How to manage your eCommerce supply chain as an online business
To manage your supply chain as an online business, you’ll first need to decide on the shipping rates you’ll offer customers. You may choose to offer real-time shipping rates, self-calculated shipping rates, or custom shipping rates per product.
You can then calculate the shipping times customers can expect from your business. Delivery timeframes and how you send order updates both impact whether a customer will choose to shop with you online.
The Business Intelligence report on Customer Experience found that small businesses consistently underestimate the importance of providing customers with both shipping times and order status updates. The research found that:
- 80% of consumers surveyed think delivery times are essential, compared to 55% of businesses.
- 78% of customers value status updates on their orders, while only 42% of businesses think these are worthwhile.
This research demonstrates the importance of keeping customers informed when they shop with you. So, if you’re an online business with an eCommerce store it’s worth reviewing your delivery processes so you can better meet customer expectations.
Keep reading for tips on how you can help to streamline your shipping processes to give your customers the delivery experience they’re looking for.
Make the most of delivery management software
Delivery management software, also referred to as shipping software, can simplify your shipping process and help you navigate any disruptions.
Delivery management solutions can:
- consolidate your tracking information,
- set you up with automated shipping and returns processes
- provide your customers with real-time status updates.
But with countless options available, how do you know what provider is best for your business and your customers? A good place for small businesses to start is with Shippit, a shipping platform that streamlines your delivery process. Other delivery management software systems include:
Give your customers multiple shipping options
Shipping speeds can play a big part in your customer satisfaction. According to the Customer Experience report, 80% of consumers surveyed say that shipping time is important to them. Ben Franzi, Australia Post’s General Manager of Parcel and Express Services, puts it well: “Customers are looking for convenience for both delivery and returns.”
To address this customer expectation as a small or medium sized brand, there are a few cost-effective options you can offer those who shop with your online business.
Express shipping can be expensive, but it’s also an excellent option for customers who may want to receive their parcel in a hurry. One way to offset the cost of this service is to charge extra for express postage. This way, your customers can get their parcel sooner without leaving your business out of pocket for the extra shipping costs.
Click and collect
Click and collect, sometimes referred to as in-store pick-up, allows customers to collect their order from a shopfront, rather than waiting for it to be delivered to their address. Basically, once they’ve placed their order online, they’ll receive a notification when the purchase is ready for collection. Since there’s no delivery fee attached, click and collect can reduce costs for everyone involved. It also gives you the opportunity to interact with your customers – something you can’t do with orders that are placed online and delivered by a third-party delivery provider.
Authority to leave
When you give your customers the option of ‘authority to leave’, they can give your delivery provider permission to leave their parcel regardless of whether or not they are home. So, if your customer is out at the time of delivery, their parcel will simply be left in a safe place at their address. This way, there’s no waiting around and no need to make a trip to the post office for their parcel pick-up.
Communicate with your customers
Keeping customers up-to-date on the delivery status of their items is essential to making their experience with your eCommerce business a positive one. Research has found that giving your customers status updates with a realistic idea of their product’s location and its expected arrival is important.
In fact, according to the Customer Experience report, 78% of consumers find order updates valuable. Despite this, only 42% of small businesses believe that such messages are important.
So, to make sure you’re delivering on customer expectations, it’s worth considering the ways you can keep online shoppers informed as you process their orders.
One option is to create automated status updates on all your deliveries. This function is often built into delivery provider platforms. It’s a great way to let your customers know when to expect their order without relying on your time.
If you run into problems, it’s important to be keep customers informed as best you can. If global issues that are out of your control disrupt your delivery times, get ahead of the problem by notifying your customers to help you manage expectations. You can do this by acknowledging the delay on your website and social media feeds.
If an order arrives late, you could also consider offering your customers a consolation, such as a refund on their delivery fee. In any case, keeping your customers informed helps your online business to reduce complaints and build brand loyalty.
In a time of uncertainty, providing a diverse range of shipping speeds and accurate status updates is a great way to build trust with your customers. The sooner you find a delivery solution that works for your business, the easier it is to navigate any supply chain process disruptions that may arise.
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