Consumer expectations for convenient, fast, and cheap e-commerce delivery has grown over the past decade and won’t slow down anytime soon. This shift in customer behavior is pushing retailers to take a step back and realize that how their packages are delivered matters because it’s now a part of the user experience – which in turn is an extension of their brand. If a shipping/delivery experience is unfavorable, the customer will blame the brand they ordered from – not the carrier.

As I wrote in the May/June article of PARCEL, a key part of a reporting strategy is to understand what happens after a package leaves your location – because the role of the carrier is so fundamental to the entire shipping process, carrier performance is sometimes overlooked in the drive for data analysis.

Digiday reported a study developed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and their logistics partner DHL called, “The Human-Centered Supply Chain,” that focused on the most important challenges affecting both the supply chain and designers. The results shined a light on the inefficiencies and lack of cohesiveness between production cycles and the supply chain while proposing solutions to the problems. The verdict? Steer clear of siloed operations.

Strong brands outside of the fashion industry are getting a wake-up call because they aren’t strategically emphasizing their supply chain and shipping operations – they’re happy if the packages are shipped to the customer on time with the right product in the box. But, in this digital age, that’s not enough and ignoring the supply chain is no longer an option.

There’s an immense opportunity for companies to benefit from taking an opportunity to review and change their traditional siloed operations – especially now that the fulfillment process is a part of the user experience and an extension of their brand. Look at the largest e-commerce platform in the world – Amazon; they focus on delivering a great customer experience by creating a successful customer-centric fulfillment and distribution process. Amazon optimized their supply chain and quality of products by putting their customers first and catering to their expectations in a way they love.

To keep up with the ever-evolving customer, retailers will benefit from:

  • Dissolving their traditional siloed operations. Streamline the operations to reduce cost and improve the customer experience.
  • View the supply chain as an essential part of their strategy and brand building. Manage a better supply chain that’s aligned with consumer behavior to ensure a positive customer experience.
  • Foster synergistic relationships with manufacturers and shareholders. Link supply chains with data and open the door to innovations to change the way every product is made and delivered.

The process for improving operations may seem daunting, especially with the increased prevalence of big data and the breadth of information shippers have at their disposal. However, it’s imperative for retailers to focus on if they want to ensure the fulfillment process impacts the customer experience in a positive way. As they say, the longest journey starts with a single step.

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