Shipping services are changing customer expectations.
In 2005, Amazon attempted to make delivery service a value proposition for their Prime membership, distinguishing them from other e-commerce and conventional retailers. Soon, the likes of ‘Marks and Spencer’ and Salisbury started offering similar services to compete with Amazon. Fast forward to 2019, and Amazon is now the biggest shipping company today and has changed the way customers shop online. These developments clearly illustrate how consumers increasingly expect (and reward) short turnarounds for their orders to come around. While Amazon and other big chains are more than capable of meeting consumer expectations, there is a huge problem for smaller retailers.
How do stores with smaller budgets meet consumer expectations in delivery service? This blog post will answer this question.
Consumers are now used to short delivery times and expect all retailers to deliver within a short time. In fact, research shows that 48% of UK customers will not shop from a retailer again if a delivery came late. Furthermore, the maximum number of days people are willing to wait for an order to ship fell from 5.5 to 4.1 in 2018. It is no longer enough to offer an online ordering option, retailers should be able to deliver goods within a short period of time.
Shipping services go beyond fast delivery times because customers also look at several options like payment choices, delivery tracking and personalisation. The option to track delivery was seen as a huge determining factor in shopping. Out of a survey of 2,000 households, 60% said the option to track deliveries online was a must, while 41% said they abandoned a cart because there were no convenient delivery options.
Furthermore, loyalty and premium services are a huge factor in purchases, with 88% of customers saying that they would pay for a VIP membership. Millennial customers seemed to be the most responsive, with over 68% saying that they were part of a loyalty program. This reveals that customers, especially younger ones, want fast service and are willing to pay for it.
The main takeaway for retailers, both small and big, is that efficient shipping services are a huge value proposition that could bring in more loyal customers.
Shipping services might be a huge value proposition for the likes of Amazon and Walmart, but for smaller retailers, meeting the challenges of fast shipping is proving to be a huge challenge. The supply chain needs to be adjusted, customer service staff need to be trained, and the right technology needs to be obtained to support these services. While small retailers cannot hope to compete with the likes of Amazon, they can set up their own healthy, competitive delivery service that provides genuine value to their consumers.
Third-party logistics company (3PL) allows retailers to realise the benefits of shipping services without undertaking the cost themselves. 3PL companies can handle the ins and outs of delivery services, including logistics, reporting, forecasting, warehouse management and transportation of goods. They can also leverage their services and knowledge to provide delivery services on behalf of smaller companies, who do not have the resources to set up a delivery service by themselves.
Some retail firms can set up their own delivery service, provided they have the right resources. For such companies, retail EPOS systems are often the perfect investment. EPOS systems are ideal because they allow retailers to perform several functions from a single hub. Functions like online ordering, inventory management, personalisation/loyalty programs and delivery tracking are just some of the services that can be done through EPOS software. Through this option, retailers can lay the groundwork for efficient delivery service with order tracking – without having to expend a significant amount of resources.
Shipping services might be more challenging for smaller retailers, but they provide an exciting opportunity to create more loyal customers. Providing customers with fast, timely shipping is an excellent way to entice customers to purchase in the future. Furthermore, if retailers can tie shipping to other value-based services, like free complimentary goods or discounts, then they are sure to garner greater customer loyalty. The best way to build a sustainable, value-driven delivery service is to invest in retail EPOS.
EPOS software is a great asset to have because it integrates several functions into one platform, like inventory management, mobile app integration and staff management. EPOS helps with setting up important service options, like delivery services, because it makes certain functions, like tracking, much easier to implement. The result? Smoother and more streamlined operations.