In a world of next day deliveries, highly efficient international freighting and corporate giants poised to overshadow all the competition, making sure the delivery aspect of your business is as perfect as possible might be a necessity. The logistics of shipping can be a nightmare without sufficient preparation, especially for a smaller business that may lack the funding to pay for any damages or reimburse customers for goods that never turned up in the first place.
In order to successfully compete, streamlining your shipping efficiency should be incredibly high on the priority list, as it affects nearly every aspect of a company, from customer satisfaction and repeat business to sustainability and longevity.
Thankfully, like in most areas of modern life, technology is here to help. Here are some options you might want to consider looking at in order to help optimize your business.
Last Mile Solutions
Keeping track of your shipments at any given stage of the process is crucial, but it is worth taking a closer look at the concept of the last mile.
There are many noteworthy factors worth addressing in this regard, as it can be notoriously difficult to plan for this particular stage. For example, inner-city traffic, delivery times requested by the customer, driver availability and the distance between drop-offs can’t be predicted.
This step, in many instances, is nonetheless crucial. There are some exceptional company’s like Onfleet who offer last-mile delivery solutions to help you out with this stage, however, so it is well worth taking your time to have a look at how advanced logistical software can streamline your shipping services, account for a wealth of eventualities and adjust your routes accordingly.
Its functions do not end there, however, so it is worth looking into no matter how large the scale of your operation.
WMS (Warehouse Management System)
Managing your warehouse’s inventory is a crucial part of the shipping side of the business. This pertains to not only keeping a close eye on stock but making sure that your employees are as efficient and as productive as they possibly can be.
Whether this is how goods are physically handled, how they are stored or loaded, or how much stock you are ordering in at any given time, there are many aspects to consider.
It may be worth implementing a WMS into your daily routine, as this can help you keep track of what exactly happens to be taking place, thus creating data-driven solutions to optimize performance.
Many WMS’s can track your entire process from start to finish, which can be a huge change to operations if you were used to doing business a certain way. Change is often for the best, however, so you may wish to take some time figuring out how best to introduce a new system to your company and which option will best suit your current circumstances.
In order to plan routes and predict outcomes to the best of your ability, it might be worth considering making use of augmented reality. In doing so, you can easily and efficiently visualize the best possible routes, even taking into account external influences such as traffic and extreme weather conditions.
It can also be used as a fantastic training tool if you employ full-time drivers in your company, as it can allow them to practice some important skills such as defensive driving before they even set foot in their vehicle.
Customers often enjoy the ability to track their package on its journey to their home, so implementing augmented reality might be a way to take this interactivity to the next level. For example, if you integrate a virtual reality tour option on your website, customers can engage with a digital representation of the entire shipping process.
This added level of engagement can be a superb way to nurture the customer experience, a crucial factor in making sure that your brand is received as reliable, trustworthy, and the one to turn to as opposed to your competitors.
Dynamic Pricing Software
Finding the right way to price your shipping costs can sometimes seem paradoxical, in that offering free shipping can end up costing you more money than the sale of the product itself, but charging for it can turn customers away and into the services of a rival with cheaper postage rates.
Finding the right balance is a must but is perhaps less of a fixed amount and more of a fluid one that changes based on a host of outside factors. Dynamic pricing software can greatly help you out with this, as it can save you time and potentially a great deal of money in the long term.
Making sure that the customer is satisfied is vital in this regard, an aspect that dynamic pricing software can account for by using analytics and developing custom solutions based on your local area.
Live Chat Options
From time to time, a customer will likely have questions about their parcel, so introducing ways in which they can do this with ease might help to greatly improve the customer relations side of your enterprise.
If you have ever had to wait on hold for what felt like forever, simply to enquire about when a package was to be delivered, you will have probably felt the need to never buy from that company again.
To avoid your business suffering a similar fate, it may be worth introducing live chat options on your company website so that your customer can contact you or a member of your team directly.
If you do not have the staff, time or resources to make this happen, it may be worth thinking about utilizing chatbots on your homepage. This can be a great alternative for anyone looking to save money without potentially harming the quality of the customer experience.
Chatbots can be programmed with a vast array of replies, and some of the best options can use machine learning to optimize their responses over time.
There are many technologies available that look set to change the future of shipping, so keeping your eye out on new developments is a great way to stay ahead of the game.