As a nation, we love to shop online. So much so, the UK ecommerce market is one of the fastest growing in Europe and not showing any signs of slowing down.
In 2012, ecommerce sales were around £67billion, but last year hit £137billion (ONS). In total, there are around 42,000 UK ecommerce sites with clothing, toys, jewellery and health and beauty dominating this space. It’s clear that Brits love the online shopping experience.
The flipside of this growth is that this is a highly competitive space. With more and more ecommerce websites going live every day, there are so many areas a business needs to focus on in order to stay ahead.
Online shoppers are savvy and impatient. They abandon carts, they look elsewhere for better offers, read reviews and will quickly leave a site if the user experience (UX) isn’t good enough.
There’s a lot of pressure on retailers to get it right, and quickly. 61% of shoppers leave a site because of website weaknesses. So there’s little margin for error. Fast engagement is crucial.
The reasons often discussed in blogs about ecommerce businesses include having to create an account for a single, one-off purchase, long, complex checkouts, payment security concerns, unsatisfactory returns policies or less-than-great reviews.
Have you noticed that all these issues are purely web based and don’t even touch on delivery and fulfilment which is as significant in its impact on sales (particularly repeat sales) as many of the issues mentioned above? As one study found, satisfaction with delivery options, shipping dates and returns policies top the list of customer gripes and reasons for basket abandonment.
In the world of ecommerce, you are only as good as your last purchasing experience. Getting UX right is a permanently evolving process. But have you thought about the overall Customer Experience (CX)? Did you now that 86% of buyers would pay more for a great experience?
We can all remember an amazing purchase experience and how it made us feel as purchasers, and that’s one of the reasons businesses grow and succeed in the ecommerce space.
As a young or expanding business, there’s always the belief that everything needs to stay in-house until growth is such that you need to outsource. However, in such a competitive space, is this a sustainable or strategic approach?
If you’re a family business, life gets in the way, and a delay in getting a package out could be make or break. If you’re a small startup with a staff member off work, how do you deal with fulfilment when everything else is a priority?
Getting the product to the customer on time and delivered well is all crucial for good CX. You want that product to arrive in a positive way and you want that customer to leave a good review and do some great social around your product.
Why outsource your ecommerce fulfilment?
If you were to add up the time it takes out of your working day to deal with fulfilment, it would be very significant. It wouldn’t surprise us to hear that you find yourself thinking that your time could be spent more effectively elsewhere, like sales analysis, making site or listing improvements, finding new products or channels.
How fulfilment works
There are three parts to fulfilment – storage, despatch and delivery. You already outsource your delivery (unless you personally deliver your products by hand which we suspect you don’t). But have you thought about outsourcing the despatch/storage piece?
Outsourced despatch includes:
You store and despatch your stock from a remote location in which you lease space. This gets around the need to rent warehouse space and get involved in the legal complexities, maintenance, security and upkeep.
Outsourced picking, packing and despatch
Picking and packing is extremely time-consuming but also needs to be done right first time. There’s an explosion of “unboxing” videos on YouTube which show how crucial the experience of box-opening and packaging has become.
By outsourcing your packaging and delivery, you’ve immediately won back the time and money involved in warehousing and picking, packing and despatch. You also achieve a much more consistent packaging experience for your customers.
Since you deliver your goods for storage to the fulfilment centre, you need never touch your products. This leaves you free to focus your entire attention on to growing the business, to be the ecommerce entrepreneur you meant to be!
You may imagine that outsourced fulfilment is for high-volume businesses. Surprisingly, that’s not the case. If you were to analyse your current inhouse fulfilment costs, including materials costs – such as boxes, bubble wrap, tape and labelling – it soon adds up, and all this is before you’ve even paid for postage and insurance.
Add the cost of your time (you wouldn’t work anywhere else for free would you?). Then the lost opportunity cost, the money you could be making if you were spending that time growing your business rather than just servicing existing sales.
For a growing business or startup the key word is flexibility. You need a solution that has the flexibility to adapt and change in line with your needs. The larger fulfilment houses tend to offer a fixed solution, but there are others that can offer a service that works for you.
For example, if you want to keep packaging in house, but need to make delivery more efficient and cost-effective, then you need a fulfilment house that supports a modular approach where you can mix and match according to your needs.
Not only that, but as budgets are critical, you need a fulfilment partner that is completely transparent in their pricing. No hidden costs or surprise invoices at the end of the month.
At Huboo, we’re here to help your business grow. We offer the flexibility to help you get to the next level by supporting both low volume and high-volume businesses. We remove the requirement for leasing storage space and the hassle of picking, packing and delivery. Our costs are transparent and the service is highly customisable. Why not drop us a line and find out how we can support you?