E-commerce is big business and growing! If you’re reading this, then we probably didn’t need to tell you that, but did you know that by 2023 it is predicted that online sales will account for 22% of global retail sales – a relative growth of 56% in 2019 (14.1%). This exponential growth can be, at least in part, attributed to the pandemic accelerating our online shopping habits. In this blog, we explore the growth of e-commerce and fulfilment, and how our e-fulfilment solution is transforming the customer experience.
With many people forced to stay at home, consumers took to online shopping during lockdowns all over the world. As a result, in June 2020, retail websites generated 22 billion visits, up 6 billion from January of the same year. The pandemic has changed the way consumers shop with many businesses forced to take their business online if they are to survive and thrive – creating an ever more competitive landscape.
In general, our appetite for a more connected world is increasing, we want everything at the tip of our fingers and so the number of digital buyers continues to grow. In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and during the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. In the year of the pandemic, global retail e-commerce sales grew by more than 25%. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that online marketplaces, like Amazon, now account for the majority of online sales.
The industry and e-commerce expectations
Whilst the e-commerce industry is growing, so are consumer expectations – particularly when it comes to delivery. Research carried out by Convey found that 40% of shoppers say that the post-purchase experience is the most memorable part of the brand experience with 73.6% saying that delivery alone is the most important part overall.
If the post-purchase experience isn’t done right or well, it can have a negative impact on your business and brand. For example, late deliveries or long wait times can result in some very unhappy customers. eConsultancy found that 38% of shoppers will abandon an order if it takes longer than a week to arrive, whilst TouchPoints went even further revealing that 63% of consumers will expect the order to arrive within 3 days of ordering, which can be a challenge for businesses. And when these things go wrong, it’s the business that suffers as 94% of consumers will blame the retailer directly for poor delivery – not the delivery service used. And worst of all, in a survey carried out by Zendesk, 80% of consumers would rather do business with a competitor after one bad experience.
The Challenges Retailers are Facing
With consumer expectations so high, the pressure is on e-commerce businesses to get their fulfilment up to scratch. However, if fulfilment and delivery are done right by choosing the best e-fulfilment solution, it can have huge advantages for the retailer, creating happier customers, quicker with far fewer complaints and better customer retention. But, in order to get it right, businesses face a number of challenges in order to keep up with these demands and the biggest challenge often sits with order fulfilment and a using a legacy e-fulfilment solution – resulting in challenges around inventory management, pick, pack, post and in some cases personalisation.
39.4% of merchants are outsourcing at least some of their fulfilment operations and whilst it may seem like an easier option for retailers, it can come with its own challenges. SC Logistics recently found that amongst the difficulties retailers were facing with fulfilment, processing time and system integration were some of the biggest headaches.
Over a quarter of retailers expressed that delivery costs were the single biggest challenge that their supply chain faced with 12% of businesses unprofitable due to distribution costs.
Not only this, but some of the brands that have switched to Codestorm told us that in the past they’d had issues with deliveries, high rates of return, picking issues, lack of personalisation along with lack of visibility of orders, limited system integrations, recalls and quarantined stock from their previous fulfilment companies. All of which have often resulted in very unhappy customers and a less than ideal customer service and experience.
When customer service and experience could be the make or break for winning a new or retaining an existing customer, it’s crucial that brands are able to provide a seamless experience that puts the customer at the heart of everything they do.
With all these issues to tackle, how are brands expected to meet the needs of the customer and keep them coming back, whilst developing and growing their business?
We all know that consumer expectations are high, but in order to achieve customer satisfaction and to meet our customers’ demands, we need to know what exactly it is they expect. Speaking to some of our brands, we understand from feedback that consumers simply want:
- Fast, affordable delivery options
- Easy, simple tracking
- Speedy error resolution
- Well informed customer service
- Simple, quick check out process
Whilst this might sound simple, and achievable on a smaller scale, as a business grows this area can become incredibly challenging. So, what can e-commerce businesses do to ensure that customers are not lost along the way and most of all keep returning?
For starters many of the brands that we work with at Codestorm tell us that real-time stock visibility is an absolute must to ensure that shoppers can get the products they want across any channel at any time. Getting good visibility of your entire inventory can feel like a big task when you start to process 500, 1000, 5000+ orders every month, especially if you’re managing multiple brands, product groups, and SKU’s. A good e-commerce fulfilment partner will help not only transform your pick, pack, personalisation, and delivery operation but will also help you to get full visibility over your complete inventory.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing or changing providers to give your business a better edge and make inventory simple here’s our shortlist of what all good e-commerce leaders should be looking for in an e-fulfilment solution:
- Ability to work on live data
- 100% Real-time Inventory tracking
- Full real-time delivery and courier information
- Full returns tracking built-in
- Goods inward stock verification
- Integrated scan, count, and document control
- Ability to query all data
E-fulfilment Solution Transforming Customer Experience
Whilst there are a variety of options available to businesses searching for an e-commerce fulfilment provider, it is worth noting that most are not designed to provide the granular level of insight and control that a custom-built e-commerce fulfilment provider like Codestorm will. At Codestorm we are an e-fulfilment partner that put your brand first. We know that your reputation is important and so with every delivery we promise to deliver your brand, not just a box.
Our LINK, complete warehouse management and e-fulfilment solution is an innovative, tried and tested platform that gives your team full visibility of orders, stock, delivery, returns, recalls, quarantine and much more, improving the level of customer service that you are able to offer. As well as offering a level of personalisation to your products and packaging that you simply won’t find anywhere else. As well as deep fulfilment expertise we also help brands maximise the intelligence of transactional mailing data with flexible, scalable, and innovative digital print solutions. Our state-of-the-art print systems ensure top performance and set new standards of productivity, efficiency, and quality.
However, demanding or complex your fulfilment requirements, we have the solution. Whether you are enclosing a newsletter, membership card, personalised label, greeting card, recipe booklet or postcard, we can help. From customised bottle labels for Tarquin’s Gin to Golden ticket competitions for Candy Kitten’s sweets, we’ve done it all. At Codestorm, we work with you and your brand to ensure that all of your product or services personalisation ideas come to life.
When 96% of consumers say that customer service determines their loyalty to a brand, you can rest assured that Codestorm’s world-class service and end to end LINK e-fulfilment platform will give your teams the tools they need to provide an excellent service to win and ultimately retain customers. That’s why brands such as Candy Kitten, Tribe, Tarquin’s, Dash, Man Cave, and many more choose to work with us.
If you’d like our help and support with e-fulfilment solutions and technology to transform your customers’ experience, please get in touch, our team would love to hear from you.