items or introduce SKUs, as well as forecast demand using relevant data. That way a business can have an accurate idea of what it needs to plan for the future.
2. Inventory processing
In the second phase of order fulfilment, the vendor receives and processes inventory. The finished goods are brought to an internal location, stocked and documented. This is an important step where procedures must be airtight. When goods are unloaded, put in receipts or assigned SKUs, inventory must be monitored closely to make sure everything is properly allocated and inventory levels match documentations.
E-commerce enables greater efficiency at the distribution level through the use of multiple facilities. This is how Fulfilment-by-Amazon (FBA) works — businesses ship their inventory to an Amazon-owned fulfilment centre (FC) to be closer to the delivery destination. Increasing proximity between the distributor and the end-user simultaneously reduces delivery time and brings down shipping costs.
4.Order fulfilment
When a customer places an order for an item that a vendor has stocked in the inventory, the task is then to package the products and arrange pick up as soon as possible. This is where inventory management tools are used to locate available items within a warehouse or facility. When order fulfilment is carried out through a third party (e.g. FBA), this process is automated to ensure a secure and fast delivery.
5. Tracking
Once an item has been picked out, it is essential that the business tracks existing inventory to make sure that there are enough items on hand to keep up with demand. As soon as the order is on the move, digital tracking provides real-time visibility to your and the end-consumer.
After the items are packed and ready to ship, the final step is to make sure they are shipped instantly. This is where a business leverages the use of multiple facilities from the distribution stage. For example, when you use FBA with Amazon Freight, we complete your fulfilment and transportation needs. Our internal freight brokerage systems locate the suitable HGV carriers for items.
Get retail logistics solutions with Amazon Freight
When you ship cargo with Amazon Freight, you receive the option to book road transport for inbound and outbound logistics. Combining our tech capabilities with an extensive network and GPS-tracked trailers, our services will be an asset to your retail logistics management. Find out more about how we can support you by reaching out to freight-uk-interest@amazon.com.
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