In today's omnichannel world, a customer's "want" list becomes longer and longer and these "wants" are turning into expectations quicker than ever. The problem is, the gap between consumer expectation and retailer capability is growing. It's hard to keep up with the expectation of free shipping, same-day shipping, express shipping, ship-from-store...the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is, the future belongs to retailers who look at this as an opportunity and turn shipping and fulfillment into a retail weapon.
As you can see in this graph, retailers are never fully offering what consumers want. Sometimes, the services that a percentage of consumers are prepared to pay a premium for are higher than what retailers are actually offering. For example, it is important to note that 77% of consumers have used and would like to use in the future guaranteed weekend or after hours shipping, and 42% of them would pay a premium for this, while only 34% of retailers offer it. That is a huge gap!
So you might be looking at this graph thinking that there are A LOT of shipping options on it. Giving consumers a choice at the checkout is now less of a feature, and more of a necessity. With 71% of all retailers giving their customers a choice, it's more important than ever to remain competitive.
The expectations do not stop there. Additionally, 80% of consumers want the ability to track their orders not only online, but on their mobile device. Of those 80%, 76% of them want SMS communication throughout the entire shipping process. Since consumers like to be aware of their purchases, retailers need to comply and give them what they're wanting to compete for the number one spot.
But, not only do consumers expect a ton of shipping options, they also want ultimate visibility throughout the whole shipping process. Mobility has ushered in a new era of transparency. From the moment an online order is placed, ownership is transferred to the consumer and the "want it now" generation expects to be kept in the loop. This makes retailers sweat. In fact, some of them have no automation of backend tracking processes - everything is manual! *shocked face*
To meet the expectations of today's customers, businesses have a unique opportunity to re-imagine their supply chain and create meaningful, cost-effective customer experiences. Start focusing on how you ship your products, how many options you give your customers and how much visibility you allow them. If you hit the mark on each one of these, you'll be sitting pretty in the world of retail.