Online shoppers often need both free shipping and quick delivery. Consider that in May 2016, AlixPartners, a renowned consulting company, reported ecommerce transport expectations for American online shoppers that were or weren’t members of Amazon Prime.
Approximately a quarter (24 percent) of Amazon Prime associates and 15 percent of shoppers who weren’t Prime members anticipated online orders with free delivery to take two days or less to arrive, including both the time it requires a merchant to process the order and the time it takes the carrier to transport it.
A vast majority of the online shoppers surveyed anticipated free shipments to take five days or less to be delivered, again including not only the transit period but the merchant’s order processing period, also.
AlixPartners reported that a vast majority of shoppers expect fast and free ecommerce transport.
The cost of not meeting clients’ expectations for fast shipping might be high. UPS and comScore, the trend-tracking company, reported in 2016 that one in three online shoppers made the choice to purchase from an internet market — think Amazon — instead of another retailer because of quicker delivery.
Online businesses not delivering fast may be dropping new and repeat sales.
Procedure Agreements Effectively
Ecommerce retailers have a couple of methods to deal with fast and free delivery and the customer expectations related to them. Shops might choose different service levels from a carrier (for example, second-day air versus ground shipping) or utilize distributed warehouses and fulfillment centers to place products near likely customers.
A mid-sized or bigger merchant might attempt to negotiate special rates with a carrier to cancel more expensive shipping procedures or use techniques like zone bypassing. Or sellers could simply concentrate on the region of the delivery procedure they have the most control over. They could concentrate on making the time from when an order is placed until when it leaves the warehouse as brief as possible.
Again, this order-processing period is often completely in your company’s control and it may have a substantial effect on when an order is delivered.
Here’s an example.
Imagine that you have an order come in at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Your warehouse is simply closing down for the night, so the order, which is bound to get a customer five zones off, is not processed until Wednesday. The order takes three times in transit but is not delivered until Monday since the carrier you selected doesn’t provide Saturday delivery on ground shipments.
From your client’s perspective, this arrangement took a week to get there. If the customer anticipated the order to arrive in just a few days, there was a service failure.
If, however, your warehouse had picked, packed, and dropped off the order with the carrier on Tuesday evening, the arrangement could have arrived in your client’s home on Friday, three days earlier.
Fixing and Streamlining Order Processing
Carrying this case forward, it’s probable that the merchant could have, in actuality, sent this 5:00 p.m. order on Tuesday.
Many carriers will accept bundle drop-offs until 6:00 p.m. on weeknights. So an ecommerce merchant might schedule warehouse workers (or at least a part of them) from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. as opposed to the more conventional 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. In this manner, packing and sending an order that comes in at 5:00 p.m. on a Tuesday is the norm as opposed to an exception.
The evening manager could make it part of her routine to drop off orders at the local UPS store by 6:00 p.m. and then go home. Or, if a merchant, has sufficient quantity, that merchant may have the ability to schedule a 6:00 p.m. pickup every day.
This example may not work for every ecommerce enterprise. But the concept of adjusting some component of an operation or a workflow to make order processing more efficient and faster could be applied to just about any measure in the order fulfillment process.
Specifically, a merchant might look at how:
- Orders are passed in the ecommerce platform to the warehouse;
- Orders are received at the warehouse;
- Labels, select lists, and packing slips are printed and distributed;
- Products are chosen;
- Packing materials are selected and used;
- Long the packaging process takes;
- Orders are picked up or dropped off with carriers.
A small improvement in any of these steps might lead to receiving an order from the warehouse and to some client earlier.
Online shoppers expect fast ecommerce deliveries, and to remain competitive retailers need to find ways to meet those expectations.