Consumer demand is sky-high. For example, 99 percent of U.S. consumers say fast delivery is important to them when making online purchases. Not to mention, nine out of 10 people said free shipping was the No. 1 incentive when asked what would make them shop online more often. As an online retailer, you have to get a handle on your inventory in order to exceed customer expectations related to delivery.
Yesterday, Shippo’s Director of Business Development Richard Garcia joined forces with on-demand warehousing company FLEXE’s VP of Operations Megan Evert for a webinar to help you do just that. You can watch the full recording of the webinar here.
Here are a few snippets from the webinar, featuring some of the tactics they shared to improve inventory management and delivery.
Leverage Your Data
Your data will allow you to identify insights specific to your customers’ fulfillment needs so that you can make informed decisions about the entire process. Data can help you determine:
- Where should I put my next warehouse to save on fulfillment costs?
- What carrier service level should I choose to get my package to its destination on time for the best rate possible?
- Where are the bulk of my customers located and how can I optimize the experience for them?
Make sure you’re surfacing and organizing your data in a way that aggregates the information to find correlations and patterns. That way, you’ll be able to tease out key, actionable insights that you can implement.
Expand and Diversify Your Inventory Network
Improving your delivery promise means shortening the last mile. That means you must take a look at where you house your inventory now, and consider adding more warehouses to your mix to make it easier to reach all of your customers faster. Based on a study by Starboard Corp., retailers can reach about 70 percent of the U.S. market in two days or fewer by having just two facilities in their network.
In the webinar, we break down how much of the U.S. is reachable with one, two, three, eight, or more warehouses for next-day, two-day, and three-day shipping. If you’d like more specific analysis, please download the recording.
Manage Inventory Across Your Network
Having a unified view and visibility across your network will ensure the right inventory is routed to the right location. Real-time reporting on inventory levels and order data help you track high-performing SKUs and see changes to both inbound and outbound inventory as they happen. But, that’s just part of it.
Having visibility to your KPI’s on the warehouse floor is critical. It won’t matter that you can reach your customers with two-day, Ground delivery if your warehouse is not shipping on time or completing orders. Make sure you’re identifying and tracking your warehouse KPIs, as well, to ensure efficiencies.
Ship with Multiple Carriers
Using a mix of carriers allows you to compare rates and service levels to choose the best option for your needs. You’ll have access to a variety of delivery estimates and costs that you can pass on to your customers.
It also helps you avoid a slowdown by providing backups, if needed.
As an added benefit, you can leverage your relationships with other carriers once it comes time to negotiate for rates, which gives you greater power in the process.
Overall, having detailed insights into your inventory process will help you determine the best next steps for your business. Look for ways you can expand your delivery network to reach a larger portion of your audience faster. With the above tips, you’re well on your way to exceeding expectations and winning over customers.
For more inventory management tips, watch the on-demand webinar here. You might also be interested in our detailed holiday checklist created to help online retailers prep for the upcoming selling season.