Delivery and Fulfilment used to be simply one part of the ecommerce experience. But a new demand from customers for better, more intelligent delivery emerged. Now consumers expect to buy online with speed, flexibility and to change their mind at any moment. Not only do they want smooth, fast and reliable deliveries, they also expect easy returns and plenty of information along the way. This explosion in customer expectation has meant that retailers have had to improve their delivery offerings. They have to embrace new technologies and to implement best practise. The quality of E-fulfillment Services is now more important than ever.
E-fulfillment Services and Delivery Options
The focus for most retailers still seems to be the final impression point with the customer. 39% of retailers said that the highest focus on improvement for them was improving the quality of service from carrier partners. Convenient delivery is definitely a key point for customers. Better communication and tracking is also now a big focus. Narrow delivery windows and next day delivery are now expected from most retailers. For 46% of retailers, next day home delivery is their most important delivery option.
Keeping your customers for marketing and budgeting reasons is very important as well. Customer acquisition is 5 times more expensive than customer retention. It is therefore not in any retailer’s interest to lose his customers. Therefore creating smart E-fulfillment services in order to meet and even surpass customers’ expectations should be a focus for everyone. Although for most retailers that means that providing such an efficient and convenient service is unsustainable if free for the customer. But quality comes at a price and raising delivery fees for better standards could definitely be a smart move.
Dealing with Returns
If receiving the product quickly is a very important, the same thing goes with returning it. Returns are now seen as an opportunity to build loyalty. Retailers can encourage alternative sales and please the customer through a fast and easy returns process. To make your customers happy and deliver an optimum buying experience, they should both be able to purchase and return products at the click of a button. Optimizing this area of the customers’ experience is particularly important during peak periods.
Setting up a return portal in order to be aware as soon as a customer logs in is usually a good idea. In such a fast-paced, constantly evolving, world staying on top means always being a step ahead of your customers’ needs and actions.
Could Automation be the Solution?
Because improving delivery, collection and returns is key, automation is a popular solution. Many retailers have now adopted automated warehousing solutions in order to deal with these issues. Even though it is mostly popular with large businesses, there are options at a lower level to satisfy every size. How efficient the warehouse itself is and how quickly and efficiently goods can be picked, packed and dispatched matters a lot.
Automation innovation is happening in all areas of retailers’ warehouses from goods receiving to order fulfilment, sortation, cross docking and consolidation and shipping. This makes warehouse operations more efficient and accurate. And it enables retailers to fulfil orders smarter than ever.