The eCommerce boom over the last two decades has allowed online brands to compete successfully with traditional brick and mortar brands. What has been a steady climb in customers embracing online shopping has become the new normal it seems, especially now in 2021. Ecommerce fulfilment has become more important than ever. In fact, a survey found that 56% of GenXers and 55% of Millennials prefer online formats to physical stores. Customers enjoy the convenience of shopping from home whenever they like. This convenience has created a marketplace in which over 75% of people are shopping at least once a month online. With improvements in technology and cybersecurity, more people have developed trust in an industry that has proven its simplicity. Consumers are also interacting with brands that match their lifestyle in more ways than ever before on social platforms. By following and engaging with brands on social channels customers develop more loyalty and trust, driving sales.
Ecommerce grew by 46% in 2020 – its strongest growth for more than a decade, due largely to the pandemic of course. A 2020 report from the Centre for Retail has shown that the online retail sector is the main driver of growth in the U.K., Europe, and North America. As eCommerce has improved, so has the technology and logistics networks that support it.
Rapid package delivery has become a new focus for online brands. Unlike traditional shopping, online selling doesn’t give customers the same instant gratification because of a lack of access to the products. So, to improve this process, companies are looking for more solutions. Therefore, the rise of 3pl’s have skyrocketed to bridge this service gap. Companies are outsourcing their shipping so that they can focus on making great products. 12% of merchants are unprofitable due to distribution costs in logistics, hence why 39.4% of merchants outsource at least some of their fulfilment.
As the U.K.’s most innovative 3pl’s, Selazars’ improved the process for Next-Day and 48-hour delivery for UK customers. We believe in tech-forward logistical solutions for product fulfilment and speedy home delivery. However, speed is merely one aspect of the customer journey. While a digital journey has many touchpoints, delivery speed and the unboxing experience created are the only physical ones. Paying close attention here will generate better reviews, increase brand loyalty, and repeat sales. So, to help online businesses improve their e-commerce fulfilment journey to drive sales, we offer the following advice.
1) OFFER NEXT-DAY DELIVERY AS A STANDARD
In the early days of eCommerce, shopping online felt like a novelty. Shipping speed was not as much as a factor for the simple convenience of getting it delivered. Ten years ago, customers were happy with 5 – 7 business days for shipping. However, with the rise of Prime that is no longer an option. What was unfathomable (Name-Day and 48-Hour delivery) at one point is just the “new normal.” People want their products fast! If you expect to compete, this needs to be your focus. As a 3pl, we have centred on this philosophy to increase dispatch speed for our clients. This is why companies like Debenhams used our services when they transitioned from the high street to online.
Our fast processes and late dispatch allow for delivery anywhere in the UK the very next day. This is a major highlight for customers, and it should be highlighted as such on your website. See here on the Asos website:
How do you offer standard Next-day shipping for your UK customers? Well, simply set up a discovery call with us to get started.
According to a study by Sale Cycle in 2020, over 56% of online returns were clothing and shoes. Why is this? This is because fashion items are the top-selling industry in all of the world online. So, if you sell in the industry, it is even more critical to have a good returns policy/process. This includes offering “free returns.”
Free returns are good for your customers. They want it – in fact:
Return Robin is the most innovative solution for eCommerce businesses in the United Kingdom. They offer automated parcel returns online with courier pickup from the customers home, quick return deposits, and even provide the shipping label as well (no need for the customer to print). As eCommerce fulfilment continues to innovate, Return Robin will prove to be a powerhouse in the UK logistics retail market.
So, offer a great return policy with your store, and feature it on your website as shown here by Zappos.
3) AVOID “SOLD OUT” PRODUCTS
When customers are shopping on your store, they are there because they are obviously interested in what you have to offer. If you have ever heard the expression “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” then this applies.
If a customer comes to your store and find a product that they want, but cannot buy it, this has a negative impact on their experience. Another scenario is that the product shows as available – but is not in stock technically. Then you must inform the customer that their order will be delayed after they made the sale, an even worse scenario.
The way you avoid appearing unreliable is by always having enough inventory to fulfil orders while using 2-way stock sync for your order fulfilment. Ordering a product from your supplier after the customer has already placed the order is an irresponsible business practice, and will deter your customers. Late delivery is one of the worst experiences for customers. 17% of respondents will stop shopping with a retailer after receiving a late delivery one time. Please see the diagram below.
2 Way Stock Sync
2-way stock sync is when the 3pl warehouse you are using syncs the stock inventory data to your website. So, as products are sold and the warehouse fulfils your orders for customers, you are aware of precisely how much product you have at all times. You can avoid customers buying products that are not actually available.
Key takeaway: If you don’t have any more product, you should remove the item(s) from your website temporarily. If you’re just running low, however, you need to send in more inventory from your supplier to the warehouse. 2-way stock sync with Selazar software automatically notifies you when stock is low. It’s that simple. We will be happy to explain this to you through a free call.
4) OFFER CUSTOM BRANDED PACKAGING
Branding says a lot about a company. It’s the first initial impression your customer gets when they receive their first products in the post from you. Your brand is how people think and feel about you. Is it classy and sophisticated? Do you want to be more colourful and fun? Should you appear simple and elegant? Good branding elicits emotional responses from your audience, which is what helps you form connections with them in the first place. In one poll, 64% of women and 68% of men surveyed have felt an emotional connection with a brand. Branding is also in your messaging.
What’s the personality of your brand? Is it sincerity, sophistication, ruggedness? These are all questions that should be considered when forming your brand packaging.
There are lots of resources out there for you to create these custom boxes. Brands in the UK such as Pack Help and Tiny Box Company can help you to create beautiful custom box branding. They have boxes available starting as low as 13p. Here are some templates from them.
Gorgeous, yes? It’s really not as expensive as many might think. That is a small cost that can be carried onto the consumer – A cost that is worth it with a “premium” look and feel. When you partner with Selazar, we combine our pick and packing services with your custom boxes. This way you can maintain brand control, serving your customers your way.
“Packaging can be theatre because it can create a story”
5) SMART AUTOMATION
Fulfilling your orders is one of the key factors of running your eCommerce store. Orders need to be processed, updated, packaged and sent. Doing this on your own means inputting information repeatedly, stealing valuable time. Many businesses manually input information into their own system and often spend the majority of their time doing the same task. These repetitive duties can take the focus away from customer service support and other critical factors of your business. When you invest in automating your workflow there is no need for these tasks.
Selazar’s custom-built portal gives you complete control over your logistics in a single, easy to use platform. It gives you access to product management, real-time inventory control, order tracking and courier preferences, at no additional cost. Running your store means juggling multiple tasks, focusing on deadlines, dealing with clients, and much much more. Why juggle stocking, packaging, and administration all on your own? Manually managing the end-to-end fulfilment process is time-consuming and laborious. Luckily, Selazar has a single automated platform to free up your time and let you grow fast.
Using our API, you can connect Selazar to your eCommerce store, enabling an end-to-end fulfilment service that can be easily managed. See an overview of stock levels, manage orders, update information on the go, and so much more. Combined with our packaging and warehouse duties as well, you will wonder why you didn’t join with us sooner.
3pl eCommerce fulfilment services to help you grow
We have already set up a warehouse – now you don’t have too, how easy was that? Our fully secured warehouse is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with over 250,000 square feet of space for your e-commerce fulfilment needs.
Manage your products in real-time with e-commerce fulfilment. Use our bulk order wizard to ensure B2B orders are processed in the most efficient way. Bulk picking gives you the ability to mass ship items to your business clients, ensuring accurate, fast, and cost-effective distribution of your products.
Pick and Pack
Picking and packing is at the heart of Selazar. Our technology allows staff to seamlessly pick and pack your orders with 99.9% accuracy to date. Digitally mapped warehouses allow our intelligent routing system to calculate the most efficient picking order for each run.
Our algorithm selects the best available rates, within your preference settings, for your fulfilment routes. Our system is dynamic and works hard to ensure you are always getting the best courier option for both you and your customer.
Returns can be a leading cause of frustration for any online retailer. However, using our returns portal makes managing returns easy and provides your customers with an improved returns experience. Your customer can easily generate a label online and find their local drop off points.
This holistic approach allows you to have a hands–free, best in class, transparent fulfilment service. This approach also enables us to handle all B2B and B2C business operations. Our straightforward Shopify and WooCommerce integrations plug directly into your existing store, allowing us to download and fulfil your orders in real-time. They are then processed and ready to be picked, packed, and shipped without you having to lift a finger, typically within 30 minutes of receipt of the order. That is fast! Once complete, we send any tracking information back to your online store along with an updated status.
Companies with high–performing supply chains benefit from higher revenue growth. An analysis done by Deloitte proved that
Using these tips, you can instantly drive more sales for your eCommerce store. To find out more about e-commerce fulfilment and logistics services please set up a discovery call with us so we can learn more about your business.
Matt is the writer for Selazar where he provides useful content on logistics, technology, marketing, and strategy for eCommerce businesses. His goal is to help business owners and retailers stay updated on the latest trends while also learning the best practices to expand their operations. If you are interested in getting in touch with Matt, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org