Customers’ expectations are becoming increasingly complex and retailers are having to work harder than ever before to scale their businesses. Keeping up with a wide range of delivery options can easily become a priority when the business is not designed to be scalable, meaning other areas of the business can take a back seat.
This article outlines the growing need for convenient fulfilment options and the ways that retailers can ensure their business operations are scalable.
Customers need convenience
Convenience is key in creating customer loyalty, with retailers benefiting from offering a range of delivery options and being able to compete with the likes of Amazon Prime.
The ecommerce market has enabled customers to make quick and easy purchases. Non-store retailing (retailers with no physical store presence) spend grew by 56% between April 2019 and April 2021, while Amazon’s UK sales soared by 51% last year.
The reason for this rapid growth is that customers have looked to shop with retailers that can offer their preferred delivery methods. However, to gain returning customers, retailers must make sure that the delivery side of every purchase is seamless.
The challenge for retailers to scale a retail business
As sales increase, retailers are faced with the challenge of fulfilling a growing number of orders. Often, a solution that was once efficient becomes inefficient when scaled up and it needs redeveloping.
An enormous 95% of shoppers say that convenient delivery options play a major role in their choice of online retailer. In addition to this, alternative delivery options such as click and collect have become essential to win customers’ business. On top of having a choice of convenient delivery options, the returns process is expected to be just as easy, quick and simple.
Most retailers are already busy enough, so those that commit large amounts of time to their fulfilment and shipping processes often have to neglect the growth of their business.
How can you make your retail business scalable?
For a retail business to be scalable, it is essential to connect your selling channels to your fulfilment process and then deliver in a way that creates a great customer experience. Automation helps to maintain consistency and deliver a stand-out fulfilment process, however big or small the demand is.
If sales continue to rise, there comes a point in every business where outsourcing becomes a viable solution. In this case, instead of storing, picking, packing, printing labels, sending and dealing with the logistics of returns, these aspects of the business can be outsourced to a specialist.
Choosing to work with a fulfilment partner that knows the industry is key in being able to scale your retail business as required.
- Not having to worry about sourcing increasing warehousing space to store additional stock
- Not having to spend time managing returns
- Having experts on hand that understand processes, for example, shipping overseas and knowing the implications of Brexit
- Some fulfilment businesses have centres in different countries, meaning you can keep inventory close to the customer for faster delivery
- Upscaling does not require any major changes to processes, unless you choose to change your fulfilment partner
Retailers that automate processes or work with suitable fulfilment partners can simplify the process of scaling up and down as required. By outsourcing this aspect of the business, it frees up time to focus on selling, as well as growing the brand and customer base.
Efficient management is key in making fulfilment as quick and easy as possible, allowing retailers to spend their time on more productive areas of the business, rather than being tied down to manual aspects of warehousing and delivery.
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.