How shipping automation can help online retailers reduce costs

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Most online retailers will agree that the first quarter of 2022 has been challenging. The chances are that over the past few months you’ve been scrutinising your costs.


Ongoing supply chain disruption is adding to the cost of doing business. Inflation is rising fast, and eCommerce sales are reported to be declining by around 20% for each month in 2022 by IMRG. But what does all of this have to do with shipping automation? 

 

Well, the eCommerce delivery experience can be complex and expensive to set up and manage. Shipping, one of the main elements of eCommerce business, accounts for a hefty chunk of overall costs. 

 

Automating as many outdated processes as you can is a tried and tested cost-saving measure. Not only that, shipping automation tools can boost customer satisfaction, a top priority for all retailers, by up to 64%.

 

So let’s look at three key shipping processes that when improved, can pay dividends.

1. Generating shipping labels

Creating and printing labels for a single carrier is one thing. Creating labels for multiple carriers, to be sent to different countries, is another entirely.


Labelling is arguably the most time-consuming task for retailers – a mid-sized brand could expect to spend up to 90 minutes a day booking labels manually. However, if they were to use shipping automation tools, that figure plummets to just 15 minutes a week!


While this clearly frees up time for staff members to focus on other pressing tasks, it presents a far greater opportunity. It gives you the bandwidth to ship more orders, and become more competitive in the process. Orders can be fulfilled much faster, and accuracy doesn’t need to be a cause for concern. Shipping labels are automatically generated for each individual carrier you work with.


If you’re shipping to multiple regions, customs documents can also increase your admin, as each order could require three pieces of paper to be printed. With automated labelling, paperless cross-border trading is possible, and all customs information can be included directly on the barcode of the delivery label.


Related: Find out how Scurri helped Gousto automate carrier management

2. Reporting

One of the best ways to make improvements to your offering is by digging into your data. The problem with delivery data, however, is that it can be difficult to decode – especially if you are working with multiple carriers with varying reporting parameters. Even a full-time analyst would struggle with all the manual reports that play a part in the fulfilment process.

 

When you can automate delivery reporting, you can manage all carrier performance, costs, and other KPIs such as failed delivery and return rates from one central system. It’s this 360 degree view of delivery operations that can inform business decisions, and help fine tune your strategy for important revenue-generating campaigns like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

Automated reporting also gives retailers insight into their customers’ behaviour and preferences, which can benefit long-term planning, around sustainability, for instance.

3. Delivery tracking

Shipment tracking often sits with the carrier, rather than the retailer themselves. This disconnect often means that businesses have to deal with a much higher volume of WISMO (where is my order) queries from customers.

 

When tracking is managed with shipping automation, live tracking information is more readily available to customers. Carrier tracking data is fed into the retailer’s system, and all tracking updates are sent by the retailer instead of the carrier.

 

This proactive approach to tracking has a profound impact on the overall customer experience because it provides better brand consistency throughout the customer journey. It also gives retailers the opportunity to brand and personalise tracking updates, with the potential to maximise a key customer touchpoint.


The average open rate of tracking notification emails is 50-80%, compared to general marketing emails, which get between 10-20%. When shipping-related emails come from the retailer itself, a number of additional opportunities are available.


You can include complementary products for upselling and cross-selling opportunities. You could also feature user-generated content feeds from your social media platforms to encourage customers to engage. These tactics can prove to be highly effective and can have a positive effect on sales.


With shipping automation technology to do the heavy lifting, the direct and indirect savings that retailers can make are undeniable.

 

Find out how Scurri helped fashion brand Everything5pounds increase conversions, half their delivery costs, and expand internationally. Download the case study here.

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Scurri

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