Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind the corner and will last until Christmas, with a long tail of returns. Retailers are gearing up for the annual peaks: Amazon hired 150,000 seasonal staffers, Walmart also hired 20,000 workers in its supply chain facilities to permanent roles
E-commerce challenges suddenly become urgent: shipping costs, inconvenient delivery options, broken delivery promises, lack of transparency for customers are just some of these.
Fulfilment runs at almost maximum capacity across many sectors, with very stretched resources supporting warehouse organization and last mile deliveries, generating acute shortages. As reported by InternetRetailing The New World of Fulfilment article: “nearly half (47%) of retailers say they pass rising supply chain costs on to the consumer. This is a dangerous situation since they risk losing customers due to such price rises”.
There is a clear desire for an easy and convenient experience – even during peaks – and it is extremely important to provide a superior consumer experience that takes into consideration checkout processes, supply chain, inventory and delivery capabilities. All should fit in a perfect balance allowing Retailers to offer a real promise.
Over-promising is dangerous when organizations are unable to fulfil the “promise-to-delivery”, and can easily cause customer disloyalty.
Here are some useful tips that Retailers must seriously consider:
- Audit your inventory: keep track of your products, including SKUs, barcode data, suppliers, countries of origin and destination and lot numbers. Unless you own your transportation fleet and a warehouse, you will compete with other players to manage storage space, vehicles and time. Don’t assume capacity will always be available: it isn’t an elastic supply.
- Assess delivery capabilities and communicate at checkout accurate delivering times and deadlines.
- Reflect your brand throughout a transparent delivery phase. If something goes wrong, the Customer will blame the brand of the product. Taking ownership of post-purchase, providing visibility and ways for communication, will definitely reassure the customer that will clearly feel you invested to provide a highly-sensitive experience.
- Use the power of Machine Learning and AI to drive demand-shaping delivery options. Some Customers will be in a rush, others won’t. Some will be ready to pay for value-added services, others will have less time-constraints and prefer to save. Offering flexible time/date slots gives customers the privilege of selecting the window that fits their needs: economically incentivizing wider slots guarantees better-distributed volumes and eliminates infeasible deliveries, reducing both delivery costs and operational expenditures.
In these uncertain times, trust and caring become very valuable commodities. Retailers that rely upon their own last-mile services will easily realize that investing in innovative supply chain platforms can enable them to perform operations and manage all points of sales successfully and without friction.
Consumers’ habits shift to online is reality, this will force Retailers to reconsider digital experience across their strategic priorities: in the end, peaks should be addressed as never-ending.
Milkman Home Delivery Platform is an innovative and customer-centric last mile platform, driving a distinctive experience from purchase to delivery. Learn more about Milkman Technologies by visiting milkmantechnologies.com