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Multiple Shipping Options are Required for Retailers – Why and How?

E-commerce retailers know that the success of their business depends on their ability to get orders delivered to customers. In simple terms, shipping is the make-it-or-break-it factor for e-stores. More consumers are now taking to the internet to find products that they would otherwise obtain at physical stores. So it's important to do it right when it comes to how you ship.

But you will agree that there have been lots of changes in customer behavior over the years regarding how they want their packages delivered. So, now is the right time for retailers to focus more on diversifying their shipping options – and for good reason!

Of course, shopping online was already a thing before the onset of COVID. But the rate at which consumers began to do their shopping online skyrocketed after the 2020 lockdown. To show how extensive the trend had become, Whistl’s research pointed out that over 70% of shoppers did their shopping online the previous month. Most of the consumers were based in Germany, the United States, and the UK. And by the months that followed, the number of online shoppers from these regions had increased from 80% to 90%.

It goes to show that e-commerce merchants are now doing more shipping within and across borders, implying a need for more shipping options. It’s also interesting to note that consumers have evolved in terms of how they want their goods delivered. 

What Really Do Online Buyers Want?

At first glance, one would feel FREE DELIVERY is what consumers need. But when you take a much deeper look into how the online retail industry has grown, you'll come to realize that what shoppers actually demand is FLEXIBLE DELIVERY. They want to be able to decide for themselves 4 key things:

  1. Where their deliveries should be made
  2. How their packages should be delivered
  3. When their order should arrive
  4. What to pay for deliveries

This is not a new trend, because Retail Week discovered in 2018 research that up to 70% of shoppers desired shipping options to be flexible. They wanted delivery options that allowed them to decide when and where their packages should go. 

Another aspect of customer expectations of eCommerce delivery has to do with package tracking. Online shoppers need to track their packages and receive notifications about the movement and expected time of arrival of their orders. 

The point, therefore, is that your customers want you to offer a more agile shipping experience, not just the cheapest shipping options. How can you meet their expectations?

Responding to the Demand for Multiple Shipping Options

Truth be told, e-commerce brands that are able to match up with customer expectations regarding diversified shipping options are better positioned to win more customers than other brands. So not only do retailers have to offer the cheapest shipping options, but they also have to complete along the lines of delivery. 

It’s no surprise that many merchants are now offering free delivery and free return services. But in order to do that, most of these brands have to restrategize and redesign their shipping processes. It also means that they have to focus on adding more shipping options while offering shoppers a way to track their packages. Some retailers and merchants are also taking on the services of third-party fulfillment centers, totally outsourcing every aspect of their inventory management and delivery process. 

So is it time for you to consider diversifying your shipping options too? Yes!

To come up with a more comprehensive shipping process that meets the expectations of consumers, you must diversify. That means you will have to consider collaborating with third parties where necessary to make available more shipping options. And you must find a way to get it done in the most economical way possible. 

How you rethink and evolve your shipping options and processes is the catalyst to improving your overall customer experience and boosting your conversion rate. It could also be the key you need to penetrate a new market. 

So many benefits come from giving customers multiple choices regarding shipping. Consider 2 ways that eCommerce retailers can unlock the advantages of diversified shipping:

1. Adopting a multi-carrier approach

Since customers tend to have varying delivery demands, it makes sense for retailers to take a multi-carrier approach. More retailers are now using this strategy to minimize their risk and also get the best prices, as evidenced by data from Accenture. The reason why working with multiple carriers in your retail business is non-negotiable is that it gives you the chance to offer multiple delivery shipping options. That means you can reduce your risk of service quality reduction because you have other carriers to count on if any of them should fail you. 

You will also enjoy the liberty of tailoring your deliveries to the best-fitting carriers. Being able to offer multiple shipping options encourages your customers to choose what delivery option is best for them. That way, you reduce shopping cart abandonment and boost conversions at checkout. 

2. Using international shippers

Sooner or later, your e-commerce brand will have to come up with an international shipping model to cater to shoppers who visit your website from overseas. Being able to serve visitors from other climes is a good way to gain an edge over your competitors. If you offer multiple shipping options, not only for local customers but international shoppers as well, you’re better positioned to succeed. 

A Multi-channel Order Management System can Help

To achieve everything discussed so far on diversifying your shipping options, you’ll need an order and delivery management system. These systems do the heavy-lifting by handling everything about your shipping logistics. 

FenixCommerce is a highly recommended order management system driven by AI to proactively display personalized multiple shipping options to your online customers based on their location. It geolocates them and pools valuable data from multiple carriers to personalize their shopping experience and increase the chances of a successful checkout process for each customer.  

By integrating an intelligent order management system into a multi-carrier process, you can create a powerful diversified experience for your customers to help you stay ahead of the competition.

Akhilesh Srivastava

Author: Akhilesh Srivastava
Founder and CEO of FenixCommerce

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