Promotional sales, discount codes, loyalty cards, and free shipping are the latest trends in retailers vying for e-commerce consumer spend. However, there is another opportunity even of greater importance to get right—customer experience.
With each touchpoint that a consumer encounters, retailers have the opportunity to make that purchase a pleasant experience or a bad one. Although up until recently, many retailers have focused solely on the frontend in making the consumer happy. Easy omni-channel ordering and free shipping are now the norm. With loyalty programs becoming more prevalent, brand loyal consumers are expecting even more from their favorite retailers.
Consumers are now conditioned to expect a better overall experience in exchange for their loyalty. Grocery chains have long given special discounts for loyalty members, while online retailers have provided free shipping. Just like frequent fliers getting to board first, retailers are now rethinking other ways to boost loyalty. Now, retailers are looking at their supply chain and working with automation systems providers to help boost the experience of even the most loyal of consumers.
While some retailers are taking great strides in automating their supply chain to better the overall consumer experience, other retailers are just now exploring the possibilities. Automation has long since been the darling to help increase the bottom line. However, today’s automation systems can now better the overall customer experience. Today’s WMS software technology works closely with ERP and loyalty systems in order to prioritize order fulfillment, track, and even give key insights back to retailer systems. For example, once a consumer hits the order confirmation button, that consumer starts receiving regular updates on their order—this is standard practice. However, today’s automation systems coupled with a robust WMS, can indicate in real-time when an order was picked, personalized by the name of the employee who handled the order, and when it left the facility. WMS systems that allow for waveless picking accounts for order shifts and prioritization.
Additionally, retailers want to be able to keep customers engaged in their products and provide best-in-class service. By having a modern WMS and a solid omni-channel strategy, retailers can leverage any location with stored inventory as a shipping point. As customers begin to engage on e-commerce sites after work and before bedtime, having the opportunity to still fulfill an order for same day delivery is a game-changer for many retailers. By having the ability to ship from multiple locations, a modern WMS will be able to select the proper shipping point based on a host of criteria such as:
- Customer status
- Customer paid for expedited shipping
- Inventory location
- Transit time
By having the option to ship from multiple locations, retailers can improve profit margins by allowing either the most economical shipping location, fastest for an upcharge, and improve the overall customer experience.
Same day order shipping is standard, but orders picked within minutes of receiving an order shouts consumer priority. These small touches give consumers confidence that a retailer is prioritizing their order based on loyalty or even an increase spend for prioritization.