Ecommerce players are gearing up for a promising year; but if you really want gain a competitive edge in 2016 and provide an extraordinary customer experience, you need to take the time to develop all key aspects of the online shopping journey.
With industry leaders, such as Amazon, continuing to advance the speed and innovation of shipping, all online businesses will be expected to deliver more and more convenient delivery options for their customers over the coming year.
One-day, or even same-day packing and shipping will become the standard for most online orders. This will be made possible through the use of third-party warehouses and improved fulfillment processes.
While 2015 was the year of ‘Click & Collect’, in 2016, industry experts predict a shift from ‘in-store pick-up’ to more convenient delivery methods, such as shipping from local retailers, installing a greater number of delivery lockers, or providing faster home delivery options.
The use of commercial drones in the delivery process has been one of the hottest topics in ecommerce over the past year, and a number of online retailers have already started testing how this unmanned technology can be incorporated into their supply chains.
And while Amazon is expected to be the first ecommerce player to actually offer this service to consumers in 2016, the first drone deliveries will probably take place in the UK, rather than the US.
Mastering returns will be key for serious online retailers, particularly those who are developing their cross-border channels. While well-known logistics methods, such as using major international carriers or Amazon FBA, will continue to dominate, online retailers will take advantage of some of the more innovative returns management solutions that are increasingly becoming available.
Parcel forwarding schemes are able to provide international shoppers with a local address. This allows customers to order from websites in the respective country, and then have their items forwarded to their home country.
This solution, however, is not considered suitable for broad commercial use or for sellers with a high volume of international returns.
Similarly to parcel forwarding companies, returns consolidators are businesses that have warehouses around the world and provide international shoppers with a local returns address.
As this solution is specifically designed to meet the needs of ecommerce businesses, it is a viable option for retailers selling on local or international online marketplaces.
Another highly innovative approach to international returns is presented by returns management service provider, ZigZag Global.
While the company offers a range of options for international returns, including consolidation and forwarding, ZigZag also provides the option to resell locally. With this method, returns don’t need to be sent all the way back to the retailer and refunds are processed within days.
The company also offers grading and re-fulfilment services, and the solution is suitable for major ecommerce retailers, as well as for smaller marketplace sellers who trade internationally.
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