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Survey Says: 86% of Consumers Willing to Delay E-commerce Delivery in Favor of Sustainability

One of Logistyx’s long-time partners, Blue Yonder, published its 2022 Consumer Sustainability Survey, revealing retail consumer preferences related to sustainable shopping habits after surveying more than 1,000 U.S. consumers on their sustainable shopping opinions and behaviors. Among the key findings:

  • 86% of consumers are willing to delay e-commerce deliveries for the sake of improving sustainability if given an incentive to do so
  • 64% of consumers are willing to spend more for sustainable packaging
  • 40% of consumers agree there should be a purchase threshold to qualify for shipping

In a recent column at Forbes titled “Sustainability Vs. Instant Gratification: Shopping And Shipping In 2022,” Logistyx President Ken Fleming explored the impact of consumerism and instant gratification on shipping sustainability, arguing shoppers need to alter their mindset to focus on sustainability for the good of the planet:

“The fundamental shift in mindset about how we shop is likely to have the greatest effect of all. When we prioritize sustainability over instant gratification, shop with companies that prioritize sustainability, and demand more sustainable options from shippers and carriers, then we’ll see a dramatic shift in our impact on the environment.”

The Blue Yonder survey is encouraging on that front. Speaking with Supply Chain Management Review, Edward Wong, senior vice president, global retail sector leader at Blue Yonder, stated:

“As retail emerges from pandemic-era practices, sustainability is back in focus. The findings of this study reflect the paradigm shift toward a more environmentally friendly supply chain as consumers are now willing to do their part to embrace more sustainable shopping habits.”

That’s music to Logistyx’s ears, but retailers and carriers must also play their part. From Ken’s column at Forbes:

Retailers must:

  • Offer ecologically friendly packaging
  • Present eco-friendly shipping options

Carriers must:

  • Continue to invest in alternative fuel vehicles to reduce emissions
  • Emphasize alternatives to daily at-home delivery
  • Expand eco-options globally

Be sure to review Blue Yonder’s report and infographic.

Contact Logistyx today to see how we can help you with your sustainable shipping efforts.

Total Retail Highlights Importance of Omnichannel

While we know the importance of omnichannel retail, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch, so retailers need a comprehensive approach.

Dolly CEO Jay Sackos recently wrote an article for Total Retail titled “2022 Delivery and Retail Trends,” exploring how various aspects of the retail experience have changed in recent years from sourcing and supply chain to order fulfillment and everything in between. Among Mr. Sackos’ insightful takes on these trends, he cites many industry experts, including Logistyx on defining omnichannel:

Logistyx Technologies perhaps says it best, explaining how within an omnichannel approach ‘the merchant can fulfill an order directly from a store … or from a distribution center … or by moving inventory from a distribution center to a store and then fulfilling the order from the store. In doing so, the merchant is better positioned to meet customer expectations for delivery timelines and accuracy.’”

Omnichannel is a topic we’ve written about extensively and helped many retailers successfully implement. While we’re big fans of omnichannel retail, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch, which is why we have an omnichannel resource hub for retailers interested in exploring, adopting, or optimizing the approach.

Contact Logistyx today to see how we can help you with your omnichannel efforts.

99 Percent of Retailers to Offer Same-Day Delivery within Three Years

Bringg recently surveyed 500 retailers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, and Italy for its 2022 Bringg Barometer: State of Retail Delivery & Fulfillment report assessing their delivery and fulfilment operations.

Among the many findings, one was a particularly eye-opening stat: 99% of respondents say they will be doing same-day delivery within the next three years, compared to 35% who say they are able to do so today.

This is astounding, considering some of the other findings:

  • Many of the current last mile fulfillment models do not support same-day or on-demand delivery, with 36% saying they don’t have the technology, citing real-time order visibility as the main problem, and 24% calling out the sheer distance they need to travel from warehouse to fulfillment as a primary obstacle to delivering on time.
  • Retailers have an urgent need for greater connectivity, but a lack of visibility and outdated technology holds them back. Forty-four percent are managing multiple fulfillment channels with disparate technologies, and 61% cite problems with visibility into the last mile.

Bridging the technological gap to achieve same-day delivery operations is no small feat, even as entrepreneurs tackle supply chain basics and investors pump money into logistics technology. Of course, cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping software can handle the yeoman’s work of ensuring retailers achieve their same-day delivery goals. After all, lack of visibility and changing parcel delivery landscapes are two of the five telltale signs you need a parcel shipping system. Not just any parcel shipping system will do, however. Be sure to select one with a robust partner network for seamless integration with legacy systems and technologies. Also, be sure it’s capable of onboarding gig-economy delivery services to handle rapid, local delivery.

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Finally, as more retailers move to same-day delivery, they should ensure they’re taking a sustainable approach and truly consider whether a “Buy Now” button is the best option.

To discuss these challenges and determine the right approach for same-day delivery, contact Logistyx today and find out why we’re Digital Commerce 360’s #1 Fulfillment Software Provider for the third consecutive year.

McKinsey Report Reimagines the Role of Stores in Parcel Shipping and Distribution

A recent report from McKinsey & Company examines the current role of physical stores in omnichannel distribution and reimagines all they could be. Among the many interesting analyses, McKinsey talks at length about using stores as a hub for last-mile delivery, including:

“Target last-mile delivery speed: Maximum delivery speed depends on the proximity of stores to consumers and the availability of last-mile delivery infrastructure. Consumer expectations of delivery speed may vary by location, which will affect the optimal archetype of any store. In rural areas, for example, consumers may be more accustomed to waiting longer for deliveries and traveling to one central location to fulfill all their shopping needs. In this case, the ideal scenario may be an archetype 2 store in a shopping center with good traffic connections. This location creates a convenient and stress-free journey for consumers who want to shop in store while allowing the retailer to optimize parts of the store layout for order picking. In urban areas, where shoppers may expect delivery in less than 24 hours, it can be beneficial to choose an archetype 3 store optimized for fast order picking and dispatching. Understanding where speed matters will pave the way for a segmented approach regarding delivery-speed promises and solves the speed dilemma of ever-faster omnichannel order fulfillment.

Players can ask themselves the following questions about consumer journey and experience:

  • How can we keep omnichannel processes from disrupting the shopping experience for consumers in the store? Can it be done within the existing layout, or does there need to be a degree of physical separation?
  • What are the priorities of our online and offline consumers? Are they contradictory, or can we cater to both at the same time? How can we make the in-store experience feel like a continuation of online or mobile, and vice versa?
  • What are consumer expectations regarding last-mile delivery speed? Do they expect to receive their products immediately, or might they accept delivery times of more than a day? What role does delivery pricing play here, such as price differentiation between next-day and same-day delivery?”

We encourage you to read the full report to understand the store archetypes mentioned and learn more about the pros and cons of leaning on a retail footprint to improve last mile delivery and enable omnichannel fulfillment for customers. While concerns about the impact on in-store shoppers exist, the ability of retail stores to improve the e-commerce fulfillment process is undeniable. For the purposes of this blog post, let’s consider some of the other points and questions raised in the McKinsey report about last-mile delivery infrastructure and balancing results with consumer expectations.

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As the leading provider of cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping software for high-volume parcel shipping, Logistyx is keenly focused on last-mile delivery and omnichannel fulfillment. While there are myriad keys to success for both, putting the last mile first may be the most important. In an article for Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Logistyx President Ken Fleming argued shippers can reduce costs and meet customer expectations by making a few strategic decisions that keep the last mile first:

1. Utilize a cloud multicarrier network for parcel shipping

A cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping system seamlessly integrates with a retailer’s WMS, OMS, e-commerce, and ERP solutions to automate high volume, multi-carrier, omnichannel parcel shipping. Regardless of which delivery option a customer chooses, the system automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules; and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents. Therefore, retailers can satisfy customers’ delivery requirements and drive down the cost of shipping while transforming logistics into a profit center within the business.

2. Reconsider inventory and fulfillment capabilities

Regional and national retailers with physical stores keep inventory on hand, often relying on warehouses to refill inventory at stores. For them, shipping from the store directly to a customer decreases the distance and, thus, shipping time and expense. They can also employ buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) or buy-online-pickup-curbside (BOPC) models, increasing fulfillment flexibility and reducing dependence on carrier services. But they must have a local carrier network for each retail location, increasingly including gig economy fulfillment carriers to meet fulfillment schedules. They must also determine which products need to be on hand at all locations versus which can be housed at specific locations and know which manufacturing location has the capacity to produce each item and quickly restock the relevant stores’ inventory directly.

3. Trust business intelligence and data

Sophisticated business intelligence technology can aggregate, normalize, and analyze all the data generated by a fulfillment operation, helping retailers identify opportunities to gain efficiencies in the fulfillment process. For example, in certain instances, ground shipping often reaches many destinations as quickly as two-day but for significantly less. Insights like this can pay dividends by meeting customer expectations for fast shipping while keeping costs low. Shippers can also use the data to verify carriers meet contracted service levels for each shipment, increasing leverage in rate negotiations and to determine which carriers are best suited for which deliveries based on performance metrics and existing business rules.

Logistyx TME can help retailers learn where they’re spending the most money in the transportation leg of fulfillment and whether it would be cheaper to transport from the store or from a pop-up distribution center. It can automatically select the best carrier and service for each shipment based on contracted rates and other business rules. It can easily integrate with other key retail systems to create a comprehensive fulfillment solution.

In short, Logistyx can help answer the questions raised by McKinsey and Company regarding last-mile delivery as part of omni-channel fulfillment.

Contact Logistyx today to better understand how stores can best support your last-mile delivery initiatives.

Deloitte Report: Ongoing Supply Chain Issues Warrant a Retail Reset in 2022

New year, same challenges. After facing nearly two years of shipping and supply chain issues riddled with carrier capacity crunches, increased shipping volumes, service delays, and a spate of surcharges and fees, retailers seek greater optimism and stability in 2022.

FreightWaves recently covered Deloitte’s new “2022 Retail Industry Outlook” report, based on insights from 50 senior retail executives identifying opportunities for a retail reset in the year ahead.

Among the biggest trends in retail e-commerce and supply chains for 2022 highlighted in the report:

  • Supply chains are top of mind – 80% of the executives surveyed believe consumers will prioritize stock availability over brand loyalty, meaning retailers will need to place inventory above all if they want to turn a profit. The report’s co-author recommends retailers gain as much transparency as possible from their sourcing partners while also bringing on new partners to expand their sourcing base and reduce the impact of widespread disruptions.
  • Automation is key – Half of the executives surveyed cited automation in fulfillment and distribution centers as a priority. The report recommends retailers automate their warehouse processes as much as possible and invest in automated technology for the last mile.
  • Data sharing and visibility – The Deloitte report highlighted the growing emphasis among retailers on data sharing and visibility for gaining an array of supply chain efficiencies. With the right data available, retailers can gain real-time insight into their end-to-end logistics and supply chain management processes to efficiently identify and address problems or patterns while enhancing the customer experience.

One other key finding spotlighted by FreightWaves highlights a problem that many shippers overcome by integrating Logistyx’s parcel shipping system with their inventory management, order management or warehouse management systems.

  • Focus on the last mile – According to the report’s co-author, one of the biggest obstacles facing retail executives will be reducing last-mile costs. With consumers expecting near-infinite fulfillment options, offering them all while keeping costs low is a challenge. Ship from store, curbside pickup, buy online pick up in store –– all are more expensive than a run-of-the-mill delivery.

In fact, integrating a parcel shipping system into the technology stack can make omnichannel fulfillment more cost-effective and offer retailers some much needed relief from common fulfillment challenges.

Parcel Shipping Technology Sets Retailers Up for Success

A cloud parcel shipping solution not only makes omnichannel fulfillment options more profitable for retailers; it can help them effectively tackle each of the above trends and more to succeed in e-commerce by enabling:

Supply Chain Transparency

Embracing the cloud can help retailers anticipate risk while improving transparency and coordination across the supply chain. Digitized supply chains are faster, more accurate, and more flexible than other supply chains, and each is anchored by a single system of record for the organization.

When integrating a cloud parcel shipping system with a supply chain technology stack – including inventory management systems, warehouse management systems, and order management systems – retailers create a synchronized supply chain ecosystem, and they have a more complete view of their entire order fulfillment and logistics operations. Then, when a customer places an online order, the supply chain ecosystem identifies the best location from which to ship the product, automatically selects the “best cost” carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules, and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents. Once the parcel leaves its destination, the inventory management or order management systems are updated accordingly.  The retailer has created a streamlined, closed-loop order fulfillment workflow, and ultimately is able to satisfy customers’ e-commerce fulfillment requests while driving down costs.

Carrier Rating and Rate Shopping

Leveraging automation in e-commerce fulfillment processes can help retailers provide optimal service and streamline the customer experience without increasing costs. One quick win when it comes to automation is automating carrier rating and rate shopping. Parcel shipping technology automatically rates shipments and compares those rates within the retailer’s contracted carrier network for the same weight, destination, and delivery times, selecting the optimal carrier for the shipment at the time the order is received. For retailers wanting more control, the parcel shipping system can also “filter” these rate shops through the retailer’s custom business rules, which can be turned on or off.

Webinar - Take Control of Your Parcel Shipping Network

Business Intelligence

A multi-carrier parcel shipping system provides retailers with state-of-the-art tools to analyze parcel shipping data and enable teams to make decisions with context. More sophisticated systems include native Business Intelligence that aggregates and standardizes shipping data across carriers, giving retailers unprecedented reporting capabilities and an easy way to visualize masses of shipping data.  Stakeholders can run rate simulations, compare “what if” to current transportation strategies, and set and measure parcel shipping KPIs.

In addition, parcel shipping software with Business Intelligence can leverage cloud native technologies such as Spark Analytics, Data Bricks, Azure Synapse, and more, which provide faster analytics and easier integration to IoT input. It can take raw data and apply Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to predict the impact of IoT events on the supply chain. For example, it can help organizations:

  • Evaluate omnichannel capabilities to better understand whether stores can ship based on space and inventory
  • Determine which types of orders can be shipped versus picked up
  • Analyze the impact of carrier capacity limitations and order demand, providing managers with the ability to pivot carriers and transportation budgets to match customer expectations

Ready for a Retail Reset?

As e-commerce continues to grow, Logistyx ensures top retailers and others with large fulfillment operations have the right mix of shipping and omnichannel capabilities at their fingertips, while tapping into more than 550 global carrier integrations for an optimal transportation strategy. In fact, Logistyx was named the #1 fulfillment software provider to Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 retailers for the third consecutive year .

To learn how you can improve your e-commerce fulfillment strategy and achieve a retail reset, contact us today.

Holiday Headaches? Retailers Must Prepare for 2021 Peak Season Challenges

While it’s the most wonderful time of the year for many, the holiday season can be stressful for the retail industry. Soaring e-commerce growth over the last 18 months has kept retailers on their toes, especially as they scramble to prepare for the added challenges of peak season 2021.

As Digital Commerce 360 reports, “2020’s peak holiday season was a peak on top of a peak” with U.S. shoppers spending $201.32 billion online during the season, up 45.2% from $138.65 billion in 2019. Remarkably, the pace of e-commerce sales has barely let up since last holiday season; meanwhile, retailers have had to contend with additional challenges driven by the ongoing pandemic, including periodic manufacturing shutdowns, transportation backlogs, and labor shortages that have disrupted supply chains for months, as Digital Commerce 360 points out.

Once again, retailers face a heavily strained supply chain this peak season, with online purchases outpacing resources required to meet the increased demand, leading to probable shipping delays on top of the reality of limited personnel, containers, and in some cases products. Retailers will have to get creative to safeguard against rising carrier rates and reduced capacity while finding ways to improve the way they fulfill e-commerce orders.

Free White Paper - Simplifying Multi-Carrier Parcel Management for Peak Season and Beyond

To minimize shipping and fulfillment headaches heading into peak season 2021, retailers should already be preparing by implementing the right mix of shipping and omnichannel strategies, including Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS), ship-from-store, and on-demand delivery.

Developing an omnichannel distribution strategy that includes e-commerce, in-store pickup, ship from store, etc. and utilizes advanced cloud-based multi-carrier shipping systems positions retailers for success in the face of mounting challenges by providing them with greater flexibility to achieve cost savings while improving customer service and fulfillment.

Having the right technology to execute various fulfillment scenarios will improve customer satisfaction and enable retailers to better respond to peak season demand.

Contact Logistyx today to learn how you can ensure smooth parcel shipping this peak season and beyond.

What is BOPIS?

It’s no secret the pandemic has altered both the digital and physical world of commerce. Today, retailers must build a powerful presence in the right spaces (that’s spaces, plural) to reach their customers: online storefronts/D2C, e-commerce marketplaces, social media platforms, mobile channels, and brick-and-mortar stores. Omnichannel commerce allows customers to engage with brands — and vice versa — just about everywhere, and customers should have similar shopping experiences whether they browse brands in-store, on a direct-to-consumer (D2C) site, through another channel like Amazon, or on a social media platform like Instagram.

Executed successfully, omnichannel retail provides customers with a consistent and engaging experience from product discovery to product delivery, which encourages repeat purchases and brand referrals.

Let’s take a deeper dive into one riff of an omnichannel approach: Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS).

BOPIS on the Rise

BOPIS is hardly new. Major retailers have been offering click-and-collect services for a while, and BOPIS options range from traditional customer service department pick-ups… to curbside pick-ups… or more recently to locker pick-ups.

Typically, online customers learn whether a retailer offers BOPIS at the point of checkout. If BOPIS is available, a customer can select in-store or curbside pickup at a store convenient to them and then complete their purchase. Most stores can fulfill the order in one to three hours, and if an item is not in stock at a local store, the customer can choose to have their purchase shipped to the store (although this will take longer).  Regardless of whether the item is available same-day or next-day, when it’s time for pickup, the customer receives a notification and then retrieves their order at their convenience during the store’s business hours.

Increasingly popular, surveys show shoppers are more likely to purchase from a retailer with BOPIS services, and curbside pickup is rated one of the most desirable options. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, BOPIS has grown exponentially, and some experts maintain it will significantly change the face of retail, as many shoppers have grown reluctant to linger in brick-and-mortar stores. The statistics certainly seem to back these predictions: according to a survey by Qudini, 62% of consumers embrace BOPIS options as a way to reduce exposure to the coronavirus.

The Advantages of BOPIS

BOPIS services enable retailers to better compete with e-commerce retailers such as Amazon by providing them with a way to offer same-day/next-day shipping to customers without incurring prohibitive shipping costs. And as proven during the pandemic, BOPIS also yields advantages such as contactless delivery, protecting the safety of store associates and customers alike.

But looking past the pandemic, retailers can benefit from BOPIS in additional ways, including:

  • Decreasing last-mile delivery costs. For any shipper, last-mile delivery costs can be substantial. Shipping an item to a distribution center costs far less than shipping an item from a distribution center to a residential address, and by eliminating the last-mile, brick-and-mortar retailers can offer fast, free shipping without compromising their profit margins.
  • Increasing in-store foot traffic. There’s a reason people joke about entering big box retailers for one thing and then leaving with $100 worth of merchandise: impulse purchases! And BOPIS plays beautifully into this phenomenon by bringing the customer into the store.

Free White Paper - Simplifying Multi-Carrier Parcel Management for Peak Season and Beyond

BOPIS Requires Some Heavy Lifting

Despite the benefits, BOPIS isn’t necessarily a quick and easy path to increased retail sales. While it’s an impressive and desirable proposition, it requires some heavy lifting to connect online and in-store inventory and to build an agile logistics network.

First, retailers must merge their in-store and online inventory tracking systems. Historically, retailers had two different inventory systems: one for distribution centers, and one for stores. Online orders were fulfilled through distribution centers, and in-store purchases were fulfilled with on-shelf inventory. With BOPIS, these inventory silos must merge, usually in the form of enterprise supply chain technology such as IMS, OMS, and WMS applications, enabling retailers to have a complete view of their entire inventory and thus empowering them to capture the biggest share possible of online sales.

Retailers leveraging a BOPIS distribution model also require a local carrier network catering to their retail footprint and a cloud multi-carrier shipping system to rate and rate shop across this network.  Furthermore, the system needs to integrate with their supply chain tech stack: IMS, WMS, OMS, and other applications. Then, when an online customer selects BOPIS at checkout, if it’s necessary to move inventory from store to store or from the distribution center to the store to complete order fulfillment, the multi-carrier shipping system automatically selects the “best cost” carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules; and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents. Ultimately, retailers can satisfy customers’ BOPIS requests and drive down the cost of shipping.

It’s important to note that inventory delegation becomes a critical component for BOPIS to enhance the flow of products; retailers must determine which products need to be on hand at all locations and which products can be on hand only at specific locations. For example, snow boots may be critical inventory for retail locations in Portland, Maine, while it’s unlikely they’re necessary in Palm Springs.

Put the Right Mix of Shipping and Omnichannel Capabilities at your Fingertips

Logistyx was named the #1 fulfillment software provider to Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 retailers for two consecutive years. As e-commerce continues to surge, Logistyx ensures top retailers and others with large fulfillment operations have the right mix of shipping and omnichannel capabilities at their fingertips, while tapping into more than 550 global carrier integrations for an optimal transportation strategy to effectively achieve omnichannel fulfillment.

To learn more about how you can leverage BOPIS as well as other distribution strategies, download our white paper: Rethinking Inventory: Matching Approaches to Business Models.

Logistyx’s Ken Fleming Explores the Ins and Outs of Gig Fulfillment for Logistics Viewpoints

The gig economy and its on-demand armies of drivers have moved people and food for years, but many retailers are now joining the likes of Target and Walgreens and tapping into Uber, Postmates, and other companies to quickly move orders from stores to local customers’ doorsteps with gig fulfillment.

In an article for Logistics Viewpoints, Logistyx President Ken Fleming examines how retailers can utilize gig economy fulfillment to better serve their customers:

“Most shippers can realize gains by embracing gig economy fulfillment sooner rather than later to offer more fulfillment options to customers and minimize the impact of carrier capacity limitations and other disruptions. Generally, merchants can better meet customer expectations and boost loyalty by prioritizing the last mile of each customer’s delivery, and gig economy carriers help many merchants do this effectively.”

And which tools and data are critical to success:

“Whether considering where to start or what they have to gain, most merchants find the necessary insights to move forward with business intelligence tools that mine their own fulfillment data and customer interactions. Business intelligence helps merchants adapt to consumer behavior shifts, like it has helped countless others navigate supply chain disruptions and other challenges.

With data from their own customer interactions at hand, merchants should look to business intelligence technology to help answer questions that include:

  1. In which markets do consumers most often abandon orders during checkout?

  2. How can we strategically house inventory to better support gig integration?

  3. Where will our inventory footprint currently support gig integration?

  4. Which stores and distribution centers will accommodate gig integration for various regions?

  5. Which products are most popular in particular regions, and how can we store them there?”

Read Ken’s full article, “Retailers Embrace Gig Economy Fulfillment,” to get a clear understanding of whether tapping into the gig economy for order fulfillment is the right solution for you.

Retail Success: What Does a Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution Have to Do with it?

A Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution for Retail Sets You Up for Success

If you want to achieve success as a retailer in this day and age, it’s time to fully embrace the reality that you’re in the experience business. Transactions are no longer a simple exchange of money for goods or services; consumers demand more. They expect you to win their affection and loyalty by delivering their purchases when they want them, where they want them.

Because of this, the parcel delivery experience is more important than ever. And to thrive and grow in the experience economy, more and more successful retailers turn to a cloud-based multi-carrier parcel shipping solution.

A Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution for Retail Sets You Up for Success

Retailers such as Belk, Foot Locker, and Home Depot all use our cloud software for parcel shipping, Logistyx TME, to:

This enables their global teams to reduce transportation spend, improve on-time delivery rates, fuel agility in their shipping workflows, and gain a competitive edge in their markets.

Here’s a closer look at some of the ways our cloud multi-carrier parcel shipping software can set you up for success in the experience economy.

Expand your Transportation Network

A multi-carrier parcel shipping solution allows a retailer to easily deploy a multi-carrier strategy, which means the retailer then has more delivery options to please customers. Logistyx TME, for example, includes multiple global, regional, domestic, and international carriers in our carrier library, allowing retailers to easily build a unique transportation network to serve their customers. Then, our system rate shops across this network, switching between carriers to continually optimize each shipment to achieve on time delivery at the lowest cost based on point of origin, point of destination, delivery timeframe, parcel weight, parcel dimension, and any applicable business rules.

And though each carrier has unique requirements for labeling and electronic communications compliance, Logistyx TME simplifies the complexity of this compliance. The system ensures each shipment, regardless of whether it is shipping domestically or internationally or contains hazardous goods, adheres to all carriers’ requirements, including accounting for import tariffs, packaging specifications, and customs rules and regulations – helping retailers avoid additional fees and delivery delays.

States the IT director of one Logistyx customer, “Logistyx gave us the flexibility to add new UPS services and bring FedEx into the fold. With multicarrier options, including Mail Innovations and SmartPost, we’re saving money and providing customers better delivery options.”

Improve the Customer Experience

A retailer is, in a sense, the whole of the experiences it delivers to its customers. And since these experiences are now largely taking place online, retailers have to create memorable customer experiences without traditional in-store tactics such as music, aromatic displays, and sample stations.  The answer: flawless, personalized shipping execution. Free or discounted shipping, on-time delivery, and proactive delivery event communication can go a long way toward winning customer loyalty.

Retailers can start by satisfying their customers’ needs for instant gratification. Shipping behemoths such as Amazon have made two-day product delivery the industry standard, and to keep pace, it’s critical for retailers to decrease lead times by fulfilling orders quickly and working with reliable carriers to maintain on time delivery rates. It’s important to note here that regional carriers can be the key to faster, cheaper, and more flexible delivery services, usually offering next-day ground delivery within 400 miles of a shipment’s origin – often at a lower rate and with fewer surcharges than the national carriers. Logistyx TME includes these carriers in its carrier library and can help retailers quickly connect to their services to create efficiencies in the last mile and improve on-time delivery rates.

Next, satisfy consumers’ demands for a personalized shopping experience. Modern day buyers want more than just easy product selection and ultra-fast or same-day delivery; they also want to choose when, where, and how they receive their order. By allowing customers to pick the delivery timeframe, location (doorstep, curbside pick-up, BOPIS, etc.) and rate, retailers can give their customers additional flexibility. To this end, Logistyx TME helps retailers better serve customers by not only expanding their carrier service options, but also by seamlessly integrating with supply chain technology stacks to provide retailers with the necessary agility to manage shifts in consumer shopping patterns, such as cost-effectively moving in-store inventory and shifting more e-commerce delivery origins from distribution centers to stores.

Beware: offering Amazon-like delivery speeds and flexible delivery options may still not be enough to win those repeat purchases. Delivery accuracy is also crucial. A recent study from BigCommerce states that if an order is delivered incorrectly, late, or not at all, 29% of end customers won’t order again from the same retailer. And the lost sales opportunities don’t stop there. Consumers today share their negative experiences with the world on various social media channels and review sites, which means a bad experience with parcel delivery can quickly lead to the further loss of potential customers. Not surprising, customers want to be confident their product will arrive at its destination on time, and they are now demanding real-time delivery tracking.

While Logistyx TME provides this tracking, we also recommend our customers go one step further and use the Logistyx Control Tower to receive real-time alerts when unwanted delivery events occur, giving retailers the opportunity to troubleshoot. For example, perhaps the product can be sent from a different distribution center to arrive on time. Or perhaps the customer is willing to retrieve the product from a nearby store or locker. Providing updates when there has been a delivery disruption reassures customers everything possible is being done to meet the original delivery promise and ultimately demonstrates to customers their business is valued.

Beat the Competition

As discussed, a multi-carrier parcel shipping solution for retail fuels shipping workflow efficiency and improves the customer experience, which ultimately gives retailers a competitive edge. But the right solution for parcel shipping will also have other capabilities that can help beat the competition.

For starters, it will enable better decision-making with crystal-clear Business Intelligence and data analytics. So, rather than putting time and money toward shipping strategies that may decrease transportation spend and improve on-time delivery rates, retailers can invest in strategies that they know will work. With Logistyx TME’s Business Intelligence, for example, retailers can run transportation simulations to identify where significant savings opportunities exist, challenging the norm and comparing “what if” to current performance. They have a “sandbox” to approach transportation scenarios with a creative mindset and verify and measure the impact of various scenarios on the bottom line.

Logistyx TME customers also use our Business Intelligence technology to identify carrier delivery performance improvements and cost saving opportunities. This may come in the form of identifying and adjusting improperly invoiced items relating to contractual rates, accessories, guaranteed service rebates, claims management, address correction validations, or even manifested but not shipped transactions, or it may come in the form of modeling and comparing selected carrier services against actual carrier performance to find routing alternatives with lower cost implications and/or faster delivery times.

Achieve Success with your Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution

Retailers are faced with the same overwhelming challenge: to create a memorable and consistent experience across an increasingly complicated map of fulfillment touchpoints. But don’t worry, it’s not an impossible feat.

For example, Belk wanted to execute store-level shipping to better serve customers and stand out from other regional department stores. To achieve this, they integrated Logistyx with Manhattan Associates’ order management software to provide their stores with inventory visibility and instant access to carriers and services offering the best rates for each particular location.  Ken Fleming, President, Logistyx Technologies explains, “While simple in theory, executing store-level shipping presents considerable challenges for some retailers, including limited carrier selection and complex rate shopping. Our software is able to address these issues, providing retailers with the ability to move inventory from all locations whether in distribution centers, warehouses, or stores and optimize delivery cost and efficiency to improve the customer experience.”

You can get an inside look at the same tool Belk uses to achieve this success. Sign up for a demo today and see what it’s like to simplify the complexity of high volume, omnichannel parcel shipping.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Highlights the Shortcomings of Hybrid Mail Services at Forbes

E-commerce exploded in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered the way consumers shopped for everything from home essentials to holiday gifts. As merchants sought to keep pace with the increased demands and parcel shipping volume, many explored new ways to reduce shipping costs. Some found out the hard way that hybrid mail services relying on order consolidation is problematic.

In his latest article at Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming dives into the shortcomings of this approach:

“Hybrid mail services from alternative carriers using order consolidation, on the other hand, promise cost reductions (according to Logistyx clients, as much as 50%) on traditional USPS services, but often lead to massive delays and lost customers. They cut costs by combining very-low-cost bulk freight services with USPS last-mile delivery, consolidating tens, hundreds or more USPS orders into one or more less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment(s). Later, they directly inject those parcels into the USPS-serviced last mile.

These services work fine for companies sending promotional and marketing materials to customers and prospects. In these cases, recipients have no stake in how long the parcels take to reach them. While e-commerce merchants love the idea of cutting USPS spend by 50%, those who widely roll out these services for e-commerce fulfillment usually abort or scale back these efforts quickly after becoming aware of very serious problems resulting from these slower and sometimes difficult-to-track deliveries.”

Read Ken’s full article, “Hybrid Mail Shipping Services Disappoint E-commerce Customers,” for the nitty-gritty on why these services fail to meet expectations and jeopardize customer relationships.

Ken’s other articles at Forbes are also worthwhile reads.

2020 Hindsight: Top 5 Takeaways for Retail Supply Chain Leaders

Well, we’ve reached the point where we can use the phrase “hindsight is 2020” literally. This cataclysmic year is officially in the rearview mirror, and we can start making sense of what we learned as supply chain leaders and professionals—and how we changed—during this pandemic. While it’s hard to limit the number, here are our top five takeaways.

1. The customer delivery experience is king.

In a world where anyone can build an e-commerce site (and in 2020, many did), marketing products online is no longer enough to generate an ongoing revenue stream. With a single click, consumers have myriad choices, which means retailers need to look beyond their digital marketing strategies to transform those browsers into repeat customers.

More than ever, it’s the customer delivery experience that gives retailers a competitive edge. In 2020, 40% of global retail professionals cited enhancing product delivery as a critical initiative.

Some brands were early to recognize this. For example, Amazon’s partnership with major retailers, in which the retailer accepts returns on behalf of Amazon, is just one example of the extent to which a company will go to improve the customer experience. And of course it goes without saying that even before this reverse logistics play, Amazon had re-defined the customer experience altogether by offering same-day delivery in some areas, for free.

There’s no doubt customers value this immediacy and convenience. Consider that 49% of shoppers say that same-day delivery makes them more likely to shop online. But even though Amazon and other retailers have successfully prioritized the delivery experience, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to accomplish. Like many modern business challenges, it’s technology that makes the difference.

Cloud multi-carrier shipping solutions enable companies to efficiently ship goods worldwide and improve the customer experience by:

  • Leveraging multiple carriers to offer fast and flexible delivery services
  • Increasing delivery transparency and providing proactive responses to unwanted delivery events
  • Ensuring carrier compliance to avoid delivery delays due to incorrect labels and documentation
  • Rate shopping with contractual partners to select the best carrier service for each shipment according to customer preferences and business rules
  • Identifying and quickly on-boarding new carriers to better leverage last mile services and expand into international markets
  • Using Business Intelligence (BI) tools to identify poor-performing carrier partners

2. Carrier Capacity can be a hot commodity.

Most industry experts expected pandemic-fueled online shopping to increase the pressure on carriers, but few predicted volumes would skyrocket to the point major carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL would stop picking up parcels from major retail customers with “no exceptions” during peak season.

If anything, this underscored how important it is for shippers to build transportation networks that include regional and local carriers and embrace multi-carrier parcel shipping solutions that enable real-time rating and rate shopping across the transportation network. Those who prepared diligently to adopt this model in 2020 prior to peak season, found themselves in a much more manageable position with the ability to consume whatever capacity the major carriers had to offer them and then tap into other carrier services to effectively ship the rest.

3. Omni-channel is omni-critical.

While brick-and-mortar stores were closed for business, merchants had to implement curbside pick-up (BOPIC) and ship-from-store as a solution, often using their stores as additional warehouses. This allowed stores to take the path of least resistance: they could use carrier services to reach nearby consumers quickly or make hand deliveries curbside, eliminating the need for a carrier service altogether. Moving forward, many retailers say they will plan to keep distribution strategies such as ship-from-store and BOPIC in place.

For many shippers, how rapidly and efficiently omnichannel distribution can be accomplished depends on how well mission-critical fulfillment technologies have been integrated within the supply chain. Shippers using standalone systems in their supply chains will confront more challenges. Without connected systems working as one, shippers incur more costs and require more manual labor to fulfill orders. Lacking the inventory visibility and other controls afforded by integrated systems, these shippers cannot deliver the same level of customer service as their high-functioning, agile competitors.

On the other end of the spectrum, shippers with supply chains that are fully integrated benefit from inventory visibility and controls throughout the organization and can quickly augment omnichannel capabilities with specialty software. These merchants require little or no human involvement to deliver hundreds of thousands of parcels daily from either a single distribution center or by deploying ship-from-store, BOPIC, BOPIS, and other innovative fulfillment strategies.

4. Reverse logistics are taking center stage.

With e-commerce on the rise, retailers have been forced to focus on reverse logistics strategies. According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2020 e-commerce consumer survey, 76 percent of shoppers reported returning up to a quarter of their online purchases, and 56 percent said a company’s lack of a free returns policy prevented them from making a purchase.

Some companies avoid returns altogether, including many luxury brands, who choose to skip the expense and improve customer service in one motion. E-tailers (sellers with no brick-and-mortar stores) are now increasingly following suit, sometimes telling customers to keep incorrect products and avoid the cost of returns.

For those companies committed to handling returns, however, the best way to mitigate returns costs is by implementing a multi-carrier strategy. Equipping fulfilment teams with multiple carrier services from which to choose and technology that facilitates rate shopping across carrier services will keep costs low and empower teams to work around any carrier service delays or disruptions.

Furthermore, and as stated earlier, the priority is on convenience.  Therefore, all efforts need to be made to ensure returns strategies breed customer loyalty. Forward-thinking organizations who put the customer experience first simplify returns, using dual-use labels (labels that serve the purpose of both the outbound shipment and return) or peel-off labels (where the outbound label easily peels off to expose a return label) and accepting returns of online orders in stores.

5. Carrier services are being redefined.

During the pandemic, Instacart, Postmates, Roadie, Shipt and others became household names, in many cases integrating into retailers’ transportation networks to complement traditional carrier services.

For those watching, it was easy to spot the trend and see that these gig-based delivery services were steadily racking up retail partnerships over the last several years. Many initially scaled through food, grocery, or restaurant, and in 2020, this growth was further hastened by increases in both non-perishable retailer demand and consumer adoption rates.

As companies increasingly ship orders from stores rather than from central distribution centers, we will continue to see growth in services that deliver parcels from stores to local customers – and their increasing inclusion in retail transportation networks. Expanding the carrier network and choosing to work with specialty delivery services empowers retailers to provide a consistent level of service to customers, even when carrier capacity is surging.

Furthermore, employing a multi-carrier shipping system with the ability to integrate with these delivery services will empower retailers by offering both a breadth and depth of choice so they can compare rates, delivery times, etc. between carriers and delivery services. The software provides flexibility when seeking the best way to fulfill any given order, which can be especially helpful when facing capacity limitations.

Supply Chain Disruption Breeds Supply Chain Resilience

2020 reinforced for everyone that when one industry is impacted (like retail), so are countless others (like carriers, 3PLs, and so on) and there are widespread impacts operationally and financially. Savvy supply chain leaders will use their takeaways from 2020 to create more flexible and resilient operations to weather whatever the future has in store.

To learn more about the impact 2020 will have on 2021, watch our webinar: Parcel Shipping Predictions for 2021 and Beyond.

E-Commerce Growth a Strong Signal for the Supply Chain and Logistics Job Market

Ongoing e-commerce growth fueled by a variety of factors, from COVID-19 to the increased popularity of online shopping, continues to change the way consumers shop and interact with brands. But what does it mean specifically for the supply chain and logistics industry?

A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out that, while some brick-and-mortar retail jobs have been eliminated, more jobs in fulfillment, delivery, and related e-commerce roles were created between 2007 and January 2020 than those lost, according to Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute. While the U.S. job market continued to dip after January, the proportional rise of supply chain and logistics industry jobs is predicted to continue, which is welcome news for people across the country looking to break into this high-growth industry.

In a global economy of growing consumer expectations with new brands entering the e-commerce space and well-established brands ramping up their e-commerce offerings, a digitized supply chain backed by an experienced team helps businesses stay competitive. With this continued trajectory towards a need for increased supply chain and logistics talent, digitally transforming the supply chain to increase flexibility, visibility and reduce costs will enable all the players in the market to effectively confront these challenges.

New call-to-actionAs the WSJ points out, automation in the workforce can create anxiety about job loss, while in fact, automation often creates more and better-paying jobs than it eliminates. Companies that adopt automation use it not only to streamline production, but to find new ways to offer valuable goods and help make its workforce more efficient.

Likewise, along with creating more jobs, advancements in automation create greater accessibility to supply chain technology; so organizations of all sizes can opt in to digital transformation and create stronger e-commerce strategies that will help them compete with a growing influx of e-commerce brands across categories.

For companies looking to enhance e-commerce strategies and the way they execute supply chain outcomes, automating processes for sourcing and delivering goods through technology can offer a clearer view into the supply chain and help organizations empower their workforce to drive better business decisions.

To learn more about how a multi-carrier shipping system can meet your e-commerce shipping needs, contact us today.