Technology continues to impact business and industry. Over the last two decades, the traditional model of in-store shopping has been replaced by e-commerce, a trend which has forced major retailers and others to reconsider how they conduct business. E-commerce, mobile technology, and social media drive this shift in customer behavior and expectations for businesses, particularly retailers. The retail industry itself is constantly striving to meet growing consumer demands for online convenience and expedited shipping.
Customers Want Fast, Free Delivery Options
Customers who have taken advantage of free, same-day, or express shipping options when making purchases online now come to anticipate that they’ll have these choices available every time they shop. Having materials delivered quickly, conveniently, and at no additional cost makes foregoing a brick-and-mortar shopping trip appealing. For businesses, fast, inexpensive shipping isn’t a nice-to-have offering—it’s a necessity.
In addition to a selection of shipping options, customers want to be able to pick up their online orders directly from a retailer or select a specific time period for delivery. Shipping flexibility remains a priority, and consumers are often willing to pay extra to have their orders delivered to them at times that may fall outside traditional delivery hours.
Approximately 88% of respondents in a Delivering Consumer Choice: State of E-Commerce survey declared that they track the status of their orders online. This demand for consumer awareness and transparency throughout the shipping process challenges businesses to stay competitive to meet this expectation while managing their costs.
Businesses Face the Need to Respond to Consumer Shipping Demands
A survey conducted by Internet Retailer and Bizrate Insights revealed that more than 50% of respondents rated free shipping as being more important than fast shipping for their purchases. Forty-seven percent felt that free delivery and fast shipping were both important, while a mere 2.5% said that fast shipping is more important to them. Regardless, 90% of survey respondents reported that they are willing to wait longer for an online order delivery if they can obtain free shipping.
How can businesses keep up with these consumer shipping preferences logistically without impacting their profits? Businesses that can handle bulk shipment volume can attempt to negotiate discounted shipping rates from their carriers such as FedEx and UPS. Additionally, partnerships with Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) can further enable businesses to respond to consumer expectations, but this arrangement limits custom packaging or the ability to generate follow-up sales with customers.
Tech Innovations Optimize Product Handling and Shipping
Businesses can use warehouse inventory management software for reliability with their shipping solutions. Robust warehouse inventory management software can assist with accurately managing product flow from picking and packing to printing carrier labels and packing slips.
Managing transportation spend also remains a significant concern for businesses. Shipment Trackers has maintained a mission to help businesses reduce their transportation costs and identify sources for found money, such as refunds for late deliveries, lost shipments, and surcharge corrections. We achieve this mission for our clients by seamlessly collecting UPS and FedEx shipping and invoice data to provide auditing, consulting, modeling, and reporting.
Shipment Trackers continues to invest in innovation. Its technologies provide online, interactive dashboards to analyze package data, identify trends for improvement, and create enhanced data visualizations. These investments in technology give Shipment Trackers the ability to create fully customizable parcel tracking solutions in addition to its complement of service offerings:
- Small package service audit and recovery.
- LTL and TL audit and freight cost optimization.
- Invoice consolidation, payment, and GL coding.
- Carrier contract audit and consultation.
A comprehensive offering of accounting, automation, fulfillment, inventory, POS, and shipping tools are only some of the many resources businesses can rely on to streamline their operations and compete for shipping advantages in today’s consumer marketplace.