Retailers, even those with mature omnichannel strategies, can have doubts. A successful omnichannel approach — the model of ordering, shipping, receiving, and returning products in absolutely any channel — requires an optimal balance of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail, and fulfillment and distribution capabilities. For example:
- Buy online, pick-up in store
- Buy online, drop ship
- In-store purchase, home delivery
- Ship from store
- Drop ship
- Buy online, return in store
- Same-day/on-demand delivery
It’s a difficult balance to reach.
And as consumer demands for lightning-quick delivery times continue to grow, tackling an omnichannel strategy is critical to remain competitive. However, as retailers refine their strategy, they often miss one factor that will make the model more successful and allow for rapid scale of business operations.
Want to learn what it is? We’ve got the answer.
What are Retailers Missing in their Omnichannel Strategy?
Many retailers already have most of the necessary components to execute an omnichannel strategy: premium websites, advanced order management systems, and optimal customer service processes, to name a few; yet, even some of the top retail giants are still running their warehouse operations through carrier-supplied parcel systems.
If you haven’t updated your parcel shipping capabilities in the last ten years, then you could be in their company.
What benefits are retailers missing without a modern parcel shipping system? Two big ones: excellent customer service and a high profit margin. Parcel shipping is arguably one of the most important pieces of the omnichannel puzzle — and it affects both customer service and profit margin outcomes alike. And too many businesses continue to overlook its significance.
How Carrier-Supplied Parcel Shipping Systems Stall Your Business Operations
Successful order fulfillment goes beyond order management and warehouse management. A parcel shipping system is actually responsible for a big piece of the puzzle: how, and how quickly, the order gets to the consumer. However, older, carrier-supplied parcel shipping systems aren’t conducive to exponential growth in multiple sales channels, nor do they empower the shipper to easily leverage a multi-carrier shipping strategy–leaving opportunities to rate shop for low-cost, efficient delivery methods untapped and introducing unwanted costs into the distribution model.
The impact? Slower delivery times and higher costs getting your product to the consumer. And as shipping volumes increase, these costs add up and the consequences can seriously affect your bottom line.
A Cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) is the Modern Alternative to Carrier-Supplied Parcel Shipping Systems
If you’re striving to scale your business, while optimizing customer service and increasing profit margins, it’s time to revisit parcel shipping. An effective omnichannel strategy must include a cloud Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping, which goes beyond anything a carrier-supplied parcel shipping system can accomplish.
A cloud TMS for parcel seamlessly integrates with a retailer’s system of record to automate high volume, multi-carrier, omnichannel shipping. It automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to carrier contracts and business rules; creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents; monitors delivery events and automates event exception workflows; manages the manifest and end-of-day processes; and analyzes carrier performance. Retailers can satisfy customers’ delivery requirements and drive down the cost of shipping–transforming logistics into a profit center within the business.
Furthermore, a cloud TMS for parcel also ensures retailers have the right mix of carrier services in their transportation strategy from the onset. The software aggregates and normalizes shipping data across carriers, so retailers know when deliveries moving to a particular region, customer, or via a particular carrier are not meeting service levels. Retailers can hold carriers accountable for failing to meet expectations and wield hard data to back up rate negotiations, and they can consolidate carriers to ensure they get the best possible price.
If your parcel shipping capabilities don’t align with your omnichannel retail strategy, you’re likely missing out on potential benefits and impeding the scalability of your businesses. And even if you think your omnichannel strategy is mature, it may be time to revisit the latest tools and technology to further advance your approach.