Learn how Advanced Date Shopping (ADS) empowers enterprise shippers to streamline shipping, boost sales, and provide on-time deliveries during peak season.
While we may not be seeing the pandemic-level rise in e-commerce of years past, e-commerce continues to rise, and in doing so, reshapes the supply chain landscape with each passing year. The beginning of 2023 saw a 7.8% rise in e-commerce retail sales in the United States compared to 2022, and experts estimate that it will reach $4.56 trillion by 2027.
With 71% of abandoned shopping carts attributed to shipping-related issues (delivery too slow and extra costs like shipping, taxes, and fees too high), it’s clear that honing in on optimized shipping strategies are the key to staying competitive. This poses the question: How can shippers prepare with the odds already stacked against them?
Start Peak Season Planning Early
Whether your peak season is during the holidays or ramping up during back-to-school season, an exceptional customer experience (CX) is the ticket to success. From the initial website visit to final delivery, every touchpoint matters. When it comes to shipping and delivery, providing a positive CX requires speed, precision and on-time performance, while remaining cost-effective.
Now is the time to start planning and preparing for the peak season ahead. Prioritize the following steps:
Update Your Software
Ensure the software in your Enterprise Software Stack (ESS), such as OMS, WMS, ERP, eCom, and shipping software, is up to date, minimizing the risk of system downtimes during the peak season. Elite shipping software solutions have not only good data flow between your tech stack, but an automated update process that helps maintain constant and consistent compliance. [Explore more about the update process in your shipping software.]
Stress-Test New Processes
If internal shipping processes have evolved since the previous year, simulate peak volumes to identify and address potential bottlenecks or issues.
Take Advantage of Special Carrier Conditions
Shipping carriers play a pivotal role in meeting customer expectations during peak shipping times. To make the most of these relationships while enhancing your peak performance, connect with carriers to discover what special conditions they offer to help shippers – and themselves – to meet customer expectations for on-time deliveries, while also saving time and money. These special arrangements can include:
Carriers often deploy extra trailers during high-demand periods to expedite deliveries.
Extended Delivery and Shipping Times
Expand delivery options and shipping times, such as offering Saturday and Sunday deliveries or adding extra hours to pick-up times at the beginning or end of the day.
The goal for carriers is to move packages faster and earlier to spread the load and deliver packages on the estimated date of delivery. Constant communication with shipping carriers will not only keep shippers aware of the special arrangements available during high-volume periods but help them learn how to take advantage of them.
Advanced Date Shopping: A Competitive Edge
However, with multiple national, regional, and/or same-day carriers, each with their own special conditions, the challenge for many shippers is organizing these additional services, using them, and maintaining accurate shipping information for each delivery. This is where an innovative shipping feature called Advanced Date Shopping (ADS), comes into play. It helps shippers to streamline their shipping process by using information from different carriers to ensure timely deliveries for happy customers.
Here's how it works:
Adding Special Parameters
Shippers input holiday schedules, special conditions, expanded timeframes, rates, and other carrier-specific information into the multi-carrier shipping software.
The Benefit of Automating Special Parameters
The multi-carrier shipping software maintains all the information and handles the complexity of all the dates and special conditions to select the optimal shipping carrier and service to offer a precise delivery date for each shipment.
Enhancing the Customer Experience and Boosting Sales
Beyond on-time deliveries, ADS offers shippers a number of other benefits:
Shippers can leverage carrier special conditions to provide cost-effective shipping service options to customers, potentially reducing expenses.
Special promotions, such as offering faster shipping options at the same cost as slower options, can incentivize customers to place orders earlier, easing rush orders. For example, if a carrier offers two-day shipping at the same cost as three-day shipping, shippers can offer a promotion to customers that gets their packages to them faster without any additional cost. The special promotion can encourage customers to purchase before the promotion ends, resulting in orders being shipped earlier and reducing some of the last-minute rush.
Extended Order Deadlines
If carriers extend order cutoff times, shippers can accommodate customers' last-minute needs, delivering on expectations at no additional cost. If the carrier extends the deadline for same-day delivery orders from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., customers have extra time to get their orders in for the delivery date they want, again at no added cost to the shipper.
Shipping Status Updates
Shippers can keep customers informed about shipping progress, and provide accurate information about package delivery, enhancing customer service, customer loyalty, and overall satisfaction.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage
These capabilities empower shippers to navigate the surges in shipping volumes (sometimes millions of shipments per day) during peak season efficiently and seamlessly.
All shippers should be aware of the special carrier options available. Using these options helps achieve accurate delivery times and better manage their workload and budget. Whether it’s gifts under the tree, early purchases for special sales, or sending packages to loved ones, one thing remains constant: Customers want their packages to arrive on the expected date of delivery, or better yet, ahead of schedule!
Shippers who use multi-carrier shipping software with innovative functionality like Advanced Date Shopping clearly have the upper hand. The once-chaotic holiday volumes can now be managed with efficiency and customer-centric precision, not only during peak season but throughout the year.
To see this advanced functionality for yourself, schedule a demo with ProShip’s shipping experts.