July 16, 2016
With the rapid adoption of advanced tech-powered solutions across industries, over time, it becomes more difficult to remain relevant in a rapidly-changing environment and meet rising customer expectations. Once exciting and enchanting experiences quickly become an ordinary reality and businesses find themselves caught up in the race to offer something even more exciting to draw attention. The reality is especially harsh for the retail industry regardless of segment. Amazon has long been spoiling customers with ever-shortening delivery time and now the absence of the option of next-day delivery with some retailers sometimes evokes discomfort. The same goes for the return option, free delivery caps, warranties from sellers and other attributes of a purchase. Temando, a technology company specializing in the production of shipping software solutions for the retail and logistics industries, recently published results of the study on the state of e-commerce industry across various retail segments, indicating that the gap between consumer expectation and retailer capability is growing.
One of the most important attributes to evaluate retailers is shipment options. The future belongs to retailers who capitalize on this opportunity and turn shipping and fulfillment into a retail weapon, the report suggests. The data is almost bizarre as it indicates a significant gap in what consumers want and what is offered in the market. It appears that while more than 60% of consumers want 1–3–hour shipping options, only 20% of retailers are offering the option. Moreover, among the consumers who want hyper-localized shipping, almost a third is ready to pay a premium for it. The stats are similar for other desired option as well. Indeed, though 77% of the consumers want guaranteed weekend or after-hours shipping, less than 35% of retailers have the option. Data also suggests that 80% of consumers want same-day shipping. In addition, while consumers expect to have multiple shipping options, not everyone is generous enough to offer that. In fact, among micro-retailers, more than 40% do not offer multiple options while among enterprise retailers, the number is 12%. The situation is not surprising given that enterprise retailers have more financial and infrastructural power to offer a range of options, while for micro-retailers, it could be a substantial cost. However, that doesn’t deny the fact explicitly emphasized by the results of the study: more shipping options = more sales.
Probably, one of the most interesting results of the study is the quantified impact of the increased number of shipping options at a checkout on the sales. The data suggests that the increasing number of shipping options at checkout leads to an 86% increase in sales and 75% reduction in cart abandonment. Moreover, 86% of retailers believe that more shipping options at a checkout aid to the ability to meet customer expectations, while 78% believe them to contribute to the expansion of the geographical area of shipments.
The concept of omnichannel certainly couldn’t stay left aside as it is one of the hottest topics for discussion in the retail industry. The inability to leverage one’s own network is a sign of poor operational efficiency and retailers are committing a crime if they don’t properly utilize their physical footprint to satisfy expectations of the vast majority of customers. Nonetheless, only 13% of enterprise retailers are reported to be shipping from multiple stores and less than a third saw an inefficient supply chain as a major difficulty through their e-commerce shipping operations. What is even more puzzling is that while 95% of consumers would shop in store and ship goods home, 65% of retailers do not offer the option.
To meet the expectations of today’s consumers, businesses have the unique opportunity to reimagine their supply chain and create meaningful, cost effective, customer experiences. The omnichannel and agile fulfillment remain key challenges to overcome with smaller retailers maximizing their operations and footprints more effectively than enterprise. Shipping from stores or multiple warehouses closer to customers enables hyper-local delivery, combined with transparent tracking, convenient returns and a trusted technology partner will set retailers up for success in 2016.