Specialty retailers can benefit from the lessons learned by big box stores when delivering products to their customers. They were forced to improve their shipping and delivery processes in order to stay profitable, but were unaware of the exact costs for a well-run logistics operation.
Shipping and Delivery Services
Furniture retailers know that nothing is too big to ship directly to a customer. The success of these services demonstrates how people are willing to pay for delivery. But, because of the popularity of two-day shipping, retailers also need to manage their customers’ expectations. The same can be said for smaller purchases, as well.
How To Improve Delivery Efficiency
Poorly run shipping and delivery services create a drain on essential resources, primarily employees’ time spent on a task. Improving efficiencies will free up those resources and increase customer satisfaction. This valuable service becomes more profitable when optimized.
The following nine tips offer ways to improve your shipping and delivery processes:
1. Assess the Entire Process
Start with identifying process issues and fixing them as quickly as possible. From there, you’ll be able to document each step and analyze the ones that need to be merged with another or eliminated. Simplifying the process may also require technology upgrades and automation. Assessing your operations can lead to significant efficiencies in the shipping and delivery process.
2. Improve Communication Between the Store and Warehouse
Poor communication between your store and the warehouse can lead to mistakes and becomes a drain on productivity. Clear communication enables employees to understand the expectations for every order that needs to be fulfilled.
3. Ask for Employee Input
Your employees are responsible for the speed and accuracy of each order for delivery. They know the process and workarounds needed to fulfill each one. Ask them for their input because they are the experts.
4. Upgrade Your Technology
Outdated and obsolete technology is costing you more than you think. It’s a drain on productivity, and replacement costs become more expensive if not addressed early. This includes WiFi speeds, expandable data storage, system redundancy, and all-in-one applications.
5. Set Up Automated Tasks
Automation takes simplifying the process a step further because it reduces errors made during manual tasks. This mimics human actions, such as email responses, order processing, transferring data, and more. Automation also improves the overall customer experience through frequent communications regarding their purchases.
6. Form Stronger Relationships with Couriers
To provide reliable, efficient, and cost-effective shipping, you need to work with a reputable courier service. Saving a couple of bucks may cost you more because of poor service. You want to create a team between your shipping department and courier service. Retailers that are more engaged with their couriers get price breaks and exclusive perks.
7. Send Frequent Updates to Customers
Keeping your customers up to date on the status of their packages gives them a better idea of when their order will arrive. The time between purchase to delivery is also one of the most significant opportunities for you to increase brand awareness while they track their packages. Texting and email are the best ways to do this.
8. Create a Process for International Shipping
Some specialty retailers may not need to ship overseas. It all depends on the products and availability, so one day, you might need to. Doing a little research before this comes up will give you a better idea of shipping costs and delivery times so that you can give an honest quote.
Best-Practices: Regular Audits
Performing regular audits of your shipping and delivery process keep it running smoothly and provides insight into areas that need improvement. To make it easier, you can audit parts of the process or do it from the customer’s point of view. Without them, your process may succumb to costly errors that could have been easily avoided.