The e-commerce industry has experienced rapid growth in a very short time. What started as a platform for specific goods like books and consumer electronics has now become one of the dominant ways for consumers to interact with the retail industry. By the end of this year, it is projected to account for 21 percent of all retail sales, according to research by Insider Intelligence. More and more people are using online markets to make purchases, and as access to technology grows and skepticism about online stores wanes, these markets will continue to grow exponentially.
The growth of e-commerce, while it presents business opportunities to traditional and small businesses and a cost-effective way to expand their markets, should be recognized as a complex task. The growth of consumers in the online marketplace has been met with an influx of sellers and has turned the e-commerce industry into an increasingly competitive space. It isn’t enough to have an attractive product; it must also be at a competitive price point and come with quick and troubleless delivery.
Research shows that 22 percent of potential customers opt out of purchasing due to shipping time. Businesses must focus on making their delivery systems cost-effective, quick, and transparent, which is essential for creating a large customer base and having many loyal repeat customers within that base.
Here are four steps businesses can take toward making their e-commerce delivery systems more efficient.
1. Optimize Your Storage
Any functional delivery system depends on businesses having access to their products in a way that is prepared to handle sudden changes in demand. It also requires the transport of these products from storage to customers seamlessly. Here, the use of order fulfillment centers can help these businesses optimize both their storage and delivery in a future-friendly way through automation and the incorporation of the latest available technologies in storage management and processing. They also enable scalability, with order fulfillment centers more than capable of handling any excess delivery when your product experiences a surge in demand.
While traditional warehouses usually only provide storage and inventory management, these centers are concerned with the entire order fulfillment process. This means that these centers will also deal with order processing and packing and coordinate shipping logistics alongside storage.
Where businesses were previously required to negotiate and deal with multiple vendors and coordinate their efforts themselves, this is now being offered under one umbrella service. It increases efficiency by improving the coordination of disparate tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and order delivery. It is also cost-effective, saving businesses on negotiation costs and outsourcing many responsibilities.
2. Have A Customer Friendly Delivery System
The experience a customer has in the delivery process when they order a product can have a significant impact on the kind of associations they form with that brand. Quick delivery is a crucial factor in a positive experience, but it alone does not ensure customer satisfaction. A delivery system that meets its deadlines, and keeps the customer informed throughout the process, is the ideal to strive for.
There are many ways this can be achieved. Businesses can offer customers a real-time portal that tracks their orders’ status. Further, the use of push notifications to inform customers of any change in the status of their order, such as if it is accepted, ready for delivery, or on route to the customer’s home, is also a useful way of informing customers who may have ordered and forgotten about it. It also gives the impression that the business is concerned with the customer’s overall experience, and this feeling can be enhanced by including a review system through which the customer can rate their delivery experience. Taking such steps is a great way to increase consumer loyalty towards your brands.
3. Have A Transparent Returns And Exchange Policy
A key reason for the skepticism of buying products on an online marketplace comes from a lack of certainty about the quality of the product. In a real-world store, a consumer can inspect a product and probe the seller for defects or problems. This ability to investigate the quality of the product does not exist in an online marketplace, and buyers must rely on other information like the reviews of past customers, which many fear might be fake.
A way of dealing with this uncertainty is having a clear and transparent return policy. It should clearly outline acceptable reasons for returning or exchanging a product, the timeframe within which it must occur, and provide a user-friendly portal through which the customer can handle returns or exchanges. Further, customers should be able to exercise a range of options for defective products, from exchanging them for the same product or another product or providing the customer with a refund.
A transparent and user-friendly policy like the one outlined will help many potential customers look past the uncertainty of being unable to inspect products through one’s sensory faculties. The confidence of your business in offering a comprehensive exchange policy will be the guarantee that potential customers need to feel safe about the quality of the product.
4. Follow A Policy of Continuous Improvement
Thanks to data collection and analysis automation, businesses can quickly access the underlying numbers about their business at any given time. These can be used to assess their overall performance, problem areas, and potential methods for dealing with these problem areas. In such an age, for a business to remain ahead of its competition, it must continuously involve itself in this process.
This applies to a business’s delivery systems, with such data being integral for businesses looking to optimize their routes, measure the average delivery time and customer satisfaction levels, etc. All these performance indicators can be analyzed to identify different ways of improving delivery times, lowering delivery costs, and improving customer service.
For businesses to remain relevant in this growing and increasingly cut-throat environment, they must appeal to the comfort that drives e-commerce in the first place. The entire consumer process, from them going through your website to the order being delivered to their home, has to be user-friendly and seamless. One can achieve this goal by focusing on improving one’s delivery systems, making them more efficient, and empowering the customer with knowledge about the status of their products throughout the process.