The challenges of providing same day or express delivery may seem out of reach – but is it really?
With e-commerce order fulfilment standard for many warehouses, express delivery processes must be part of your strategy one way or another to stay ahead of your competitors. However, with advancements in technology, the real question isn’t how will you handle next or same day fulfilment, but how efficiently can you do it? The need for speed and convenience dominate consumers’ lives, so it’s little wonder they have come to see multi-day deliveries as being slow and old fashioned.
In an era where most retailers have an e-commerce presence and offer the same items at similar prices, the delivery experience can be the deciding factor when a consumer is debating where to spend their money. Delivery better be fast, as many consumers now expect same day or express delivery as the norm.
While warehouse management systems (WMS) and other technologies are essential to quick fulfilment, consultants and solution providers point out that each operation needs to consider a blend of strategies. It’s really an orchestration across the right WMS solution, the right facility layout, proper storage media techniques and operational best practices, reliable couriers all synchronised together to support your fulfilment strategy.
The nature of same day or express delivery means that there is very little margin for error, so only a small proportion of delivery areas and product types would be eligible to achieve such a fast delivery. This process relies on an incredibly swift order pick and a sufficiently local customer.
The same day delivery order fulfilment process would be as follows:
- Completed online
- Presented to the picker
- Picked from warehouse location
- Packed and labelled
- Delivered to customer
The likes of Amazon Prime now offers one-hour delivery within large cities for customers who pay an annual subscription and a fee per order.
It’s been a challenge for traditional brick and mortar retailers to compete with the multi-day delivery promises, let alone with same day delivery or one-hour deliveries. With so many online companies meeting and even exceeding demands for express delivery, how can you possibly expect to keep up?
Some businesses try to make do with the systems they already have; tweaking and adjusting them to fit an in-store fulfilment model. That approach is rarely successful because there are too many variables around in-store fulfilment and your needs will frequently change.
Consider using a WMS system and the following to achieve success:
Good old fashioned inventory accuracy provided by WMS and backed up by solid data collection is essential to effective next-day fulfillment. While this may seem obvious, it’s easier said than done in large e-commerce warehouses that might have many thousands of SKUs, large forward pick areas to replenish, and seasonal or temporary workers to meet labour needs.
Picking processes are a critical part of your fulfilment strategy. It’s especially important to minimise travel time throughout the store, which is the most expensive time expended when picking orders. A WMS system can significantly help.
You need to manage store resources like you would in a traditional warehouse: Look at the schedules and ensure you have the associates to support your customer delivery promises – no matter the day or time.
Communication is Key:
Competitors like Amazon have set a high standard for communication, and you should expect your customers to want the same real-time information at every step of their order. Keep in regular contact with your customers and provide them with delivery status updates. Being able to track your parcel’s progress is a must in people’s busy lives allowing customers to continue about their day without having to wait in for hours.
Dedicated Fleets & Personnel:
Have a fleet of vehicles with the sole responsibility of taking items from the store and delivering them to the customer and you have specific employees who makes very local deliveries to your customers to ensure prompt timely deliveries.
The ability for customers to pick up orders at your store or local lockers can be a positive experience that helps set you apart. Think strategically about what you want the customer’s experience to be. Can they save time picking up their order with their regular supermarket shop?
Research suggests that the consumer will spend between 30-100% extra online if a same day delivery is available. A staggering 83% of consumers say they would be more likely to shop with a retailer if a same day delivery solution was on offer.
Offering same-day delivery is no easy task, particularly when retailers consider the fact they need to be cost-efficient as they do it. They cannot afford to burn all sorts of resources just to get packages to consumers more quickly. So what is the answer?
The right technology is key to success
Technology investment is paramount for offering a reliable and positive customer experience across your channels. While putting together a patchwork of systems and processes may seem like a faster and more inexpensive path, it’s not sustainable and there’s simply too much at stake. This volatile era requires a flexible breed of technology that meets today’s needs while remaining nimble for future market demands.
A warehouse management system can help with many of these processes by giving merchants more visibility into warehouse inventory and organising the way sellers fulfil orders across one or more distribution centres. Additional features, such as seamless barcode scanner integration, can expedite the picking and packing process, enabling merchants to get products to delivery services in minutes instead of hours.
While many customers are still fine with conventional two-day or longer shipping, it is a slippery slope. With more retailers offering same-day delivery, it is only natural for expectations to rise. If merchants do not offer express delivery, they will need to consider doing so soon. Warehouse management systems can help them better coordinate their fulfilment and shipping efforts, allowing them to expedite deliveries.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.