Flexible shipping options benefit both customers and retailers
With a bit of creativity and utilization of omni channel eCommerce solutions, merchants are quickly turning shipping – which has traditionally been viewed as a necessary expense by customers – into a non-factor. By providing flexible shipping options, retailers are able to improve both the shopping experience for their customers and the overall efficiency of their eCommerce operations.
A new study conducted by eMarketer, Delivery and Pickup Trends: Retailers Seek the Path to Fulfillment, found that savvy merchants capable of integrating shipping into omni channel eCommerce solutions are better able to reduce costs. For example, if a customer makes a purchase online, coordinated retailers can ship orders directly from nearby physical stores instead of sending them from a regional distribution center. This can save retailers money by reducing travel distance and liquidating slow-moving inventory at a standard price. Moreover, with the right order flow rule set, this entire order fulfillment process can be automated to ensure it’s carried out without a hitch.
Of course, more flexible shipping options and greater transparency in the order fulfillment process can only benefit consumers as well. More than one-third of respondents said in-store pickup was an important feature they looked for in flexible shipping options, while approximately eight in ten thought knowing precisely when a package would arrive was a necessity when shopping online.
Citing a Forrester Consulting report, eMarketer noted that customers also heavily value flexibility with order delivery. Some shoppers preferred buying online and having an order shipped to a store, others preferred reserving items online and paying in-store, while others opted for purchasing an item online and picking it up at a point-of-convenience (such as a UPS store).
Staying competitive without breaking the bank
Shipping has always been a complex task for merchants. Ensuring accurate package delivery at a low cost is something consumers expect, but many retailers struggle to execute. With some merchants feeling the pressure of implementing flexible shipping options and other convenience factors, the cost of shipping is becoming a significant challenge.
Fortunately, by leveraging omni channel eCommerce solutions, retailers can maintain their flexibility and reduce their costs. Retailers can make the optimal use of their software and other technology to remain competitive while also minimizing and reducing expenses around order fulfillment and shipping where possible.