Whether you find yourself in the shoes of an eCommerce store owner or a shipping professional, there is no denying the innovations on the horizon. Online technologies which enable customers to order items from the comfort of their homes, halfway across the globe, have proven challenging for the shipping industry.
According to Shopify, 57% of worldwide purchases are made from overseas retailers, with 84% of B2B commerce originating beyond the western world and into Asia. Additionally, Fortunly pointed out that 95% of all purchases will be made online by 2040, with eCommerce sales expected to surpass $735 billion by 2023.
From marine shipping, trains, trucks and other forms of transportation aim to keep up with online-only technology to provide for a seamless and affordable services. Let’s explore the different ways in how is technology changing the world of shipping to better understand what your business can do to remain competitive.
Increased Demand for Speedy Shipping
We’ve touched on the idea of eCommerce and the immediate access to shopping which customers can enjoy from around the world. In terms of shipping expectations, this typically translates to an increased demand for quicker, more efficient arrival of ordered packages.
The need for momentary access to paid-for goods is a direct consequence of fast internet access and omnichannel communication we all enjoy. While we can get in touch with friends or business stakeholders at a push of a button, shipping physical items is a more delicate matter.
Rather than try to get this point across to international customers, shipping companies and retailers are required to make their delivery processes more efficient. Faster delivery times will in turn effectively increase both the retailer’s and shipping company’s reputation on the market, making it a win-win for everyone involved.
Order Tracking Features are a Must
As we’ve previously mentioned, the majority of online shopping happens overseas, where customers will expect to hear news of their order sooner rather than later. That being said, both item and container tracking have become an industry norm, one that requires retailers to work closely with shipping companies.
In an effort to help amend some of the worry about lost or late packages, customers have become able to track their orders online. This has led to an increase in trust with online shops and a higher percentage of finalized orders as a direct result.
Companies without even a basic level of order tracking will have a far more difficult time in finding a global audience for their online storefront. However, this is one trend worth looking into, as it will make a positive technology shipping impact on the online store going forward.
Flexibility in Delivery Options
Depending on the urgency, scale and delicacy of the ordered items, different shipping options should be made available to customers. For example, some customers may be content with waiting several weeks for packages to arrive, while others might want it by the end of week.
Thus, a business model should be created around the notion of offering different types of shipping depending on the order details and customer expectations. Normally, such an initiative would result in higher income for the technology shipping involved in making sure that packages arrive to their addresses quickly.
This allows for easier back-end package management since rushed orders can be streamlined while lenient ones can wait for their turn, creating a good balance. Give customers the final say in how rushed or lenient the package’s delivery should be and attach a fair price point to that choice.
Increase in Order Quality Control
Given that many eCommerce storefronts use third-party shipping companies and partners to deliver products, quality control has become a necessity in recent years. Ensuring that the product has arrived to its destination as advertised will effectively build positive brand image both for the online store and shipping company.
In addition, the emphasis on quality can become a marketing stable and allow for better customer retention and word of mouth. Such an initiative will naturally bring expectations with it, so a good balance of realistic quality control expectations and deliverable results should be the focus.
James Gill, Head of Sales at Studicus had this to say on the matter: “Delivering a sub-par order is a big “no” for any company. Make sure that QA is in place both in-house and with your delivery service to ensure that you are making good on your value proposition. Failing to do so can cost far more than a shipping return fee and seep into your brand reputation – avoid that at any times.”
Ability to Recall & Modify Orders
While it may prove to be a logistical challenge, the online era and technology shipping innovations have created the need to modify or recall orders. Customers may find certain items unnecessary or they might want to add more products to their order before it arrives.
This has created the necessity to use shipping schedules in an efficient manner to organize and facilitate such a demand in the online market. Using each shipping container, air or train shipment to certain regions effectively is the name of the game in 2020 and beyond.
Failing to provide such flexibility to international customers can spell doom for eCommerce stores which may be seen as negative toward their customer bases. Thus, it’s in the best interest of both parties that a certain leniency in order recall and modification is provided to the customers.
Support & Servicing Channels
The answer to how is technology changing the world can best be summarized in the open-ended communication channels available. From social media to chatbots, eCommerce platforms and shipping experts have made it easier for customers to get in touch with their suppliers.
From lost shipments, to changes in order information, to modifications of item quantity, the potential issues and questions are seemingly endless. As such, it has become the norm to provide timely, professional and informative customer support to clients around the world.
In doing so, a company can provide rudimentary distance and time information, as well as order status and logistical details to interested parties. This allows for a higher degree of transparency and professional courtesy between retailers, shipping companies and end-customers, creating a sustainable and informative ecosystem for everyone.
So, how is technology changing the world? More specifically, how can technology and shipping work hand-in-hand to provide a higher degree of service quality to international customers? It all comes down to organizing a shipping and handling pipeline which suits your employees’ work habits, as well as customer base expectations.
Settle for an international shipping company which will be able to provide you with reliable delivery in a timely and affordable manner. In doing so, you will facilitate all the technology shipping needs of your customers and allow for much better brand reputation and customer retention. Follow along with industry trends and your audience will return that initiative in spades.