As we move into the second month of Q2, it is time to look back at the top e-commerce news stories from April.
Trade Shows Are BACK! So, What Did We Learn?
The biggest themes at trade shows include social commerce, the metaverse, the supply chain, reverse logistics, and meeting customer expectations.
The DesktopShipper team enjoyed a frenzied few weeks in Las Vegas and Orlando as we gathered with thousands of e-commerce professionals at Shoptalk, one of the industry's largest conferences, and Ecommerce Operations Technology Summit, a tech-focused conference covering the latest technology trends in e-commerce such as robotics, automation, sustainability, and last-mile delivery. The exhibit halls and DesktopShipper booths buzzed with excitement. Between the showcasing of innovative technology and the pleasant conversations with partners, customers, and old friends - there was an overwhelming sense of "We're so glad to see you again!"
Technological advances, consumer behavior, and economic conditions have changed significantly over the course of the pandemic. This led to a variety of topics discussed at both conferences, including sustainability and resilience of supply chains, and even cryptocurrency and the Metaverse. In addition, there were extensive discussions on how consumers discover, shop for, and purchase products.
Using Technology to Enhance Customer Experience
Consumer experience is becoming more critical to the retail industry than ever before. In an attempt to provide consumers with an exceptional online experience, many are looking to technology integrations. Retailers require solutions that will allow them to improve the online customer experience, as the customer journey is of utmost importance. The customer must be able to find what they need easily and have it delivered to them as quickly as possible.
Here are 5 of the biggest themes e-commerce trade shows are analyzing this year:
+ The Supply Chain: While there have been some signs of improvement in the supply chain, it is still far from being back to normal. As supply chains continue to experience uncertainty in the foreseeable future, it will become increasingly imperative for businesses to remain agile. Retailers need technology that enables them to pivot quickly as circumstances change. By examining different fulfillment options and optimizing warehouse efficiency, retailers can achieve this. Many people discussed the use of warehouse robots and how implementing them would enable more efficient and accurate picking, without replacing workers. Additionally, many looked at how to use brick-and-mortar stores to fill e-commerce requirements, allowing for fast delivery as well as access to in-stock merchandise.
+ Social Commerce: Customers today expect their relationship with a brand to extend through all of their interactions with a retailer, appearing in multiple, personalized touchpoints to ensure they spend their money and time wisely. Brands and retailers are leveraging data to enhance customer personalization and find innovative ways to increase repeat business. Live streaming was heavily discussed as a unique opportunity for companies to do just that. Incorporating a live element creates a sense of community, which in turn encourages impulse purchases. Live streams are popular among customers who desire to participate in a conversation in real-time, and businesses can capitalize on this desire by providing unique products in a live setting where people will not want to miss out on the opportunity to participate.
+ The Metaverse: There was a great deal of hype surrounding the metaverse and as it develops, consumers will be able to interact much more directly with sellers and other customers from the comfort of their homes. Within a virtual store environment, users will be able to browse for products, experience how the products work, and purchase them electronically. One of the biggest developments in the fashion industry has been the implementation of virtual dressing rooms to assist with determining fit and reduce returns. Despite some apprehension about selling in the metaverse, it will inevitably prove to be a valuable tool for attracting a new generation of consumers.
+ Reverse Logistics: The returns process is often treated as an afterthought by many retailers, but it is a very significant part of the business. An emphasis was put on implementing reverse logistics as a way to increase profits and lead to happier guests. Considering the increase in online shopping, it wasn't surprising that we saw an increase in returns as customers purchase online. The total value of returns reached $760 billion in 2021. The reasons for this were mostly due to consumers purchasing multiples of the same item because they wanted to check the size or felt the product did not live up to expectations. Additionally, many retailers no longer consider returned items to be "as-new," which means they are either disposed of in landfills or sold at steep discounts in other places. As more consumers are shifting focus to sustainability, retailers must approach reverse differently by reselling as much returned or overstock merchandise as possible, and communicating as much information about the products as necessary before the point of purchase.
+ Meeting Customer Expectations: When it comes to e-commerce, convenience and speed remain the most significant factors. In both conferences, a clear message emerged that consumers desire choices and that retailers must meet their expectations by offering expedited delivery services such as same-day, next-day, and 2-day. Not only that, but they expect it for free. So, how can retailers pivot? While some are looking to utilize brick-and-mortar stores as fulfillment centers, others are turning to third-party logistic (3PL) warehouses. Those looking to keep shipping in-house continue to search for stackable technology to increase their output. E-commerce has a constant need for adaptation and innovation, but prioritizing customers will never go away.
It is imperative that online sellers pay close attention to how new technologies and practices can be integrated into their existing operations. There are major advantages to utilizing a shipping solution, like DesktopShipper to keep up with current trends. DesktopShipper allows users to process orders quickly, ensuring the cheapest rates available by utilizing our Real-time Rate-Shopping tool. Retailers can also automate shipping with marketplace carrier mapping. This intuitive feature allows sellers to take a shipping method (regardless of delivery time) and map it to a specific service or service group with distinct preferences that make sense for your orders. This process ensures that the customer receives their item via their chosen route while saving the retailer money in the process. Gain a competitive advantage in a world where buyers want free and fast shipping, increase your speed and expand your business through other channels with the assistance of our team.