Author: Nicolas Ibarra -International Project Management Consultant / Marketing With Spectos
E-commerce is reshaping our perspectives of how technology is used and expectations of customer service. The impact has been felt far and wide, especially within the logistics industry. As more consumers tend to shop for products outside of their regions, cross-border e-commerce is also having a tremendous impact on the industry.
The boom is not without challenges though. The significant growth has cascaded into issues with service quality and security. Theft is a major sore point that plops up on the radar for most companies moving goods globally. It is estimated that $15 to $30 billion USD is lost in stolen goods each year – that is just the USA alone!
When the industry is not trying to tackle the problem of thefts, service quality management is another factor that companies must consider. The speed of delivery paired with consumer perception is something that must be constantly monitored to ensure great KPIs. Customer expectations have risen in terms of speed, low costs and convenience, even as consumers are shopping for goods and items globally.
As of 2020, the e-commerce industry is projected to be worth over $4 trillion dollars USD. There is no slowing down for this industry. The industry is heavily influenced by all of these changes in e-commerce, but the tools of the trade have been there for a long time: RFID tags, transit time measurements and even panel management. With state-of-the-art tech like Live Trackers giving the industry a brand-new edge into monitoring its processes and services, it is now the opportune time for the industry to finally use all available tools to their full advantages.
MORE TRANSPARENCY WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES
The demand of internet connectivity has helped to fuel the growth of e-commerce. This has enabled consumers to shop further afield and scour the whole globe for products. From mouse click to door ring, today a person can purchase almost anything from anywhere.
With the increase of cross-border e-commerce has come the need for more logistics visibility over the delivery process. Nowadays, it is not just a nice feature to see where your parcel or package is, it is part of the whole customer service package.
The investments into hard and soft tech from businesses such as Amazon, Alibaba and other e-commerce businesses have paved new roads that are elevating customer service quality and making it easier to sell and buy almost anything globally.
A cutting-edge technology that is making waves is the Live Tracker device that allows consumers and service providers alike to experience the complete logistics supply chain from the comfort of their mobile phone or personal computer. Equipped with multiple levels of sensors, the Live Trackers are small and simple and utilize GSM and WIFI connections to deliver a clear view of the logistics process.
The map views generated by the Live Tracker can be shared with multiple parties. For example, a customer can always see where their package is. On the other hand, a company’s quality control department can glean more detailed information about the logistics chain and can benchmark between internal and external services that allows it to maximize efficiencies. Thus, the company can focus on cost savings while maintaining the customer base happy, all in a holistic approach.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR CONSUMERS?
According to a report from Pitney Bowes, online consumers in the USA feel dissatisfied with the level of service from e-commerce companies. This coincides with a similar finding out of the UK executed by Triangle Management Services which found that, ‘respondents chose customer service as the single most important factor when rating carrier performance, ahead of quality of transport, provision of information and even price’.
Many consumers also pointed to the post-purchase experience as the source of their dissatisfaction. Reasons given were for late arrivals, expensive shipping, tracking inaccuracies and lost or incorrect items.
IPC found that 70% of all e-commerce parcels are delivered by national post administrators. This means that a lot of the blame for any delivery issues is placed on your nation’s postal providers. 49% of consumers wanted to see the entire supply chain when ordering a product. This number increases when the goods are cross-border.
In the same survey by IPC, consumers valued clear information about delivery charges, a simple and reliable returns process, free returns and full visibility of the delivery process.
Given that many customers seem to be dissatisfied with the level of service in regard to e-commerce, Amazon seems to be pushing the envelope when it comes to the whole customer experience. At the recent POST Expo in Hamburg, logistics expert Marek Różycki stated to Post and Parcel’s Postal Hub, that the company is highly focused in providing its customers with information, control and choice. Examples of this mantra is Amazon’s out-of-home deliveries (PUDO) and investments in products such as Alexa and its drone program for deliveries. All are intended to provide the customer with the feeling of control, comfort, convenience and flexibility.
These important facts highlight what many consumers are expecting nowadays: A clear overview of the supply chain.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
As we inch closer to the holidays, we are looking for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Those in the industry are beginning to ramp up their productivity for the coming onslaught of letters and parcels. The one question that comes to mind is, how well do you know your processes and service quality? Do you have everything in place that can assure that your organization is growing successfully with the e-commerce boom?
Spectos, the leader in postal and logistics innovation and market research can help your organization understand the fundamentals in delivering the best customer experience while ensuring service quality for all your processes.
Spectos’ experienced project management team are experts in market research, social media and postal and logistics technology. With the recent acquisition of Kizy Tracking SA, Spectos is continuously innovating the industry to achieve higher service quality standards for postal providers and customers. Let our experts show you how to utilize these tools to compete in the booming e-commerce market.
Our experienced and knowledgeable professionals are available to help you at any time!
IPC – CROSS-BORDER E-COMMERCE SHOPPER SURVEY 2017
Ecommerce Foundation – Ecommerce Report, The United Kingdom 2017
Pitney Bowes – Global Ecommerce Study: https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/ecommerce-study.html
Statista – Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars): https://www.statista.com/statistics/379046/worldwide-retail-e-commerce-sales/
‘Cargo theft facts, stats and trends’
‘UK Domestic Express Parcels Report (B2B & B2C) 2018’
‘Understanding Amazon means winning the last mile’