It is almost impossible to stay competitive in today’s world as is, and those that do not meet customer expectations in regards to freight delivery will lose business. It is that simple. At the same time, customer expectations are changing, and what sets companies apart and offered an advantage in the past is now merely standard business practices.
For example, as explained by Nicole Blanckenberg of Business2Community, “just because you offer fixed, free, or promotional shipping to counter hidden cost abandonment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer faster shipping upgrades. One study said as much as 16% of shoppers who abandoned their cart stated no speedier delivery options as their reason. Another put this percentage even higher, at 26%.
We can thank Amazon for faster delivery demand, and you may be surprised at how many shoppers are willing to pay more to get their items more quickly.”
So, shippers should start following these tips to improve freight delivery and meet customer expectations.
There was a time when manual data tracking was the industry standard, but advancing technology has made data tracking seamless and easy to handle. Now, shippers should use the data capture and analytics provided by modern technology systems, such as TMS, WMS, YMS, and the veritable alphabet soup of supply chain technology platforms available today.
The use of technology has an additional implication for route optimization. Shippers can use technology to consider the risks present within a local area, avoid routes that are subject to current risks, and ensure the global supply chain continues unimpeded. Of course, this requires knowing how and win all shipments will move.
The shipping industry suffers from a belief that only scans generate useful data. The complete opposite is true in other markets. Any device, system, location, functioning asset, worker, action, or other factors can be tracked. Such information should be monitored within an overarching system, such as a transportation management system (TMS).
The use of tracking data within a TMS can also help shippers achieve another tip— avoid unnecessary drayage and demurrage costs. When shippers have access to more information, they can intervene and prevent the hassle of changes to over-the-road shipping from port to local areas (drayage). More importantly, they can better plan drayage resources to avoid the hassle of demurrage charges.
Customers want this, free pickup and delivery. There is no alternative for shippers. However, customers that believe they have an option will willingly accept it in most cases. Customers can make the decision where to have their product to delivered, when it will be delivered, what is necessary to get it delivered, and what they will pay for expedited or specialty shipping. The variety in delivery and pickup is an advantage for shippers, widening their supply chains and reducing strain on individual channels.
The use of cross-docking and drop shipping is an additional measure to meet customer expectations for freight delivery. Since both drop shipping and cross-docking allow freight to move faster, customers realize faster delivery. Besides, these measures eliminate the hassle of put away and picking in today’s warehouses.
Shippers should also use automated systems to notify supply chain partners, supply chain leaders, customers, and other relevant parties of changes to a shipment and final freight delivery. Automation ensures everyone knows what is happening.
Shippers can take an additional step two influence consumer behaviors as well. While consumers want fast, free shipping, they are conscious of their impact on the environment. Green initiatives are a critical concern for countries and generations around the globe, and shippers that show how faster, free shipping impacts the environment could encourage customers to choose slower, more efficient shipping options.
The application of automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data also allows shippers to improve beyond what they see continuously. Remember, data is valuable and can identify the most minuscule of correlations and have a dramatic impact on total freight spend and ensure proper, timely freight delivery.
The last step is the most simple. Shippers need to upgrade their TMS and connect it to all systems now, such as the Cerasis Rater TMS that integrates with many other supply chain systems, such as ERP, and connects to major shopping carts for e-commerce.
Customer expectations for delivery are simple. They want it fast, free, without any hassle, and with something extra. Expectations are evolving at break-neck speeds, and staying competitive with Amazon’s shipping capabilities is challenging at best. Shippers must begin the process of using new systems and technologies to offer faster, lower-cost, and sustainable shipping options. It’s not enough to only offer low-cost shipping; shippers must make the case obvious and reasonable. If added charges necessary, they must be fully transparent and explain their rationale for such charges. Of course, the best way is to integrate shipping and ordering platforms, giving customers full control over shipping options and eliminating the perception of a middleman.
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