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Six reasons why delivery management is the “beating heart” of ecommerce logistics

By Johan Hellman, Vice President, Product & Carrier at nShift

Content sponsored by NSHIFT

Deliveries should be a great moment of truth for customers – particularly when they’re buying from a retailer they’ve never used before. 

Unfortunately, the process is error-prone: a recent survey from Citizens Advice found one in three UK consumers has had a problem with parcel deliveries in the past year. 

On the other hand, deliveries done right can drive loyalty, increase revenues and unlock novel business models. They show the brand living up to its promises.   

The right delivery management technology can help achieve all these benefits, as well as improving business efficiency and emissions performance.   

While many organisations will be tempted to develop “homegrown” delivery management capabilities, implanting a dedicated solution is far more likely to deliver. Here are six reasons why: 

  1. Real carrier connectivity 

Delivery management’s ability to build customer loyalty and reduce costs hinges on retailers having pre-existing deep connections to multiple carriers, rather than depending on just one or two.   

Providing the right range of delivery options can increase conversions by 20% as customers value being able to make the choice as to what works best for them. 

  1. Supporting the journey to net zero 

Deliveries make a significant contribution to retailers’ carbon footprints. Customers and legislators everywhere are pressuring them to reduce their impacts. This is leading to greater scrutiny of carbon emissions in the last mile. 

In mid-2024, the EU’s Corporate Social Responsibility Directive (CSRD) will come into force, requiring around 50,000 businesses working in the EU to provide detailed, validated reports on their carbon emissions - including those in the last mile. Penalties for delayed or incomplete submissions are likely to be stiff. 

Retailers need to be able to collate reports on their emissions and verify their data is accurate. Shipment-level emissions data can help retailers identify quick wins for reducing emissions, so their footprint shrinks even as the business grows. 

  1. Seamless integration with key business systems 

Deliveries sit at the heart of a complex retail technology ecosystem, including shopping carts, ERP systems, payments platforms and warehouse or inventory management applications. That makes deliveries uniquely sensitive to upgrades, system changes, or alterations to API specifications - any of which could lead to glitches and delays in dispatching parcels to customers. Ensuring these systems integrate effectively with one another is complex and intricate. Buying, rather than building, a delivery management solution means retailers effectively outsource their integration headaches to their vendor. 

  1. The power of delivery innovation 

The onward march of customer expectations drives retail innovation. What may seem cutting-edge today could be yesterday’s news in a matter of months.  

Customers expect choice when it comes to deliveries, a slick tracking experience and easy returns. They want delivery updates via the social apps where they live their digital lives. And they want to be able to request a return the same way they followed their delivery. 

Meeting these demands also opens the doors to cross-selling, as well as novel possibilities in retail business models, such as marketplaces for “vintage” or used items, which can be supported by reverse logistics. 

  1. Easy expansion into new markets 

Often one of the constraints when moving into new markets is to have the infrastructure on the ground to deliver there, even from existing home-country warehouses. By connecting to global carrier networks and automating the production of customs declarations and other key documents, delivery management solutions can facilitate merchants’ international growth. 

  1. Support and uptime 

Systems that run slow or, worse, go offline without warning, can lead to customers shopping elsewhere. It follows that checkouts, delivery tracking, customer communications and returns not only need to be always-on, but also always-brilliant. 

Retailers should therefore ensure they have strong service level agreements for delivery management - whether built in-house or sourced from an external provider.  

Do they know who to call when things go wrong - regardless of the time of day? How confident are they that their deliveries platform won’t become obsolete when the people who developed it leave the business?   

At a minimum, they should expect support during business hours at their business locations and guarantees of product support that could span several years.   

Deliveries are the “beating heart” of ecommerce. A smoothly beating deliveries capability means more sales, satisfied and loyal customers and smooth-running operations. When deliveries develop a tic - or fail altogether - the whole business soon notices. 

nShift has been innovating in delivery management for 25 years, helping leading multichannel and ecommerce retailers grow through deliveries.   

Find out more about deliveries powered by nShift.

Published On: 30/11/2023 14:30:00


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