As more and more of us shift to online shopping from the comfort of our homes, it makes sense that customers would be a little indecisive about committing to buying a product as it’s so easy to have a change of mind and abandon purchases at the last hurdle.
This is called cart abandonment, an ecommerce term used to describe when a consumer adds a product to their shopping cart but fails to follow through with the purchase for any number of reasons. Recent data from Statista found that upwards of 88 percent of online shopping orders are abandoned at the checkout.
The online shopper is fickle and expects a seamless customer experience - any unexpected or unclear shipping costs, limited delivery options, a poor returns policy and a restricted checkout process can all lead to cart abandonment. So how do ecommerce retailers bridge the crucial gap between just window shopping and converting a purchase?
From first clicking on the website through to the last mile of the logistics operation – it all feeds into the customer experience of an ecommerce retailer’s capabilities. For starters, the new generation of shoppers expects to see multiple payment options at checkout other than just the classic credit card. These may include Klarna or ClearPay (buy now pay over two or three months, usually interest-free), Apple or Google Pay and PayPal, among many others.
The trend towards more payment options also extends to delivery choices. Free shipping can significantly boost conversion rates (even if the goods are more expensive as a result), whereas for some shoppers speed is of the essence and they want same day or next day delivery. A number of online fashion retailers now offer an annual subscription covering guaranteed next or nominated day delivery for a one-off payment.
The environmentally conscious will nearly always opt for the greenest choice. Many customers will baulk at a standard delivery cost that is perceived to be poor value, whilst P&P charges that work out more expensive than the actual goods purchased will undoubtedly lead to customer frustration.
Meeting these expectations without too much compromise often means juggling different transport providers and their various systems, which is not an easy operation to do manually. Consider consolidating all of your transport providers into a single platform that will improve the distribution process and deliver an efficient method of connecting fulfilment and shipping. For example, a mailing service could be the default for standard deliveries and a next-day courier for more urgent shipping.
An ecommerce business that doesn’t have an integrated Carrier Management Solution (CMS), is likely to be manually processing the same data multiple times through different systems which is time-consuming and raises the risk of human error.
Let’s make it even clearer - if you are doing this process manually you might have to run to the warehouse to pick the product, then go to the PC and type the address in, input the weight and volume, print a label, put it on the box, write down the details, input the details into the WMS and then manually send an email to the customer. If this is done 50 times a day, that’s an entire day gone and only 50 orders out of the door. With many retailers experiencing increased volumes across ecommerce during COVID-19, it’s impossible to get ahead with manual processes.
With solutions like SmartFreight, integrated with your Linnworks order management system, orders can come across in under one second, with label printing in two seconds and the data back in the WMS in four seconds. Now that’s efficiency!
Similarly, shipping orders on sub-optimal routes or services causes delays, additional costs and a poor customer experience. Retailers still operating with a single carrier system are really missing out. You can’t cross compare and you can’t run reports. If you use a smart system, you can use freight profiles whereby you can set criteria to select certain carriers depending on the locality, postcode or county for example.
Managing high volume deliveries through one channel gives retailers the flexibility to match their customers’ requirements, tracking the final mile matters most as it gives customers visibility and a sense of control.
Everyone wants to know where their goods are - whether they are still in a warehouse or in a van on the road to their destination, you need to know where they are at any given time on their journey. The customer should have full visibility of their goods through a constant stream of communication via real-time tracking.
An integrated solution receiving tracking data provides shipment information to customers via a branded tracking portal. This data is enhanced via email alerts and SMS which identify where the items are within the delivery journey, regardless of transport provider used. This substantially reduces inbound calls on shipment status while at the same time constantly reinforcing the shipper’s brand. Not to mention enabling the customer to feel in control of their parcel.
With ecommerce penetration reaching record highs during Covid-19, many retailers have struggled to keep up with demand. The current pandemic has provided a challenging scenario to all sectors of the UK economy, yet the ‘new normal’ has led to thousands of high street dependent businesses turning to ecommerce and commencing, or massively increasing, remote deliveries to customers.
This increased reliance on ecommerce puts even greater pressure on businesses to deliver goods and parcels efficiently and effectively to retain a competitive edge. Those with the slickest operations are able to cope best with the dramatic shift to online sales as the pandemic runs its course.
However big or small a business is, streamlining the despatch operation using the latest shipping software not only frees up staff but provides an automatic choice of transport provider best suited to the client’s requirements along with the flexibility to manage a dip or spike in volumes during a crisis, whether it’s for household goods, jewellery or car parts.
Businesses also need to consider customers who place numerous orders, not necessarily at the same time, but are anticipating receiving them on the same day. Why despatch multiple parcels to one address when an integrated CMS will consolidate all the orders placed in one day to send out as one consignment, reducing shipping costs, product miles and helping the environment?
That’s the beauty of an integrated CMS. Businesses can slice and dice their distribution pie any way they like to suit specific needs. It’s all about making a commercial decision based on customer requirements. For the retailer, there can be so many cost and efficiency benefits sitting behind this simple interface.
Whether price, volume, delivery service or environmental impact are at the top of the shipping priority list, an integrated shipping platform and delivery tracking technology offer quick and flexible solutions for ecommerce so that the customer experience is the best it can be, and ultimately so that fewer carts are abandoned midway through the process.
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