While consumers have certainly been feeling the heat over the past few weeks, so too have online retailers. According to research by IMRG, consumers aren’t shopping quite as much as expected this summer.
Some categories, such as clothing (womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories and lingerie) are seeing month-on-month growth for the first time since the pandemic. Others, on the other hand, have experienced a drop, garden by -23% and health and beauty by -32% YoY.
So, what does this all mean? Thanks to soaring inflation, many online shoppers are becoming more mindful about how they spend their money. As a result, retailers are taking action and discounting to shift seasonal inventory. So how can brands make the most of what’s left of the summer?
And how can they utilise shipper software to ensure that their delivery experience is in tip-top shape? We’ve got some thoughts…
Offer multiple carrier options with shipper software
Whether you’re selling clothing or bulky items, it’s imperative to have the right mix of delivery options available to your customers. In the case of clothing, which is experiencing high demand right now, time is of the essence. It’s thought that people who are parting with their money are spending it on summer holidays.
The uptick in clothing sales could likely be attributed to shoppers topping up their heat-friendly wardrobes. Therefore, retailers can really tap into the urgency of deliveries by using shipper software.
Connecting to multiple carriers allows you to offer expedited shipping, click and collect, and collection point pickup. Remember, 60% of consumers say fast shipping influences their decision to buy online. Having reassurance at checkout that a customer’s order will arrive before they travel (or before the heatwave ends!) makes conversions are far more likely.
Shipping bulkier items
Where more traditional summer categories like garden are concerned, deliveries can be tricky. Failed delivery of bulky items can cause a logistical nightmare for retailers. Therefore, it’s wise to offer customers the option of timed-delivery slots to ensure that they are at home to accept their orders.
Unlike smaller items that can be left at a customer’s doorstep, garden furniture, for example, typically requires 2-man delivery. Bulkier, big ticket items generally hold more weight in terms of customer expectations too. So when deliveries don’t go as planned, it can have a huge impact on the overall customer experience.
Manage a surge in orders
Shipper software can connect the dots so that retailers can partner with specialist carriers that offer 2-man or pallet delivery. This works particularly well for multi-brand retailers that sell both small and bulkier products. Using a single carrier simply won’t work in these cases.
Rather than manually managing multiple carrier systems, you can configure rules to always choose the right carrier for each order that’s placed. For example, ‘If package weight is greater than X, choose carrier Y’ or ‘If order value is less than X, choose carrier Y’.
By automating carrier selection, retailers can easily manage a surge in orders, particularly if they choose to launch a discount campaign to clear stock.
Plan ahead using the power of data
Consumers might not be buying at the same rate as they were over the past two summers, but they are still browsing. IMRG reports that online traffic is edging towards 0% growth, which actually presents a unique opportunity to retailers. Now is a great time for brands to focus on gathering fresh, up to date data.
The end of third-party cookies by Google is clearing the way for zero-party data to dominate. So retailers can make the most of a quieter sales period to focus on understanding their customers better.
Zero-party data is willingly shared by consumers in exchange for a more personalised experience. Two-thirds of consumers are happy to provide data if offered something of value in return.
In a time where consumers are highly concerned with how their data is being used, this statistic spells great news for brands. Integrating quizzes, polls, and preference centres into your online store can really set you up for success ahead of the Golden Quarter.
From here, the brand’s customer base can be segmented and targeted with personalised product recommendations far beyond the summer season.
Optimise delivery strategy
Shipper software connects carrier and customer systems, so rich data like this can feed into your future delivery strategy. In preparation of a surge in sales over Black Friday/Cyber Monday, retailers should currently be considering the following –
- -Should you switch off next day delivery this year?
- -Are you going to offer free delivery to any customers?
- -If you have recently expanded into new markets, are provisions in place to manage deliveries in these countries?
As delivery is the final touchpoint of the customer journey, it’s vital that customer support is maintained in the last mile. Whether you’re shipping bikinis or barbeques, shipper software makes order tracking possible throughout the entire customer journey. As a result, WISMO queries are significantly reduced and carrier information is centralised, which speeds up ticket resolution.
Right now, consumer behaviour seems to be split between those who are still spending online and those who are cutting back. However, there is still an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on the summer season.
By leveraging technology to improve your delivery process, you can ensure that you’re ahead of the game long after the sun sets on summer 2022.