The increasingly competitive nature of globalization has directly affected the production and promotion processes of businesses. In the light of these developments, the commercial activities of the businesses have faced with the concept of ‘E-Commerce’. Logistics activities become the most important factor in this method developed by businesses to increase customer satisfaction. Logistic activities help to reduce the costs of businesses and ensure that products are delivered to customers in a quick and reliable manner. In the same time, logistics activities are also directly related to customers’ repurchase intentions. In this study, 159 students who have attended the E-Commerce course in Istanbul Gelisim University have participated in the survey on re-purchase perception in January, February and March and the data was analyzed and interpreted by SPSS program. The aim of the research is to determine the role of logistics activities in e-commerce and to measure customer satisfaction. According to the important findings of our research, it was examined that the choice of cargo, the ease of payment, the right product delivery and the sufficient customer service had a direct impact on the customer’s intention to repurchase.
Developing technology is constantly adding new concepts to our life. “Electronic commerce” is at the forefront of these concepts. Electronic commerce can be defined as execution of all commercial activities in electronic environment and through electronic communication and computer systems. In its simplest explanation, E-Commerce is any kind of commercial business activity in which parties communicate electronically without having to make a physical connection for distribution.
The businesses that successfully conduct e-commerce activities are in a more advantageous position than competitors. E-commerce helps businesses increase their awareness through promoting their goods or services. E-commerce is the most important force that contributes to the increase of the number of customers, not only in local markets but also in global markets. In businesses that engage in e-commerce, absence of store rentals and the decrease in personnel requirements reduce costs and increase profitability.
In the globalizing world, logistics activities are the most important factor in the realization of increasing e-commerce activities. Logistics activities used during e-commerce determine customer satisfaction and directly affect customers’ re-purchase intentions. Distribution, customer service, inventory management, order process and recycling activities are logistics activities affecting customer perception in e-commerce. As a result of the intense competition in the market, e-commerce sites try to make a difference for their customers by increasing the quality of their logistics activities in their services. These efforts include the realization of the order process, which is the beginning of the logistics processes in an effective manner, and the increase of the order quality, realization of the delivery and return process in a short time, and the improvement of the customer service quality.
The increasing use of the Internet has resulted with a rapid increase in the number of e-commerce transactions. In line with this increase, the commercial habits of customers and businesses are in a constant change. Businesses try to make a difference for the customers by increasing the quality of services in order to maintain sustainable competitiveness and competitive advantage. Logistics activities play an important role in achieving this diversity. Logistics activities provided by the businesses for customers within the scope of the services
they receive are order process, distribution, customer service, stock management and recycling. The aim of this study is to determine the role of logistics activities in e-commerce and to measure customer satisfaction.
The study highlights the impact of re-purchasing of logistics activities in e-commerce transactions conducted by students who attended E-commerce courses at Istanbul Gelisim University. The effect of logistics activities related to the intention of re-purchasing among the individuals who use e-commerce websites was investigated and attempts were made to determine the re-purchase perception in the perspective of e-commerce and logistics activities.
In its simplest sense; e-commerce can be defined as all kinds of commercial business activities that parties communicate electronically without having to establish a physical connection in distribution (Çeştepe, 2003).
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO); E-Commerce refers to the production, sales and distribution of goods and services via communication networks. According to a definition made by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “E-Commerce is a process that involves the use of individuals and institutions, based on the transfer of digital data (Ito, 2006)
E-Commerce has a widespread use in the literature, and it is synonymously used with concepts such as virtual marketing, online marketing, electronic marketing, web marketing, cyber marketing and interactive marketing. But there are some differences between e-commerce and virtual marketing. E-Commerce is defined as sharing business information and managing business relationships through communication tools. Virtual marketing, on the other hand, has a more strategic structure. In this regard, virtual marketing is a strategic process involving product presentation, distribution, pricing and promotion for the target consumers within the virtual structure of the internet (Pride and O.C, 2000).
Electronic commerce, which is constantly evolving, also causes many changes. The most important of these are the changes that take place in the market and marketplace concept. The most important thing about the commercial aspect of the Internet is the new perspective it brings for direct marketing applications. What does it mean to use the electronic medium created by connecting networks and PCs as a virtual marketplace? This concept describes the achievement of marketing goals using the power of online networks and PC communications and the power of digital interactive environments. Indeed, Internet is considered by the economists as the latest example of the free market. The fact that the market develops from local to a more global scale creates new opportunities for SMEs with different difficulties in entering the market because of the reduced barriers. (Erbaşlar and Dokur, 2008). E-Commerce is a recent phenomenon with its full speed and attractiveness and a new article, comment or statistics is published everyday and will affect all aspects of the future economy (Çürgücü, 2000).
- Logistic Activities
Logistic activities that add value to businesses have become a very important; not only because of achieving customer satisfaction but also in achieving business success by increasing efficiency of business activities realized. Achieving a high level of performance of business activities is largely dependent on logistics activities. Logistics activities have become business dynamics which are vital for all businesses, regardless of scale. The scope of these activities is considerably high for all national or international businesses. (Kayabaşı, 2010)Especially in today’s global competitive environment, it is necessary to make logistic activities efficient in order to enable businesses to gain competitive advantage and to increase their profitability (Çakaloz & Tuna, 2013).
Logistics is a process that contains various activities. It is the whole of the activities for products between the production to the consumption. These logistic activities are; (Çancı and Erdal, 2003);
- “Customer Services,
- Demand Planning,
- Order Management,
- Material and Inventory Management,
- After Sales Services,
- Purchasing and Supply,
- Transporation and Distribution,
- and Traffic management.”
The concept of customer service is the most important part of logistics activities. It covers the services that started before the sales and that continue after the sale. The level of the customer relationship of business directly affects the share of that business in the market along with its quality and its profitability.
When planning a demand in a business, multiple factors should be considered. The most important stage in that planning is “demand forecasting”. Demand forecasts determine the long-term demand for products. It will not be wise for any company to make any attempt without foreseeing the amount to be produced. When these estimates are made, data such as spare parts, raw materials, machinery, human power are used. Demand forecasting has a guiding position during the determination of such data (Kobu, 1998).
The main point of successful logistics activities today is to deliver the customers’ orders in the right place and time and in a way that will satisfy the customers. Therefore, the perfect management of orders is of vital importance for businesses (Koban and Yıldırır, 2007).
Order management has a direct impact on customer services. It is one of the keys that will make the business succeed. Establishing communication with customers and suppliers is one of the most influential aspects of order management (Orhan, 2003).
Material management is a complex process that must be conducted by the managers in the logistics sector. Therefore, all stages starting from including the required raw materials and products for production activities to processing into a final product to meet the demands of customers constitute the activities within it (Vatansever, 2005).
Packaging is all protective products used in a chain between the producer to the consumer, in order to ensure a safe transportation under appropriate conditions without any damage. Packaging is regarded as a stage that preserves the product and makes it ready for consumption (Türker, 2010).
It is an important point of logistics operations in after-sales services. Logistics companies are responsible to transport raw materials and final products, and to execute other activities. The logistics departments of businesses are not only responsible with delivery. Logistics management should also provide after-sales support for parts. Spare parts service is vital for customer satisfaction. The damaged products have to be replaced with new ones. From this perspective, after-sales services seem to be based on customer-related logistics (Stock and Lambert, 2001).
Generally, purchase and supply are used interchangeably in logistics, but they are different words in terms of meaning and scope. It is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of
purchase and supply. Purchase covers the procurement of the required product from the suppliers; supply is a more detailed and comprehensive process (Stock and Lambert, 2001).
Transport and distribution are very important in logistic activities. Transportation can also be expressed by different words such as shipping and freight in general. In logistic operations, transportation is the physical movements of the products from their centers of production to the places of consumption. This operational process includes all stages including the transfer of raw materials to the factory, transfer of the product made in the factory to the warehouse and the transfer from the warehouse to the customers. The transportation process occurs when human power, vehicles and facilities are integrated. Transportation is also a fundamental activity in the marketing process (Bamyacı, 2008).
Today, it is important to implement storage activities under faster and more suitable conditions. In order to achieve this, technologically it is necessary to have equipment suitable for the conditions. By this, the stocks can be kept under control and they will be transported quickly and accurately through handling. In order for warehouses to provide advantages for consumers; warehouses, retail locations, production sites, customs docks and various transport networks should be considered. Choosing the right and proper warehouse is the most important issue (Bamyacı, 2008).
It is the transportation of short-distance products. Handling includes transportation of the raw materials from the warehouses, stacking and loading them on the vehicles for transportation. Handling stage includes activities such as material unloading, material acceptance, careful sorting, delivery, opening packages, sorting, stacking, placing, changing the location of goods, cleaning, collecting, packing and loading (http://www.lojistik.org).
Traffic management is also one of the basic components of logistics activities. Traffic management are the collection of activities between the raw material stage and the consumption stage of all the products and collection of returned products. In this process, national, international and regional rules and regulations must be observed (Stock and Lambert, 2001).
( to be continued)
Seren Kaya Öğr.Gör., İstanbul Gelişim Üniversitesi, MYO, Lojistik Programı
Muhammed Turğut Öğr.Gör., İstanbul Gelişim Üniversitesi, MYO,Hava Lojistiği Programı