As shipping costs continue to rise, and many are still traumatized by the long list of challenges this past holiday season, eCommerce businesses and retailers are beginning to shift towards new shipping trends.
Many are looking for ways to better plan for the year ahead and help reduce overstocked inventory, whether it’s from product that arrived late and missed the holiday season or to better plan for the ebbs and flows of the upcoming busy seasons.
Are you well versed in the new shipping trends for success this year?
Just in Case Approach
The biggest trend and shift for eCommerce businesses right now is away from the just in time approach and implementing the “just in case” approach.
Operating lean and efficiently are the hallmarks of the just in time approach, but in when challenges arise with supply chains and products become difficult to get to consumers quickly, it may lead to backorders and products arriving much later than customer expectations and demands. Long term, this could impact returns, increased inventory, upset customers and unfortunately decrease the overall customer experience that your team has worked so hard to provide.
The just in case approach, however, encourages businesses to plan for the unexpected and make more upfront investments to secure operations for the longer term, reducing the probability of products selling out and accounting for surges in demand and lapses in supply.
A successful transition from lean operations to more on-hand inventory isn’t necessarily all guess work on which inventory to bulk up on. eCommerce businesses and retailers who are successful with this lean heavily on data to know which products have higher demand, areas of the country to store products in warehouses for more efficient shipping, and which economy carriers they can partner with for consistency in delivery times – all working to increase customer satisfaction.
Many retailers and eCommerce businesses offered extended return windows this past holiday seasons due to supply chain issues. With this much longer lag time between purchase and receiving the product, many times the return window could have already passed by the time the customer received the product – all due to issues mostly out of eithers’ control.
This extended return window causes several issues for eCommerce businesses – from increased costs which include additional postage to ship the product back to a warehouse, refunding the product cost to the customer, additional costs to then store the product in inventory, disposal costs of damaged products, and the list goes on.
The “reverse logistics” trend allows customers to hold on to purchases that do not work out and they wish to return and shifts the responsibility from the company to the customer for final disposal of the no longer desired product. Many are implementing this strategy when a product value is below the cost to return the product, simplifying the return process for both sides.
Many eCommerce businesses are looking for ways to enhance their inventory offering to take advantage of the “Frequently bought together” component on most online platforms today. The retailers’ algorithm utilizes data from past purchases and items that are highly complementary to help entice customers to purchase additional products.
The emphasis for bundling is not only to provide a better customer experience with products that work well together, but to sell them simultaneously so that the shipping and packing expenses are reduced to one box and one shipping expense, which leads to increased profits for the exchange.
The critical component is to select products that are highly complementary and a unique bundling – making this a win-win for both the eCommerce business and the consumer.
Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping
OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.
Your eCommerce business will be up and running quickly, with no downtime required for setup, allowing your team to focus on your strategic shipping approach and be ready for the upcoming busy seasons.
To learn more about how OPAL has partnered with many to scale their business to new levels of success, click here!
Click here to book your customized demo today. We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!