Ecommerce fulfilment and delivery has become an important focal point for retailers in recent years. With innovative technology and new product offerings, such as Click and Collect, changing consumer expectations, the benchmark is now set higher than ever before. With parcel tracking, designated day, next day and same day delivery the norm, managing the complexities of your fulfilment cycle can impact the entire company in more ways than you think.
A seemingly untameable beast that business and operational managers are left to contend with, a poor delivery service is one of the most common complaints made by consumers. So what’s the solution? With the advent of the cloud, shipping software providers have become more agile to serve the demanding delivery needs of consumers. Integrated with your ecommerce platform, many shipping platforms now offer a direct link to your carriers to enable a seamless fulfilment process.
The importance of shipping management
While it may seem obvious, sometimes the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to understanding just how important this service is. For customers, delivery can be the deciding factor between two retailers, and for retailers, it can be the difference between success and failure.
As a consumer yourself you probably already have an idea of how influential delivery can be on a customer’s shopping experience and purchase behaviour. In fact, over half of all shoppers say they have decided not to complete an order because the delivery options didn’t meet their needs. The retailer failing to guarantee a certain delivery date had 30% of shoppers going elsewhere, while 44% bought elsewhere due to lengthy delivery times.
These numbers are even more relevant as we enter the holiday season. When it comes to buying gifts, especially last-minute ones, people are even more unwilling to compromise on delivery dates. An alarming 45% of shoppers have abandoned their basked due to unsatisfactory delivery options. At a time of year when retailers expect to take home the bulk of their yearly earnings, a poor shipping service could undermine revenue with disappointing conversion rates and weak customer retention.
With the number of ecommerce retailers increasing every year, no one can afford to ignore consumer demands. If you can’t meet delivery expectations, someone else will. It’s no surprise then that 66% of shoppers have reported choosing one retailer over another based on their delivery options. Not only are retailers risking the wrath of customers, they could be driving them straight into their competitor’s arms. Failing to remain competitive and losing market share to other industry players puts the entire business in jeopardy.
Investing in shipping management software is simply the smartest move for business efficiency. Attempting to meet the shipping demands of shoppers without the right infrastructure in place can put serious strain on the business, affecting everything from operational efficiency to cost-effectiveness. Poor management of the process risks poor customer satisfaction and disorganised business functions that can have a knock-on effect on other areas. Plus, with cancelled orders and mismanagement costing money at every turn, the costs can quickly spiral out of control.
The benefits of shipping management
The importance of delivery in today’s world is undeniable, but investing in shipping software to manage your offering provides a whole range of benefits to both customers and retailers. The capabilities of modern shipping management allow you to meet customers’ expectations while managing your own business needs at every stage of the order and delivery process.
Wider choice and convenience
It goes without saying that more choice and convenience is often top of the customer expectation list in terms of delivery. Whether it’s looking across borders to find the perfect product or wanting to choose the exact time and place for their delivery, shoppers want shipping to fit into their schedules.
Small businesses can compete with industry giants and differentiate themselves by improving the convenience of their services. Offer customers a more personalised experience by providing a choice of popular delivery options including collection point and drop-off networks and, click-and-collect for omnichannel retailers. Plus, improve the convenience of your basic home delivery service with nominated day and time delivery.
Shipping management software can also provide an important path to growth. In a world seemingly smaller than ever, even SMEs can look overseas to expand their audience and affordably grow their business. With a central hub of hundreds of international couriers and a parcel-by-parcel system that uses product details, stock availability and location to keep costs in line with business requirements, good shipping software can connect customers from all over the world to your products.
End to end experience
When it comes to their purchase all customers want to be informed and this stands true for delivery with 58% of consumers checking their order status at least twice and 88% using SMS, email or apps to keep updated. While convenience and choice are shipping favourites, up to date tracking information is the second most important consideration for consumers. Customers clearly demand transparency, and by doing so retailers can hope to nurture the trust needed to forge valuable customer relationships.
With the latest carrier management platforms, you can benefit from integrations with multiple carriers in one setup. Acting as a central hub for couriers that collectively use thousands of different status events, multi-carrier platforms provide retailers with the ability to streamline delivery and provide consistent end-to-end tracking regardless of the carrier.
Providing retailers with the ability to print labels for each carrier direct, many will provide you with the tracking information needed for customers to track parcels online, by email or even by SMS, offering complete transparency.
Of course, the customer experience doesn’t always stop after delivery. Returns are increasingly becoming an important shipping feature for consumers, with 76% checking the returns options before making a purchase. It’s not just customers that stand to benefit from this service either. A better-managed returns process can mean improved efficiency and significant cost savings for retailers. As an after-purchase service, however, this step is often left to optimise last, if at all.
Shipping management software that is integrated with your website can improve the returns process by allowing customers to print their own label and return via post or collection point. As well as having complete tracking and control over the returns to optimise for cost efficiency, expect to save on costly courier pick-ups.
Insights and optimisation
Like any service or business decision, shipping and delivery can only be optimised with valuable insights from detailed data. By tracking costs and information for every order in a central location, shipping management software can connect retailers with all the information they need ensure they are using the best and most cost-effective couriers. Customer service teams can use order history and reports to improve their own offering, while customer insights can be used to make changes that better meet the needs of the customers and the business.
Integrated shipping management
Of course, shipping management can’t function by itself. Without access to ecommerce and order management data, shipping software simply can’t provide the accurate, real-time information needed to execute vital businesses processes. From stock availability and product details that help to determine courier and costs, to returns label printing and informative data insights. The enhanced and personalised delivery offering retailers seek requires customer, inventory, accounting and omnichannel data from various back office systems.
As an any point cloud integration platform Mothercloud is perfect for retailers with a range of disparate cloud applications. From your ecommerce platform to your latest shipping management software, the Mothercloud platform ensures all your back-office systems can work together to perform vital business processes and streamlined workflows. With some of the world’s leading cloud applications already available on the network, Mothercloud can connect all your current applications and meet your future needs as your business grows.