2020 was undoubtedly a whirlwind. From economics to social change, no one can doubt that 2020 will go down in history. During this time, there were many transitions to the world of e-commerce too. Consumer spending has changed, consumer behavior has changed, and according to BigEcommerce, “E-commerce will make up 22% of global retail sales and reach $740B in revenue by 2023.” Online retail spending has escalated quicker than initially projected, leading to companies refocusing their online sales efforts. With the focus on web-based retailing, companies must look at their supply chain to meet consumer demands.
Fulfillment Trends for 2021:
CX or customer experience is an essential part of any retail experience. With consumers moving online, it is crucial to give customers the best CX. Many things make up a CX strategy, but your company should consider focusing on shipping time, ease of return, ease of check out, projecting consumer demand, and consumer access to support. Whatever your CX strategy and focus might be, it is essential to establish meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs help your company measure the effectiveness of your CX through quality, accuracy, and timeliness. When your company can increase your KPI’s, you ensure that your CX is successful and increase sales.
#ShipTip: KPI’s are crucial but hearing from consumers is also important. Surveys and customer reviews are another great way to increase your CX. Merely listening to a customer can improve CX and build consumer trust.
A perfect omnichannel site allows for the consumer to do multiple actions on one platform. Ensuring consumers can shop, check out, purchase, and return all on one website is a crucial part of a 2021 logistical strategy. Even if you are a company that sells on multiple platforms, you should be focusing on a smooth process for consumers.
Creating an omnichannel logistical strategy is excellent for your customers and great for your fulfillment strategy. An omnichannel logistical strategy allows for product availability and inventory levels to be consistently updated and correct. When you offer omnichannel shopping, you can offer various delivery options and ensure shipping and returns are consistent and straightforward.
Bridging the Online/Offline Gap
When COVID-19 restrictions started, companies had to shift and focus online quickly. With a rapid jump to online, companies had to scramble to set up the infrastructure. The temporary solution that worked in the beginning is no longer working.
In a temporary crunch, companies chose to fulfill orders in their stores that were closed to the public. Now that stores have reopened, they can no longer fulfill as many orders. To avoid significant congestion, companies should lean on fulfillment companies and warehouses. Both B2B and D2C companies outsource their shipping to ensure speed and reliability for their consumers. Micro-fulfillment centers that can store, pack, and ship products are also a great solution to avoid congestion.
Real-Time Visibility for Consumers
Real-time visibility for consumers consists of omnichannel fulfillment and e-commerce. Companies should focus on managing a system integration to help keep consumers happy and fulfillment organized. Using a multi-node distribution network allows for consumers to see real-time data on the inventory. It also helps companies gather data on product sales and distribution.
As you start to perfect your order fulfillment options, it is vital to reevaluate profitability. Cost metrics for every product will vary based on multiple factors. Data capture across different systems and operational processes will help accurately measure cost drivers and profitability margins. Combining real-time inventory with margin management, you can build custom deal structures that increase average order value. When you can manage your margins, you can better plan for inventory and marketing to customers.
The people have spoken, and they want personalization! Consumers, pre-pandemic, enjoyed going into the stores to get that personalized experience. Even though consumers were forced online, they are still yearning for that same experience. How can e-commerce shops support different ways to personalize? Through packaging, style, size, embroidery, engraving, and so much more.
Don't forget that consumers expect fast turnaround and shipping speed. Although personalizing products can add delivery time, keep the customer informed before purchasing the product, and be transparent about all the steps in the process. If personalization causes a significant delay, try a different approach to personalization.
This term refers to going above and beyond regular shipping. With consumers buying large, heavy items online, there is a growing demand for final mile services. White-Glove Services are generally specific to specialized items that need to be installed or have a person be present during delivery. Instead of scheduling the delivery or installation in stores, consumers are expecting to get it done online. If your products require this service, you have to give that option during check out.
Supply Chain Diversification
Before 2020, a majority of companies only relied on one carrier for their shipping needs. Since then, online orders have increased, causing carriers to raise prices and putting shipping limits on individual companies, companies were forced to add more carriers to their supply chain.
Casting a wider carrier net allows your company to meet all your customers’ demands and work to give them the best service. On top of getting more carriers on your shipping roster are moving products to multiple fulfillment centers throughout the country. This allows customers to get products quicker and for your company to reduce shipping costs associated with distance. Diversifying your supply chain will help in multiple ways, from your back end to your customers.
Shipping is, without a doubt, one of the priciest parts of e-commerce. Small parcel pricing strategies are complex, inflated, and implemented with little notice. This year it is crucial to develop parcel strategies that help you pivot within your supply chain. With Q1 being slower in retail, it is good to optimize your shipping portfolio, allowing you to quickly adjust to new restrictions and pricing changes. Explore smaller carriers, local carriers, and niche carriers.
Fulfillment is one of the trickiest and most time-consuming parts of e-commerce. Automation comes in many forms. Though many companies have implemented robotic automation, shipping and order management automation is a great way to increase productivity and reliability. Shipping solutions, such as DesktopShipper, allows you to automate your shipping services and spend more time on other parts of your business. If you are currently using CSV forms to ship to your consumers, then it is time to commit to a shipping solution!
2021 has allowed companies to take stock of the massive e-commerce growth that came last year. Analyze your supply chain and look for ways to streamline your shipping. Small parcel shipping can be a headache. Reduce your headaches with these fulfillment strategies.