By Kawal Preet

Crafting a seamless, frictionless retail experience is a complex undertaking for most small business operators. Online sales are booming in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) and the region accounted for 64% of global e-commerce revenues in 2020. With more consumers spending online, never has there been such an opportune moment for SMEs to capture growth on a global scale. It is now more important to create an effortless digital purchase journey.

Interestingly, nearly 150 million people shopped online for the first time in the pandemic, and the number of e-commerce buyers will only continue to rise, according to a recent trends report. One aspect that’s often overlooked is that the user experience doesn’t stop at the completion of an online purchase. Consumers expect shopping to be easy and enjoyable from initial browsing to product selection, ordering, payment and delivery. Any setbacks along the customer journey can derail the sale in an instant.

Delivery options at checkout influence cart abandonment

It is important to note that the delivery process is often the only physical touchpoint for a customer following an online transaction. The delivery process connects the digital experience to the reality of the physical world. If a delivery does not live up to expectations, repeat sales and customer loyalty will take a hit. It is a critical component of the customer experience and one that SMEs will need to get right if they are to grow their business.

Recent e-commerce data shows that extra add-on costs from factors like shipping and shipping speed feature among the top five reasons for people abandoning their online shopping cart without buying anything. Cost and speed are clearly important considerations but not the only ones. Consumers are more likely to complete a transaction when they have the option to choose a public delivery location other than just the home address, track the package, and return unwanted goods. Companies that offer such flexibility stand out from the competition.

Customer expectations around delivery are evolving: 98% of consumers expect to be able to self-serve when it comes to shipping options including making delivery appointments and address changes. Around one third of shoppers are more likely to blame the e-merchant for a failed delivery and 94% will not return after one delivery failure. No matter the size of your business, seamless shipping and delivery is critical.

 New delivery solutions available through collaborations  

Building a shipping solution from scratch shouldn’t be in the scope of small businesses. By leveraging the existing infrastructure and e-commerce expertise of international logistics companies who understand SMEs, businesses can save resources and forge greater trust among customers. This is an area where the Filipino shoe start-up POSH Pocket Shoes found support in the FedEx team. The company has found that having FedEx as their official courier on their website was an advantage to attract more international customers.

International logistics partners provide the delivery flexibility customers are increasingly demanding. An interactive e-commerce delivery solution like FedEx Delivery Manager®, for example, allows e-merchants to offer their end-customers the ability to manage their delivery preferences, while also handling supplemental customer requests. It provides their customers with delivery tracking, options of delivery locations and delivery times including deferred delivery times to help maximize both security and convenience. This, in turn, boosts customers’ confidence and loyalty.

One advantage of working with a global logistics partner lies in the potential reach to international consumers. Finding new customers is an ongoing pursuit and logistics partners can play a role in attracting new business.

For example, FedEx acquired ShopRunner, an e-commerce platform that directly connects brands and merchants with online shoppers. For SME owners, this opens up a new array of services that can help create solutions to satisfy their e-commerce, global supply chains and other business demands.

Future-proof your business for accelerated digital transformation

The acceleration of technology adoption and digitization offers a path to recovery in a challenging business and economic climate, opening the opportunity to connect in new – perhaps better – ways with customers. The AMEA region is already leading with advanced digital maturity, dramatic e-commerce growth and rising online sales – all accelerated by the pandemic. For SMEs who desire to ride this wave of acceleration, tapping the resources of established logistics networks not only provides access to new markets and ability to deliver internationally, but also enables easy e-commerce integrations, heightening delivery efficiencies.

Kawal Preet is President, FedEx, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA)

 

 

 

 

 

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