Earlier this year, Australian activewear brand Lorna Jane stepped up its shipping capabilities when it streamlined its processes and sped up delivery.
Lorna Jane was looking for a solution that would make every day fulfilment functions including tracking, address validation, reprinting, updating address after checkout and cancelling labels fast and easy. They wanted to automate manual parts of dispatch so they could focus on other parts of their business. And they needed certainty that they would be able to generate labels even if there was a carrier outage.
“Lorna Jane was at a point with their dispatch where they needed to either build their own integration to their carrier via an API, or partner with a shipping automation platform,” explains Starshipit APAC Growth Manager Jennifer Diaz. “After exploring both options, they realised that partnering with Starshipit would save them significant time, development resource, and ongoing support and maintenance.”
The switch to Starshipit has proven to be a good move for Lorna Janes’s dispatch team.
“Starshipit provides a slick user portal that our staff love to use,” says John Peters, Lorna Jane’s Distribution Manager. “Operationally, having so many tier-one carriers available allows us to make good choices. It has been a breath of fresh air dealing with Starshipit.”
Showpo ups the ante on shipping
Lorna Jane isn’t the only retailer that has revisited its shipping and fulfilment capabilities. Online fashion retailer Showpo upped its delivery game last year. The fast-fashion brand offers a wide range of shipping options and exports to more than 80 countries around the world.
“One big issue we faced was unmanifested orders from our last mile partners,” explains Danny Efendi, Showpo’s Logistics and Fulfilment Manager. “This often resulted in hefty penalties from our carriers.
“Starshipit makes the manifesting process simple. Starshipit has a robust and direct API integration with all our carriers and a webhook that allows us to validate addresses on our front-end. This means that we never encounter unmanifested parcels, which has become a big cost saver for the business.”
Starshipit doesn’t just look after enterprise pure players like Showpo and omnichannel experts like Lorna Jane though. They work with thousands of retailers all over the world with a large proportion of them being small to medium businesses, many of which face the same problems at dispatch.
“It doesn’t matter how big or small a business is; chances are they face the same pain points,” says Diaz. “Every month we onboard hundreds of new customers who want to save time at dispatch. Many companies don’t realise that there’s a better, more efficient way than copying and pasting data from their online stores and marketplaces, in order to generate their shipping labels and send out tracking to their customers. By using our powerful rules engine, they can essentially set and forget their fulfilment processes, saving hours of time and thousands of dollars every year.”
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues and e-commerce skyrockets, businesses are scrambling to find ideal shipping solutions. Here are some of the most common challenges that retailers are now facing when it comes to managing delivery.
1. Getting orders fulfilled – fast
Whether you’ve quickly launched your online store because your physical store is closed, or you’re selling popular products like gym equipment or home office furniture, a lot of retailers are struggling to get orders out fast enough. It’s time to automate.
“For businesses that have exploded, getting orders out the door has become a challenge and for many is taking days longer,” says Diaz. “As a result, their customer support teams are bombarded with ‘Where’s my parcel?’ enquiries from unhappy customers. That increase in volume means they have to react quickly and pivot towards shipping automation. A retailer can get started with Starshipit within an hour if they’ve got all their carrier credentials.”
2. Shipping delays
From managing international trade lanes that have shut down to dealing with social distancing and fewer people working in warehouses, shipping delays are a big bugbear for a lot of retailers – and customers – at the moment. Diaz says that while retailers have always tried to balance the speed of delivery with minimising costs, offering customers choice at checkout is increasingly becoming a priority.
“Many of our retailers want to switch on different carriers so they can offer more delivery options like express, twilight or on-demand,” she says. “With Starshipit, they have that instant access to courier choice. Now they’re saving time, reducing errors and giving their customers more choice on their terms, which all leads to greater conversion at checkout and making more money at the end of the day.”
3. Cold feet at checkout
Reports have found that up to 90 per cent of purchases are impacted at checkout due to shipping costs and delivery options. Since the pandemic hit, more retailers want more control around their live pricing.
“In response to Covid, a lot of companies who previously sold in physical stores have moved online,” says Diaz. “But a flat shipping rate isn’t always the best option for some products. Retailers don’t want to be caught out by offering a flat rate at checkout and then be out of pocket when they have an order going to a remote location that ends up costing them double. Starshipit’s live rates at checkout solves many of these challenges.”
4. An increased demand for more visibility
Shipping delays may be unavoidable, but it’s important to always keep your customers updated – now more than ever. In some cases, delays can take several days longer than usual, and even longer for international orders.
“There’s already a disjoint between a customer falling in love with something online and waiting for it to arrive at their doorstep, but now with greater delivery delays it can be tougher for customers to wait,” says Diaz. “Retailers should take every opportunity they can to reassure their customers that, despite delays, they matter to them and their orders are on the way.”
She says that it’s no longer enough to only send a customer an order confirmation email. Shipping notifications at key stages of the delivery process help to reduce enquiries around delivery. Tracking pages are also useful for customers to track the status of an order, but Diaz says that many retailers are missing an opportunity to engage with their customers by simply using generic tracking pages supplied by their couriers.
“The post-purchase part of the fulfilment process is a key opportunity to keep your customer engaged and your brand front of mind. Our branded tracking tool lets retailers serve up content that keep their customer engaged long after they’ve hit the ‘Buy’ button. This could be information around returns or exchanges, links to your social channels or sale product, exclusive discount codes to use next time, a prompt to sign up to your newsletter, information about your shipping partner’s contactless delivery processes, requests for reviews or ratings – all ways to keep your brand front of mind, not the courier’s.
“Efficient fulfilment isn’t just about getting orders out your doors fast. It’s also about keeping your customers informed at every step of the delivery journey.”
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