On September 1, we hosted the ultimate guide to peak season planning alongside our partners Australia Post, Shopify, and Hero Packaging. The session highlighted how retailers can strike the perfect balance between convenient and cost-effective peak season planning.
Some of the key takeaways from the session included how to:
🚚 Increase last-mile efficiency with better tracking experiences.
♻️ Get closer to your customers to reduce waste and boost sustainability.
📈 Provide a reliable, transparent, and consistent delivery experience.
During the session, we also had a lot of questions come through from attendees ranging from delivery experience, customer experience and sustainability. Here are the top Q&A from the webinar:
A: Customer expectations have always been there, however since the rise in online ordering, they are becoming more prevalent. Visibility, choice, and convenience are three very important factors to ensure that customers trust in a carrier’s reliability, feel as if they are in charge of their delivery, and have the confidence that their order will arrive. Consequently, there is a lack of tolerance for a commitment that is not met in this digital era. As we shift more and more online, we need to constantly provide information to ensure that customers feel a high level of satisfaction and control. During the pandemic, we’ve seen the emerging need for fast services, hyper-local, and an increase in customer demand. Not only this, there is a strong mix of expectations surrounding sustainability, team enablement, education and open lines of communication as well.
A: I believe that you should do what you do best, so a multicarrier is very helpful to service different service levels and freight types. For example, some couriers do not ship things such as mattresses or offer on-demand services, so a multicarrier strategy is necessary to de-risk your operations.
A: At the end of the day, the best approach is overcommunication. As we mentioned earlier in the webinar, overcommunication is a key approach, such as putting banners on your website to notify customers of extra delays and other issues during peak season. Another method would be to integrate comms into your customer’s buying experience and add notifications on your checkout page. Over the last few years, carrier delays have been greatly affected by unforeseen circumstances such as floods, so being open and transparent when there is a delay is extremely crucial, as opposed to not communicating. One thing that Shippit has also tapped on is implementing real-time ETA, so that if things change during the journey, we are able to update the customer immediately through our software. Moreover, you can ensure that your customers are well informed by having a dedicated page on your website to update on delays, which is a good example of communicating directly from the source.
A: Inevitably, there will be delays that exceed the estimated time provided and by definition, might be deemed ‘lost.’ However, there are support processes to help. It is important to know that it is never our intent to have small businesses pay out of their own pockets and that there will always be a solution to avoid this.
A: This is a really good question for everyone. You need to do it as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be an announcement either. You can have it in your eCommerce store FAQs, at any point of the year and then start making announcements closer to the dates. Your customers will hear directly from us as well about cut-off dates.
A: If you haven’t offered same-day delivery before or want to ensure your processes are optimised to support it. It’s important to understand that whilst a timeslot delivery is requested, occasionally delays may happen that are outside of the driver’s control. In the event this happens, communication is key. For example, Shippit will SMS your customer to give them a heads up. In terms of rates, that is something you can contact us directly.
A: If you’re too small to do boxing day sales, don’t feel pressured to do them. Sales are when you want to get rid of excess stock, or influx of revenue. You don’t need to offer sales to boost customer retention. If you’re too small, it’s all about being present all the time. Don’t stop communicating or posting content if sales slow down after peak season and it’s more important to keep up the content and foster the community as it’s not just about sales.
A: If we’re touching base on communications, there are plenty of methods such as banners that talk about not only sales but also delivery delays and expectations. For example, the different types of communications we have on our Shippit platform, include tracking experiences, and real-time ETAs, which can be custom branded and automated. Again, it’s vital to use a shipping platform to communicate to your customers consistently.
A: We’re actively trying to avoid skipping tracking events. Generally, it is not due to the lack of process but because of speed, particularly in previous years. We’re looking into how we can better aggregate scans and scan once to apply the logic to all parcels. This will ensure that the right information is being pushed through.
A: One of our key value is to ensure that our packaging is network compliant. We’ve got a strong focus on building a sustainable business so it’s a core part of our business to improve our packaging for sending, returns, and making sure it’s more network compliant. Admittedly, some machinery was not measuring correctly, however that has now been fixed. As long as you put in the correct dimensions, weight and measurements for your BYO packaging, you won’t be charged extra. Ultimately, as we encourage the right use of packaging, to ensure that it moves effectively through the network, there are plenty of packaging tips and tricks you can find on our platforms.
A: If you send your details to Shippit, we’re happy to have a chat and get the ball rolling. It’s a very important thing to listen to our customers, especially when you’re starting out as that is when you would need the most guidance. It’s all about getting in touch with the right people early on and supporting each other to grow.
A: When we talk about biodegradability, this can still mean plastic. It’s very important that people can differentiate between biodegradable and home-compostable. Plastic with anything greater than a thickness of 25 microns is okay. Anything under 25 microns, for example, plastic shopping bags, is being banned in Australia. We’re moving to certified home compostable and ANAPC by 2025, whereby everything is reusable, recyclable or home compostable. Biodegradable as a term is quite broad as it can refer to home compostable or single-use plastic.
To gain more insights into how to ship and deliver more this peak season, watch the full webinar.