Online retail focuses on experience, but fulfillment and transport could be better
Dutch online retail is at a high level, made possible in part by talented e-commerce webshop developers. While the entire IT world is increasingly specializing, web developers are increasingly becoming all-rounders. They are familiar with all kinds of technologies and the latest plug-ins, can implement a characteristic design down to the smallest details, think through optimal usability and provide stable hosting. Moreover, all that has become the norm. You distinguish yourself less and less with it. How then? For example, by surprising the customer with transport options during the check-out.
Most webshops are very close to each other. The positioning, the appearance, the accessibility; it is generally of a high standard. A fantastic joint result of the Dutch webshop builders, but it also has a downside: that super high level is now the norm. The builder and owner of the webshop are less and less able to distinguish themselves.
Putting all the details together
Online retail is brimming with competition. A well thought-out and well-maintained webshop is a precondition, not a guarantee for success. Today you make the difference with a unique positioning and a brand experience that extends to the smallest details. From a selective range to characteristic design, tone-of-voice and home delivery: it all has to be a whole. And it is precisely that last part of fulfillment and transport that can be done much better.
Fulfillment crucial, but opportunities untapped
As a webshop builder it is often difficult to “sit in the customer's seat” when it comes to fulfillment. Do you store your stock centrally within Europe, within the Netherlands or at various locations within a city? Still, these are questions that need to be asked, as they affect the transportation services chosen at checkout. Long distances mean slow and less reliable deliveries, and local warehouses can even deliver in, say, an hour. The technical impact of “transport options” in the checkout is often seen as complex or linked to inventory systems. However, it does not have to be if you outsource this to a specialist party. You don't want to waste time creating 'shipping rules' in your webshop per transport service and that also at country level. For example: a package sent within the Netherlands costs €5 with a delivery time of one day, and a package sent to Belgium costs €7 with a delivery time of two days. That time is really over.
We still see many developers and online retailers who are not aware of all the possibilities that fulfillment offers. On the one hand that is understandable, a retailer or developer already does so much. On the other hand, the easy processing of orders and an appropriate delivery are crucial for a successful webshop. There have been many exciting opportunities in this area recently.
Among other things, many developers and retailers neglect these possibilities:
- Multiple carriers. SameDay delivery, bicycle courier, DHL, PostNL, pick-up point delivery, why should you choose? Retailers can easily collaborate with multiple carriers. This way they are not dependent on one party and the customer can determine his own preference.
- Dynamic checkout. Prevent unpleasant surprises and give visitors live insight into the current delivery times and shipping costs of different carriers when booking. Then they know where they stand.
- Additional communication moments. In addition to the standard order confirmation and track & trace, much more is possible. 'Your new lounge sofa has passed our last inspection with flying colors and will be handed over to the carrier today.' Those kinds of personal messages bring your brand to life.
- greener. Sustainability is expressed in transport. Work with transporters who plan efficiently and drive few kilometers, and use means of transport that emit little CO2. A bicycle courier best emphasizes the retailer's sustainability ambitions.
- City fulfillment center. This is the latest trend. For super fast and green delivery, retailers work with a party that keeps products in stock close to the customer, and delivers them from there with a bicycle courier. Super-fast delivery without additional packaging material and with minimal CO2 emissions
Developer on the move
The request for more options in the shipping process often ends up on the developer's plate. Not that he is a specialist in that area, and he doesn't need to be. Instead of linking a webshop to a single carrier, he can just as easily connect the webshop with, for example, a transport management platform with a simple API. Then the retailer, together with the specialist, can set up the process of their choice and change it into whatever and whenever they want.
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