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How to keep ecommerce distribution costs low

The ecommerce business is exploding all over the world and in the UK alone B2C sales reached over £62bn in 2013. Forecasters reckon ecommerce sales for the UK will top £89bn by 2017, so it’s clearly set to continue its phenomenal growth.

While that’s good news for e-retailers, it’s also good news for distribution companies. And therein hangs the conundrum. Each needs the other: without the ecommerce retailer, the distributor has no business; without the distributor, the retailer can’t deliver the goods. While consumers in the UK are buying on average over £1,000 of goods online annually and want their parcels delivered to their homes, ecommerce distribution is a significant cost element to the e-retailer.

So how does an ecommerce business keep its distribution costs low?

Simply use a professional mailing house and take advantage of postage discounts through optimised delivery channels. Better still, choose a mailing house that also has goods’ fulfilment facilities and streamline your own operational costs. Even better, ensure the mailing house is experienced in international mail too, so you have room to expand your ecommerce business across borders. That way, as well as having access to international customers, you are only working with one supplier in different countries.

Asendia UK

Asendia UK ticks all these boxes. Plus, it has vast experience in the postal industry, fulfilling and moving goods as well as mail. Being part of the much larger Asendia organisation – a joint venture between La Poste and Swiss Post –  Asendia UK has access to an extensive network of delivery routes across the globe: it has 14 offices around the world and delivers to 220 destinations.

The range of postal services for packets and parcels offered by Asendia makes them stand out from the crowd too, and includes:

  • signed-for mail
  • rackable mail options
  • priority services
  • Standard/Economy options
  • courier services (24 and 48 hour).

A growing number of Asendia’s clients are also taking advantage of the company’s connection with La Poste, which ensures it has direct entry access to France, where there is already a voracious appetite for British ecommerce goods. La Poste and Swiss Post’s long-established delivery route network and partnerships comes into its own here for onward distribution globally.

For more information about the French ecommerce market, see Asendia’s whitepaper “France is a great opportunity for UK’s online retailers”.

Customer retention and acquisition

Providing the parcel mail with ‘a local look’ in some countries makes ecommerce goods more acceptable to the recipient abroad. It’s this type of detail that makes Asendia attractive: it is keen to help you to retain your customers.

Asendia is also in a position to help e-retailers acquire the customers in the first place. As part of its end-to-end service, its print division can supply direct mail and catalogues for mailing, often with discounts on the postal costs when posted through its mailing house. They will even clean your address data for you to increase delivery, optimise sales and increase your ROI.

And remember, in the world of ecommerce, retailers don’t have the opportunity to build personal relationships with customers. Asendia even provides customer service to develop a strong association with your clients, which in turn helps drive satisfied, repeat custom.

Fulfilment centre

With a 63,000 sq ft ISO 9001-accredited fulfilment centre coping with over 30,000 orders a day at peak times, Asendia is able to offer ecommerce businesses a range of benefits to outsourcing their order fulfilment as well as distributing their goods, such as storage, cost-effective picking and packing, stock management and competitive postal prices.  The fulfilment centre fulfils and despatches beauty and health supplements, clothing, toys, dry foods, medical equipment, perfumes, consumer electronics, books, CDs, DVDs, homeware and gardening products, gifts and seasonal goods, product samples and free literature (catalogues, brochures, leaflets, etc), much of which is travelling abroad.

Another important part of running any mail order business, on- or offline, is that a dissatisfied customer may want to return the goods, so an efficient returns process is essential. Focusing on demand generation over developing an effective returns process can be a mistake… and a costly one. Although customers’ returns are complex, Asendia can deal with returns management both in the UK and overseas.

The upshot is that using a mailing and fulfilment house like Asendia UK takes the strain off the e-retailer, who then has time to concentrate on running and developing the business.

For more information, see


About the author
Catherine Jackson is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has been a publishing professional for over 30 years, working in newspapers, magazines, and marketing in the education, retail and travel sectors. She has also worked as a freelance copywriter, editor and proofreader before joining Asendia UK as Content Marketing Executive & Copywriter. Google+