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E-fulfilment in Flanders

Logistics makes the difference in e-commerce. An extensive offering and a finely-tuned web shop have become a matter of course. Fast, correct and reliable delivery is how you truly differentiate your e-business and make it profitable these days. Flanders has the long-standing expertise to help you build a modern supply chain that fits the needs of the e-market and turn your e-commerce company into an e-fulfilment business.

Flanders’ e-market at a glance

  • 9th-most attractive e-market (A.T. Kearney, 2015)
  • € 8.2 billion turnover in Belgium in 2015
  • 6.9 million online shoppers out of 11.2 million Belgians
  • € 1,234 spent online per person in 2015

An ideal location for a profitable e-business

Flanders is situated in the heart of Europe, the world’s 2nd-largest achiever in terms of e-commerce turnover. Some of the biggest e-countries are only a hop away. Just across the border, you’ll tap into the e-consumer bases of the UK (#3 in the 2015 Global Retail E-commerce Index), Germany (#5) and France (#6). According to Ecommerce Europe, these nations account for 61% of the European B2C e-commerce market – and Flanders is right in the middle of this e-buying frenzy. Cross-border sales being on the rise, e-companies in the region are bound to reap the rewards of market proximity.

Even more, Flanders’ own e-commerce market has high potential as well. The 2015 Global Retail E-commerce Index ranked Belgium, and Flanders as a region, as the 9th-most attractive e-market – praising its e-commerce growth potential and infrastructure.

Innovation ecosystem for modern supply chains

E-fulfilment calls for drastic changes in your supply chain and customer care services – not only to make sure that products ordered in an online shop are delivered on time, but also to manage returned goods efficiently and cost-effectively. In Flanders, your e-business can count on innovation support to mediate these challenges and enable next-generation supply chains.

A tight network of e-fulfilment services suppliers

In e-commerce, it’s survival of the fastest and most cost-effective. In Flanders, low transport costs and short time-to-e-market not only have our central location to thank; our region is also home to a tight network of the main global package delivery firms – such as FedEx, DHL and UPS – as well as pick-up/drop-off players. In addition, numerous 3PL and 4PL logistics services providers have a base here. Think of ABX, Katoen Natie, Kuehne+Nagel, Essers, Menlo, Caterpillar Logistics and XPO.

Local courier providers, like Bubble Post, as well as postal company bpost enjoy a strong reputation for fast and reliable delivery in Flanders. The region is also home to dynamic e-fulfilment players that offer automated warehouse management solutions and complete e-logistics services – from web order management, stocking and order picking to shipping, returns management and reporting. Think of WebShip, BME, VdH, B2C Europe, ePack, SprintPack, Appleberg, Dynalogic, DistriMedia and Bleckmann – to give only a handful examples.

Cutting-edge yet affordable infrastructure

Vast multi- and intermodal potential

Multi- and intermodal transport have become key ingredients for efficient logistics, enabling companies to cash out on their e-fulfilment ambitions. Flanders’ infrastructure has your back. Packed in a relatively small area, our four international airports and four seaports help you source your goods efficiently. Our interconnected inland waterways allow you to haul them to your distribution center. And our railroads and highways network – #1 worldwide in terms of density – empower you to ensure prompt deliveries.

Distribution centers everywhere

With its top-notch, centrally-located infrastructure, Flanders’ popularity as a distribution hub should come as no surprise. In fact, no fewer than 800 European Distribution Centers can be found in an area of only of 13,522 km²: the highest density of EDCs in Europe. Many of these centers offer third-party services to help you boost your e-commerce logistics.

Nike is building the supply chain of the future in Flanders

In February 2017, American sports articles retailer Nike announced a new investment in its European Logistics Campus in Flanders, the 6th consecutive expansion since its establishment in 1994. The new site will support Nike’s ambition of doubling its worldwide direct-to-consumer sales by 2020.

“Every two years, we carry out an intensive study to pinpoint the most profitable location for us to set up a base in Europe,” says Filip Peeters, HR Director at Nike in Ham (Flanders). “Our main criterion: how can we serve our customers in the best possible way with optimal timing? Every time, the outcome of the study is that we should stay in Flanders.

Learn more about Nike’s success in Flanders.

All the talent at hand

All of Flanders’ universities offer dedicated bachelor’s and master’s courses that endow students with relevant skills in e-sales, e-marketing and multi-, cross- and omni-channel supply chains.

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