Though physical retail locations continue to service the customers that come in, the online iterations of retail operations have become much more successful. While recent years required many customers to strictly shop online, these physical retail locations might be due for a resurgence. However, there is no sign of slowing down for online retailing. This is mostly because these mediums have changed the way people shop for the better. For example, the research and comparisons a customer can make online are much more robust than what they can make in store. While it’s clear that many larger retailers greatly benefit from this online dominance, what about the smaller online retailers without much brand recognition? This post will detail the ways in which this group of retailers struggles, in addition to the ways they can limit these struggles.
Many smaller online retailers look to the way of Amazon when considering their largest competition. It’s clear that they have the most influence over the industry at large as they continue to shake up the online retailing atmosphere. With their willingness to support third-party sellers, their platform’s offerings expand further than any smaller online retailer could ever imagine. Product totals approaching nearly 12 million products, it’s easy to see why online retailers can be so timid. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only thing to worry about, as it’s become nearly impossible to keep up with their shipping capabilities.
As if keeping up with so many product offerings wasn’t enough, shipping issues for smaller retailers can be a true nightmare. Guaranteed two-day shipping can be hard to turn down as a customer, even if they understand the quality of the product they’re receiving isn’t the best. This means that these smaller online retailers have had to adapt in every way they know how. One of the major changes these retailers have made is providing robust tracking information for online orders. With a branded tracking page available on a retailer’s website, customers can receive the most detailed information on each step of the processing and delivery process for their orders. So despite having to wait a bit longer for their packages, customers remain informed.
It’s also important to consider making changes to a website that promote convenience. Think of how simple (or complicated) the new user experience is currently. Do first-time visitors have the ability to make an account immediately? Will these accounts retain payment and shipping information for future purchases? Prioritizing ways for customers to save time are the changes these retailers should be making.
While these changes can make a difference, identifying ways in which your business can improve its shipping capabilities is most important. As cost and speed of shipping are highly influential factors on a customer’s willingness to buy from any retailer, these capabilities need to be addressed. However, with seven in ten customers reporting they would rather wait longer for their product if it meant not having to pay a shipping cost, this gives smaller retailers an avenue to gain an advantage. One way to decrease both the cost and shipping times of your products is through an automated storage and retrieval system meant to improve warehousing and transportation situations for businesses. For more information on these systems, be sure to review the resource accompanying this post.
Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.