Retailers are continuing to feel the effect of the rising demand for order fulfilment as levels of online shopping continues to increase. Online shopping is convenient – it removes limitations caused by store trading hours, the need for a parking space, contentious crowds and inclement weather – but the needs and trends of online consumers are ever-changing.
In addition to a rise in demand and supply chain issues, the E-commerce industry has been impacted by an increase in customer expectations. Despite the sector re-opening its physical doors, all retailers must adapt to the demand shown in online shopping and revisit their approaches. This include their supply chain management, the level of customer experience offered and everything in-between – or risk being left behind.
Many online retailers are changing their strategies to be able to meet their customers where they are shopping, as the ability to shop 24/7 continues to be a big part of E-commerce’s growth. Here are some of the trends to consider as we enter peak season for retailers.
Online shoppers crave convenience
Although E-commerce continues to be on the rise, this doesn’t mean an easy ride for sellers. Consumers are looking for many things when it comes to online shopping – not just the perfect product. They require some sort of value at every touch point – easy payment options, cheap and convenient shipping and returns, and a seamless shopping experience. A recent article from Shopify has suggested that based on an average of 22 studies, 70% of all shopping carts are abandoned, with the biggest reason being that extra costs are too high. Other reasons for cart abandonment include an account being required to make purchases, the checkout process is too long or complicated, or the pricing was unclear (normally when it comes to shipping options.)
In addition to doing more when it comes to offering convenience and an innovative experience for consumers, online retailers must also look at adapting their approach to meet their customers where and when they are shopping. The choice of marketplaces is growing rapidly – which makes sense given that 51% of post-pandemic retail is predicted to take place online. Expanding the number of marketplaces you sell on is key to meeting your customers where they are shopping, and the best way to win at the E-commerce game as by adding more platforms to your business, you attract more sales from a more diverse audience.
Payment and delivery expectations are shifting
Customer experience continues to be the main differentiator for the top E-commerce brands, and where delivery is concerned, this means choice and transparency. Recent reports have shown that consumers don’t necessarily want the quickest delivery option possible, but the option to choose a specific day and time slot. This is hugely down to the fact people are once again adapting to new routines, with many people returning to the office and their daily commute or just being out and about more in general as the world slowly opens back up.
Having a multi-courier strategy is pivotal to providing multiple shipping options to meet your customers’ needs (time, price etc.) and this is made easy with an order management system (OMS), as you’re able to integrate with multiple couriers, making it easier to select the best courier for the job as you’re not limited by courier choice. You’ll also have the option to send customers automated, real-time updates on their orders.
With global marketplaces at the consumer’s fingertips, shoppers also expect to have multiple payment options when they arrive at the checkout, along with competitive and economical price rates for shipping methods. More and more consumers will purchase using their smartphones through mobile payments and digital wallets, such as PayPal, Venmo, and WeChat. The UK embraces mobile, digital wallet payments over traditional payment options such as debit and credit cards. The Global Payments Report for 2021 projects that both digital wallets and M-commerce will account for 40% of online purchases and payments, which is food for thought where your shopping carts are concerned.
Enhancing the customer experience
Fulfilment and shipping go hand in hand, and play a significant role in the customer journey, especially when you consider that the point of delivery can often be the only face-to-face interaction customers will have with your brand. If you do sell on multiple platforms and marketplaces, inventory management can often be time consuming and increases the risk of inaccurate orders and overselling stock. An OMS supports you in managing your online shops across multiple E-commerce channels from a single platform and offers real-time stock sync. If inventory isn’t synced, it is likely order capability will be exceeded, and retailers won’t be able to deliver.
Online retailers must reduce the risk of losing customer loyalty over something as small as a payment error, missed order, or delivery issue. Anticipating peaks, becoming aware of lead times from suppliers and getting a handle on the data behind inventory reduces these risks and is something digitisation can help out with. E-commerce software is on the rise and is a popular solution for online retailers as it allows them to deliver great customer experiences whilst also getting to grips with an influx of orders.
As many online retailers adapt to be able to overcome new challenges by investing in technology and digitising their processes, those that don’t are at risk of being left behind. An OMS is the perfect solution for online retailers who are struggling to fulfil orders and meet delivery demand, or are looking to scale up. By having access to your inventory, marketplaces, couriers, and accounting systems from one centralised platform, you are in complete control of your E-commerce business.
Don’t lose out on sales or customer loyalty by being tied down by the inconvenience of physical logistics.