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BizReport : Ecommerce : February 16, 2021

Expert: After 2020 shipping delays, here's how to win back customers

2020 was in many ways the year of ecommerce with more people logging on to shop for both essential and non-essential items. Over the holiday season, retailers saw a strong surge in digital shopping, both for delivery-to-home and for pick-up in stores, However, not all was merry and bright - shipping, for many, proved to be a lowlight for the year. We asked a digital expert how brands can rebound.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Shipping was a huge issue for merchants and consumers over the 2020 holiday season - what led to the perfect storm of late arrivals?

Brad Rollo, CEO, GoFor Industries: COVID-19 created an immediate change in the way people buy and exposed a flaw in the delivery industry. Products were stuck in warehouses over the 2020 holiday season because businesses did not have a shipping strategy in place to get them delivered quickly enough to support the huge demand. This happened because the traditional delivery industry model is dominated with companies that have fixed assets (they own their vehicles) and fixed employee bases (they have their own drivers). This model is hard to scale for sudden spikes in volume. When that volume is predictable this model barely works during slow times, but when it's unpredictable, it is broken.

Kristina: How can merchants ensure this same thing doesn't happen again?

Brad: To prevent future storms, do not have, or rely on, fixed assets! Look to outsourced fleets and partner with a delivery company that can provide a future-proof logistics strategy that includes a flexible and on-demand solution for the last mile. They need a reliable delivery partner that can scale with the demands and spikes in their business but who can also provide full logistics solutions beyond the last mile. Retailers may find short term last mile solutions in providers like DoorDash, but this is a Band-Aid and will not solve for the long term and future-proof solutions that come with unpredictability. They need a full service offering that looks after cross dock, long haul, and the last mile.

Kristina: For merchants who did see lengthy delays during the 2020 holiday season, how can they entice shoppers to try them again? Additionally, how can they ensure they're ready for prompt deliveries?

Brad: COVID-10 has forced people online and they have access to more shopping options than ever before. Amazon has spoiled us with Prime Shipping, creating an "I want it now" expectation. This is now extending to all brands... 73.6% of consumers reported delivery is most important to the overall shopping experience. Shoppers know what they want, how they want it, and when they want it, which is the same day.

As a result, customers are placing more and more weight on convenience and this often comes down to the delivery speed when choosing between brands. Trust and convenience are everything - merchants need to choose a delivery partner that can scale with their business and that has their brand's best interest at heart. The right delivery partner will protect your reputation, so you are working together to keep the customer trust and loyalty factor high, so they keep coming back.

Tags: advertising, ecommerce, ecommerce shipping, GoFor Industries, m:commerce, online shopping trends, shipping trends

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