Here at Scurri we take delivery management seriously, but we like to keep things simple. And let’s be honest – eCommerce as a whole tends to be anything but! With multiple technologies and operational workflows, not to mention the entire customer journey to contend with, it’s easy to see how the mind could boggle.
That’s why we’re kicking off a new series here on the blog to demystify deliveries as a whole, and help retailers and brands gain a deeper understanding of the nuts and bolts of eCommerce.
First up, we’re looking at the ins and outs of Delivery Management Platforms.
What is a Delivery Management Platform?
In short, a delivery management platform or solution connects everything and everyone that’s involved in getting orders from the retailer to the customer in a single platform.
But what does that actually mean? Let’s take a look at the stages of a typical delivery lifecycle. A customer places an order on an online store. Then, that order is processed, picked in a warehouse or fulfilment centre, and packed at a packing bench using shipping materials. Shipping labels need to be printed, specific to whatever courier will be delivering the order on the retailer’s behalf. If customs forms are required, they also need to be printed and included in the package. A courier will be confirmed to collect the parcel and deliver it to the customer within a predetermined timeframe. If a customer wants to return the order for whatever reason, it is either posted, dropped off at a depot, or collected by a courier and sent back to the retailer, who will then have to begin the returns process – i.e. inspect the item, ensure it complies with terms and conditions, and process a refund where necessary.
Next-generation delivery technology
For every step of this journey, technology plays a crucial role. In order for the process to run smoothly, systems need to be updated every time the status of the order changes, customer notifications need to be triggered, and real-time data has to be available in the business’s eCommerce platform so that eCommerce managers and customer service teams have the most up-to-date information available. A delivery management platform covers all of these bases.
Carrier management itself is at the core of any delivery lifecycle. Many retailers work with multiple carriers as a way of ensuring greater coverage, rates, and more delivery options for customers. A delivery management platform provides a simple connection for eCommerce merchants with carriers. So by using a delivery management platform, a retailer gets access to hundreds of carrier services. The platform itself takes the complexity of connectivity between carrier systems (all of which have different technologies) and pulls it all into a single network. This way, retailers can set rules to determine which carrier to use for each specific order that is placed on their website. If retailers were to do this manually, they would need a team of developers to build integrations for each carrier and maintain connectivity with them, as well as continuously troubleshoot any technical issues, such as downtime.
A delivery management platform also automates traditionally time-consuming tasks, such as generating labels, order tracking, and reporting. When retailers work with multiple carriers, all of whom have individual reports, it can be extremely difficult to get an overall view of speed, cost, and reliability metrics through the full order journey. And without this it’s hard to determine what parts of the delivery process are working, or need improvement. Whereas with a delivery management platform, retailers can get a 360° view of how deliveries are working, making it far easier to build strategies for scaling their business.
Streamlined customer service
Finally, delivery management platforms can generally be integrated with retailers’ existing eCommerce platforms or retail operating systems, which ensures that carrier and customer systems speak to each other. Again, within one connected system, key touchpoints on the customer journey can be automated, which results in less WISMO (where is my order?) enquiries. Not only that, having all relevant carrier and customer data to hand makes the jobs of the customer service team much easier.
What are the benefits of a Delivery Management Platform?
The main benefit of using a delivery management system is that it gives retailers the opportunity to manage every aspect of the delivery process from start to finish.
Merchants that invest in delivery management platforms are able to analyse their carrier costs and make significant savings. Carriers can also be chosen based on parcel size, meaning that retailers don’t pay additional delivery charges unnecessarily.
Better delivery experience for customers
Having a multi-carrier approach improves the customer experience in that shoppers get more delivery options, while retailers have the data they need to develop and refine their delivery strategy.
Day to day operations can be managed more efficiently with a delivery management platform. Manual, time-consuming tasks can be automated (e.g. label generation, carrier selection, managing customer systems), leaving staff with more time to focus on key areas of the business.
Easier to scale
With a delivery management platform, the complexities of cross-border eCommerce are greatly reduced. Retailers have access to global carriers, while all legal requirements, such as customs documents are generated automatically, meaning that scaling a business doesn’t have to be such a daunting prospect.
Want to discover more about how a delivery management platform like Scurri can improve your business? Don’t just take it from us – check out how some of our customers have reduced their labelling time from 90 minutes per day to 15 minutes per week, while others have achieved a 9.5 score on Trustpilot. And if you have any questions for the team, set up a free consultation with us here – we’d love to chat.
Michelle McSweeney Content Marketer