When it comes to e-commerce, one needs to know that delivery of product goes beyond sending a package by post or courier. It involves a chain of processes to bring about the delivery of product to the end user. E-commerce merchants have devised several strategies which may involve stopping sales for a specified period. E-commerce delivery process starts from the moment a customer signify interest in purchasing a particular product, to shipping the first purchase, to securing repeat business. Sometimes, delivery is considered an afterthought; seen as just a piece of administrative duties to ensure delivery is made. But you could further prevent sales with your delivery strategy if you don’t take this aspect seriously.
There are two typical characteristics of consumers in the e-commerce:
Firstly they want to get what they bought online as quick as possible, and they also wish to get free shipping.
Secondly, the predicament faced by the merchant in ensuring the speed of delivery and also retaining the cost of the supply chain.
Just a few years ago, the widely accepted standard delivery period was within the maximum of 5-days. Nowadays most major brands are striving to deliver to their customers within a three-day maximum period.
Amazon is at the forefront of this paradigm shift as it keeps reinventing the customer experience of e-commerce.
So how can retailers rise to this challenge to maintain relevancy with the consumer experience? The answer to this and many other questions can be found within the supply chain.
The answer is not by upgrading the level of shipping service because most retailers don’t have the financial capacity to fulfill the high cost of a premium on 2-day shipping.
One smart way to go about this situation is by placing their inventory closer to consumers so they can efficiently deliver packages using ground or other means that will cost a fraction of the price. By eliminating the issue of distance in the supply chain, customers will be better served and get a good customer experience at an acceptable cost.
Consequently, package delivery knows the U.S. is regionalizing. Customer fulfillment is now fragmented whereby a single warehouse at a part of the country will not be required to serve all e-commerce fulfillment demand.
We now have warehouses being built in major metro areas, while retailers are devising means of using their retail stores and supply chains to fulfill orders.
One of the effects of this trend is that it has led to an increase in fulfillment outsourcing. Many retailers find it difficult to raise the required capital to build out warehouses all over the country as Amazon does. So, they are forming a partnership with other similar retailers and merchant by running a multi-user fulfillment centers; this allows customers to manage with the same labor, capital, and space. With this, they capitalize on the volume of product to maintain a lower cost, and to benefit from the speed which warehouse proximity offers.
Ted Frank, Montreal
Global Sky logistics