Guidelines for omnichannel retailers to make shipping less complex

Shipping is the backbone of any online commerce. However, it is a process that every retailer would joyfully avoid if possible due to the many complexities and costs entailed. With a bid to attracting and holding the grip on clients, many retailers even opt to offer free shipping, with the high risk of dramatically reducing their margin of profit.

Shipping is incumbent to most online commerce

Many omnichannel retailers fail to devise a wise shipping strategy even if this process is incumbent for any online commerce. As Amazon continues to swell its profits, other retailers, big or small, are being forced to review their logistics to stay afloat. Walmart, once the iconic American retailer, is also having to revamp its services and re-examine its strategies to keep up with the leading pack. Today, it is investing massively in its online business to compete with omnichannel retailers.

Naturally, as an online commerce is not bound by geographical limitations in almost every part of the world, customers targeted are scattered all across the planet. Shipping thus becomes a vital and inevitable process that retailers need to guarantee. However, shipping costs are decisive factors to define the success of a business or bring it to its knees.

How to make shipping a less complex process for your commerce?

Costs associated with shipping and all the other related procedures may pile up to staggering amounts that can, on the final count, be utterly detrimental to the whole business. For example, even if the giant Amazon is faring well, it nevertheless lost more than $ 1 billion on shipping in 2015. As such, it is wise to stay open to new and tailored approaches too as one strategy that suits a business will not necessarily be beneficial to another in today’s overcrowded retail environment.

Here are five basic yet crucial tips to make shipping less complex and less costly that can be applied to any business.

Focusing on customer experience

In today’s extremely competitive environment, it is crucial to cater for the minute needs of clients. The latter have the opportunity to choose from an unimaginable array of products and services, and customer experience is a key factor defining whether you will be able to attract and retain customers, and subsequently, the success of a business. Amazon Prime is a perfect example of a complete cadre of services wrapped in an addictive package. It offers clients a seamless and reliable purchasing experience.

Combining distribution channels into one program

To attract customers and make the purchase experience utterly easy and convenient, think of creating an array of distribution channels and purchasing options unified under one single umbrella.  Clients will appreciate the facility being offered when and where they want, and by the means convenient for them.

Valuing in-store returns

If you are operating exclusively online, you need to re-examine your strategy. Physical locations offer a major advantage that e-commerce brands cannot. Customers need to feel it easy to return items bought in a physical store if needed. An example is Nordstrom Rack which set up a physical location for accepting returns for items purchased online on its flash sale site, HauteLook. This new feature generated one million additional trips to its stores in 2014. The brand considered returns and tracking as part of its sales strategy and that every return is yet another opportunity to interact with customers.

Taking into account the local community

Placing a physical location in the vicinity of local communities is a key driver of sales. By being present near customers, you will establish an efficient delivery network that can also ensure rapid service. Walmart is a good example of a business having taken into consideration the location of its potential clients. In the United States, almost 90% of the citizens live within 15 miles from a Walmart store. 70% live within 5 miles.

Opting for low-cost delivery services

Small brands and retailers not having the same outreach as Walmart may choose low-cost delivery services that are sprouting everywhere. Postmates or Uber are perfect examples of delivery services that can provide local delivery to customers. Certain service providers equally offer after-hours and late-night home deliveries options.

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