Boost Your Brand’s Image by Optimizing Distribution
Did you know that delivery speed is a critical factor when evaluating online orders for 53 percent of shoppers? Also, 38 percent of shoppers will not shop with an e-commerce company after a poor delivery experience, and 25 percent of shoppers have canceled an order because of slow delivery. Whether you consider these statements as challenges or opportunities, they do indicate your e-commerce company’s need for improving your logistics processes.
When customers order something on your e-commerce site, they expect the parcel to be delivered as soon as possible, without any extra shipping charges. Late deliveries will only frustrate your customers and tarnish your brand image. So, as the owner of an e-commerce company, it’s no wonder that you are also trying to perfect your e-distribution processes to meet the varying demands of your customers.
Tips for Successful E-Distribution
It might not be easy for you to turn your existing distribution practices into efficient and cost-effective processes that provide more value to your customers. However, if you intend to improve your existing processes, you’re already on the path to running a successful business.
The following e-distribution best practices will help you deliver an enhanced experience to your customers:
• Identify Your KPIs — Before restructuring or enhancing your e-distribution processes, first identify your key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs may include the customer order cycle, pick-to-ship cycle, the accuracy of your inventory, and the total cost of the entire distribution process. If you have not been tracking these metrics, start doing so right away. These metrics will give you a measurement of how your existing e-distribution strategy is performing.
• Scale Sensibly — This tip is specifically relevant for small e-commerce businesses. If you are just starting to expand your business, it’s best to first think small when it comes to setting up an e-distribution strategy. As your business grows, you can introduce more tools and systems to streamline the process.
• Focus on Automation — Your distribution process may include multiple platforms and locations. With such a vast amount of variables and data, you will inevitably make some errors. Successful e-commerce businesses, regardless of their size, realize this and prefer to invest in automation. Plenty of tools are available that can help you automate most of the processes involved in your e-distribution strategy.
• Optimize Transportation Costs — Finding ways to reduce your transportation costs is crucial to increasing efficiency. Finding the right mode of parcel delivery, optimizing packaging and reviewing routes to accommodate customers’ delivery requests are just some of the ways to ensure your transportation costs are better managed. Using route optimization software will help you find the shortest and safest route for deliveries, which will help you save both time and money.
• Choose the Best Logistics Partners — Your customers will not know whether your company or a third-party logistics provider delivered the parcel. For them, the delivery is a part of the online shopping experience. This means that your logistics partner is a direct reflection of your e-commerce brand.
So, choose carefully. A bad logistics experience will make the customer forget all about your previous good work. No doubt, the critical factor when choosing a distribution partner is the price. Still, it’s equally important to look for information on the provider’s delivery report card and statistics about its customer support and satisfaction rates.
Simplify the Returns Policy
While it’s not great when a customer is unsatisfied with the product, it does allow you to gain customer loyalty. According to research, 74 percent of customers will likely switch retailers after a poor return experience. So, if you want to retain your customers, you must ensure a pleasant returns experience.
For such a pleasant experience, convenience and flexibility should be the top priorities. Convenience may mean different things to different customers and what works well for one customer may not work at all for the next. This is why it is vital that you offer different ways to return products. Offering flexible options, such as collection from a preferred address or free drop off at a local supermarket, can be a great selling point.
Be Transparent with Your Customers
Being transparent with your customers regarding shipping prices and the delivery window will give them peace of mind. So, it’s a good idea to be direct with them about this right from the start. Nothing frustrates customers more than being kept in the dark about the status of their deliveries.
Ultimately, it’s essential to build your distribution processes so that you can be transparent with your customers throughout the purchasing journey. Sending alerts, information emails and providing tracking numbers will ensure they are well-informed. In turn, they will reward you with their business and loyalty.
The end goals of an effective distribution process are to improve operational efficiency, ensure customer satisfaction and increase employee productivity. The above tips will play an integral role in distribution optimization. Every e-commerce company looking to boost their operations must incorporate these suggestions for logistics optimization.
Dan Khasis is a technology entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Route4Me, a logistics software company.