Why Your TMS for Parcel Shipping Needs a Control Tower

Today, the consumer experience has many touchpoints from discovery to delight, and to become a true Direct to Consumer (DTC) brand, manufacturers must own responsibility for each one.  Introduce friction at any moment in the end-to-end consumer buyer experience… and risk losing consumer loyalty.

Despite the criticality of providing a seamless buying experience, recent research highlights the many “hiccups” that occur from click to consume, particularly when it comes to fulfilling orders at the speed and convenience shoppers expect.  In fact, the biggest gripes for buyers who’ve had negative shopping experiences mostly relate to delivery and returns. For example, over the last 12 months, 60% of consumers in the UK reported their purchases did not arrive when expected, and 40% of shoppers claimed items did not arrive at all.  The U.S. too, has its fair share of deliveries gone awry, and Sri Sridhar, CEO of  lateshipment.com (yes, there’s an entire website for this) states 15-23% of packages are delayed during the holidays.

Statistics like these don’t bode well for manufacturers who are counting on repeat purchases and a good brand reputation to win the DTC game.  According to a study from OSM Worldwide, 79% of online shoppers claim they will contact customer service when an urgent item is one day late, and worse: two-thirds will express frustration to friends and family.  With a sad nod to Carnegie, this is basically the antithesis of how to win friends and influence people!

Install a Control Tower.  Receive “Exception Event” Alerts. 

The good news is that in the same OSM Worldwide study, online shoppers reported how much they value parcel delivery transparency, with 40% stating they check on a parcel’s delivery status at least once a day, and 55% stating they expect an order’s status updates to be current as of a few hours.  Don’t think this sounds like good news?  Then you must not be leveraging a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping.

Manufacturers who have implemented a TMS for parcel shipping benefit from Control Tower functionality, which means they can provide shoppers with the transparency they value.  The system will send early warning signs when there are parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” empowering customer service teams to proactively trouble-shoot the exception event and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time.  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.

Customers can even track and trace shipments on company websites without the need to visit carrier sites, reducing inbound calls about shipment status to customer service and increasing the customers’ browsing behavior on the manufacturer’s website – which (fingers crossed!) could lead to additional purchases.

Consider too that tracking delivery exception events enables manufacturers to capture accurate carrier performance data – improving carrier service measurement and better informing carrier contract negotiations.

Successfully Navigate the Complexity of Parcel Delivery

By leveraging a TMS with Control Tower functionality to install “exception event” alerts in the shipping process, manufacturers can successfully navigate the complexity of DTC parcel delivery – ensuring on-time delivery in full and improving customer service performance metrics.

To learn more about how you can leverage a TMS with Control Tower for parcel shipping in your own organization, download our brochure: TME 3: Flexible Transportation Management System for an Omnichannel World.