The last post all covered either the solar industry or general supply chain topics. Yet, this is not all we do at greenleaves.io, so the next couple of blog posts will cover e-Commerce topics like fulfillment options, fulfillment relevant KPIs and so on.
This raises a question, so. Why solar and e-Commerce?
Because there is, especially for the solar market segment of residential roof top, a large overlap between the two. Webshops are great sales channel for these smaller projects and customers (smaller by order size, and not by yearly order volume). There are also similar challenges for existing suppliers of solar modules due these small order sizes. How are they fulfilled? How much inventory do I want to hold for these customers? How do I ship these orders? Are my existing logistics providers ready for this? A lot of offline brands and retailers are facing these same questions when it comes to B2C e-Commerce.
And then there is the question of other equipment for these solar projects, like inverters and mountings. From a customer experience perspective, selling the full range of products from modules over inverters to mountings and cables, is a great way to win, and retain, customers. Which brings us back to the various fulfillment options. Especially for inverters and mountings, dropshipping, or like Amazon calls it Fulfillment-by-Merchant, are a great solution. For the smaller products, even the carriers are the same as they are for B2C shipments.
When you look at one potential e-Commerce set-up for solar modules and equipment, you might have a 3PL warehouse for modules, a couple of dropship-vendors for things like inverters, parcel carriers for smaller products and fulfillment software connected to a webshop. You have to manage inventory at your 3PL for that sales channel, and it’s replenishment, as you have with dropship-vendors and carriers. Except for the B2B nature of the business, this is from a logistical perspective a classical e-Commerce operation. And that’s the reason why greenleaves.io is doing both!