May is a time of transition. Maybe you’ve worked on your spring cleaning: out with the old, in with the new. Keeping up with the e-commerce industry is no small task. E-commerce is constantly changing, and you can’t get left behind. The month of May has been a testimony to the development of the industry, with updates in customer expectations, technology advancements, and more. How are you adapting to the changing industry amid fierce competition?
With the rise in labor costs, lack of distribution space, and the wish to avoid capital costs and requirements that come with running a business, it is no surprise that companies are recently finding themselves comparing the benefits of self-fulfillment to 3PL. There are indeed many advantages to making the switch to a 3PL, including increased distribution capabilities that can help you scale up your business. 3PL warehouses can significantly reduce shipping costs per order, and delivery time to customers, because of their ability to reach customers quicker due to strategic geographical locations. Of course, using a 3PL isn't for everyone, but it is something to consider.
#ShipTip: Read our comparison between 3PLs and self-fulfillment for businesses here.
Warehouse and fulfillment have been strained as e-commerce has grown significantly in the past few years. Same-day delivery is becoming more popular with consumers, which puts a dent in the already struggling supply chain. As e-commerce picks up and retailers work hard to keep up, micro-fulfillment has emerged as a strategy to help improve delivery times. The "warehouse of the future," or micro-fulfillment centers, help stores manage their inventory and keep up with online demand. For Walmart, micro-fulfillment has enabled last-mile delivery, increasing pickup and delivery capabilities by 20% in the last year. Micro-fulfillment also allows last-mile delivery to become more affordable and faster. For online grocery sales, micro-fulfillment is essential. A seamless shopping experience is expected by consumers in all areas of e-commerce. Last-mile shipping is how your customers get their orders. It's tricky to get right.
Cart abandonment is still a huge issue for e-commerce businesses. One of the most valuable parts of your e-commerce website should be your checkout page. When there are obstacles in the way of a customer and their purchase, they are more likely to abandon their cart. Improving your checkout page can lead to more sales and loyal customers. Be transparent about pricing upfront; avoid hidden costs so customers do not get frustrated. Adding features to your mobile sites like Apple Pay or other digital payment takes away much of the stress of adding payment information during the checkout process. Even enabling Buy Now Pay Later options helps customers leave their worries behind. Amazon has also announced its plan to extend its reach past its marketplace. This newly-launched program, which currently only supports sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon warehouses, will allow Prime members to buy items on non-Amazon e-commerce sites. Later this year, any qualified merchant will be able to put a "Buy with Prime" button on eligible items on their own e-commerce sites allowing for streamlined checkout and free delivery of items as soon as the next day.
E-commerce growth has slowed down in the last few months. From a year ago, e-commerce transactions have declined 1.8%, while in-store sales have grown 10%, reports Mastercard SpendingPulse. With the rise in inflation on online goods, prices are rising, so consumers are moving back to in-person stores and reintroducing experiences like travel into their lives. The e-commerce industry has recently been discussing concerns that the convenience offered by e-commerce may turn into an inconvenience for consumers when brands operate exclusively via the internet. Providing an alternative option for consumers who need a product immediately and are concerned about delivery times (for example, "buy online, pick up in-store") can make the difference between losing a sale to your competitors. Setting up a physical presence for your digital brand enables your e-commerce experience to remain flexible, and a hybrid shopping experience allows brands to respond to consumer expectations, such as unique brand experiences. Social commerce is also an option to keep your e-commerce business thriving and relevant in a hybrid landscape. Over 90% of social media users access their favorite platforms using a mobile device and 54% use social media to research products. Live shopping on mobile will also continue to make an appearance in e-commerce. To really make your e-commerce presence engaging, look into visual commerce. Visual commerce is adding additional content to product photos like user-generated content, interactive continent, interactive videos, and augmented reality. This will add to the customer experience online, further building into hybrid shopping.
Technology is essential to the health of the e-commerce industry, but that technology needs constant supervision and updates. Recent articles report that, unfortunately, some organizations are not investing in new technology that can assist with supply chain disruptions. In fact, only 45% of businesses have developed or invested in new digital technologies, such as cloud-based ERP and B2B e-commerce applications, according to a Syspro survey. The supply chain is still experiencing troubles for many businesses and without investment and collaboration with technology solutions, these disruptions will continue to diminish long-term growth significantly. Research also points to the growing importance of order tracking for customers. New data from Verte reveals that nearly all consumers are actively tracking their packages, with 20% of consumers tracking multiple times a day. The research also shows that consumers view package tracking from shipment to delivery as the most relevant feature when ordering online. Investing in a shipping solution like DesktopShipper takes the stress out of the shipping equation. Tracking is automated for you!