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  • Data quality in e-commerce: using data to optimize your own logistics

Data quality

Data quality in e-commerce: using data to optimize your own logistics

Data quality in e-commerce

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Data quality in logistics: Your success factor

In cross-border shipping, the data quality must be top, otherwise it will be really difficult with your international expansion.

Clean data has an extremely large influence on the delivery time of your goods and on the customer journey of your customers - and thus also on your costs and your profit! 

When it comes to optimizing shipping, we have a say. Therefore: It is worthwhile to read on.

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What data is at stake?

Here are the three data types in the overview:

  • Product data
  • Order/shipping data
  • Customs clearance data and documents

Poor Data Vicious Cycle

The vicious circle begins with bad or even missing data. 

Example: A company has insufficient product master data in its ERP/PIM and the order data is of poor quality. This automatically leads to errors in order processing and therefore of course also in the Pick & Pack. It can happen that a product will be sent to the wrong customer. Unpleasant.


Delays in customs clearance are the result

Another problem: customs clearance. If the data of package A is reported to customs, but package B is shipped, the logical consequence is a delay in customs clearance. 

Another example: The reported weights do not match the real ones. A small numerical deviation that has fatal consequences: extra work, loss of time, extra costs.


Delivery delays frustrate your customers

Delivery delays and incorrect data (including, for example, a wrong address) quickly cause major problems with delivery. The result? Your customer is annoyed. And rightly so!


Bad customer reviews are bad for the image

This results in a higher rate of returns, which is badvery bad for a well-running business. And because disappointed customers rarely keep their frustration to themselves, bad customer reviews hail down. Your image suffers.

A bad image is reflected in the sales figures in no time at all. And these, in turn, have an impact on company resources, i.e. on headcount.


Your human resources are affected

Let's spin the vicious circle a little further: less available human resources will prevent data quality from improving in the medium and long term. And the whole thing starts all over again...

The exit from this Poor Data Vicious Cycle starts with correct data. And right from the start. Because to adapt or complete them afterwards is not that easy anymore and means an enormous effort.


  • Pro tip:
    Ensure high data quality in logistics right from the start. It is vital to success!decisive for the match!


Let us now turn to the types of data mentioned at the beginning, which are important when sending data across borders. Let us start with the first, the product data.


Product data in cross-border e-commerce

  • Exact article description
    • It is important for the smooth processing of customs clearance. The description should be written in the language of the destination country - or in English.
  • Unique article number
  • Price
    • When the merchant sends the goods with the DDP Incoterms, he will show his prices including taxes and customs duties in the web shop. For customs clearance, however, net prices must be stated. This means without customs duties, without taxes, but including transport costs. Finally, the customs authorities levy taxes and customs duties based on the value transmitted. If the merchant incorrectly states gross prices (including taxes and customs duties), he is paying too much.
    • You have to be careful with special promotions with free goods. Values of CHF 0.00 cause problems with customs clearance. Consequence: The goods can remain blocked until the correct value is available.
  • Country of origin
    • This information is essential for customs clearance and influences the rate of duty. EU goods, for example, can be imported into Switzerland duty-free. Please note: A wrong country of origin in the customs declaration is considered a false declaration and will cause problems in the event of any returns.
  • Weight (this is important for shipping to Switzerland)
    • Switzerland is the only country that has a weight tariff. This is the reason why all imported articles must be marked with the correct weight. The Swiss customs requires net and gross weight. Note: The gross weight is decisive for the customs rate. You can find out more about the customs regulations of Switzerland here
  • HS code (it is important for shipping to Switzerland)
    • It is not possible to send goods to Switzerland without ana HS code. Swiss HS codes are based on the internationally valid Harmonized System (HS) and are eight-digit numbers that can be found in the Swiss Tares system. It is crucial that you have the correct HS code in your database. 
  • VOC information (if necessary)
    • Some articles are subject to incentive taxes on volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This mostly concerns cosmetics or cleaning agents. The incentive tax is CHF 3.00/kg. If the retailer does not indicate the exact VOC content of his articles, he will be charged the full amount. This means CHF 3 on the total weight of the article and not on the actual VOC value.
  • Alcohol information (if necessary)

Order/shipping data in online trade

Good PIM data is one thing. The other is the data quality in the order area. At the checkout, the retailer has to make sure that he obtains the correct customer data.

First of all, it must be clear whether the purchaser is a private individual or a company. If a private person orders but wishes delivery to his place of work, this must be clearly indicated in the address fields. Otherwise, there will be problems with customs clearance, which will result in delivery delays. If it is not clear to customs that a private person is behind the order, they will classify the items as B2B items and handle them differently.

In addition, the address has to meet the specification of the destination country. For example, the field for the postcode must be adapted because not every country has four-digit numbers as in Switzerland.

  • Pro tip:
    Rely on online tools for address checking. This way, the buyer immediately receives a message that something is wrong if he or she types in the wrong address. This way you avoid that deliveries cannot be delivered. This has a positive effect on the shipping costs.


Customs clearance data and documents for optimized e-commerce logistics

In addition to the normal customs clearance data such as HS codes and weight, correctly completed sales invoices are required. This is because customs carries out spot checks, so the trader must be able to present correct invoices. Otherwise, the goods are again at risk of being blocked at customs. 

  • Pro tip:
    Check that the content of the invoice corresponds exactly to the content of the customs declaration.

For some products, the trader must also be able to present various certificates or authorisation numbers to customs (for example CITES certificates). This guarantees that the goods are delivered smoothly.


Data quality in online trade: our conclusion

Cross Border e-commerce is interesting. But it also increases the complexity of logistics. Before you want to conquer an export market, we recommend that you take a close look at which data is critical for success in shipping.

If you consider all points for a shipping optimization, there will be no delays and you will make your customers happy. And that alone counts for success.

Still having some questions? Let's answer them!

Data quality in e-commerce is one of the critical success factors. You should therefore pay very special attention to them. Because they have a direct influence on your profit. We will tell you why here.