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Here are 5 shipping exceptions that ecommerce companies should automate

According to a Payoneer report, the Indian ecommerce sector is ranked 9th globally in cross-border growth, with the volume of online orders increasing by 36 percent in the last quarter of 2020.

None of that would have been possible without an efficient shipping system. While many small and medium ecommerce businesses take a simple approach of manually selecting delivery partners for each shipment, this isn’t the only approach.

Most ecommerce companies are opting for shipping automation to streamline their supply chain to grow their business and keep customers happy.

How does shipping automation works?

Shipping automation — the process of integrating software and technology to streamline shipping functions — reduces the manual work needed for repetitive tasks, minimises human error, and boosts the efficiency of the whole shipping process.

This leads to greater productivity and enables an ecommerce company to process and ship more orders in less time.

From small to medium to large, all sizes of an ecommerce business can benefit from fully embracing automation.

To better understand the role of shipping automation, let’s look at some common fulfilment challenges e-commerce businesses deal with daily and how automation can solve those.

Shipping delays

Delays in shipment are inevitable, and the reason for these delays could be anything — depending on the nature, size, or weight of the product.

However, for ecommerce firms, it means customer escalations and WISMO calls leading to more time spent and money lost. 

These losses can be mitigated with an organised fulfilment process and ongoing customer communication. Technology can reduce the impact of delayed shipments on customer experience by 60 percent.

Automation enables real-time tracking of carriers via their tracking API and helps identify the issues quickly. It sends automated updates to the customer with the revised dates and information. It further helps ecommerce companies improve carrier selection in future, and reduces such incidents. 

Failed delivery attempts

These are cases where the carrier is unable to deliver the order. Sometimes, the receiver is not available at the address to receive the parcel, or the delivery address was incorrect/incomplete or missing some details.

An unsuccessful delivery incurs extra costs on rescheduling, informing the receiver, and scheduling the future delivery. Automating the delivery operations by integrating with carriers helps identify such cases in real-time and taking customer inputs proactively. This increases the success rate of such delivery attempts. 

Fake delivery attempts

Fake delivery attempts adversely impact customer experience. For an ecommerce company, it is important to empower customers to report such cases directly and solve the issues.

With intelligent systems like IVR (interactive voice response), integrated ecommerce companies can immediately generate automated messages/calls and connect with the customers after the delivery message is received to check its validity.

Also, NDR (non-delivery report) management in automated processes reduces the time spent processing the undelivered parcel. It also follows up with the customer to check their availability to receive the package and perform the re-attempts.

Stuck shipments 

Stuck shipments are a complex situation for any ecommerce company. These shipments, which are ‘stuck’ in the supply chain, have a strong chance of getting delayed, causing severe disruption to the customer’s buying experience.

This can be damaging to your reputation, incurring extra costs and lost revenue. An automated system gets tracking updates from carriers, and when there is no update regarding the shipment for more than three days, it auto-flags the order and enables daily emails to carrier POCs asking them to address stuck shipments.

Lost or damaged shipments

Often, a package gets misplaced or damaged during shipments. Such incidents directly affect customer satisfaction but are out of the seller’s control.

An automated system always keeps an eye on the status of the products through carrier updates over APIs.

When an order is lost, damaged, or undelivered, automation enables the system to minimise the impact of such an exception by taking some basic measures such as triggering an update to customers on the replacement of the product.

The system then triggers an update in the sellers’ order management system to resend the product.  

Final thoughts

Exceptions are common in ecommerce supply chains, but automation is a great way to mitigate the risks associated with such exceptions.

Automation saves time, reduces costs, improves efficiency, productivity and accuracy, and results in better customer experiences. It benefits both the ecommerce company and the customers and ensures business growth. 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YS.)

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