Shoppers increasingly want their orders delivered promptly to their homes, but many don’t want to pay for shipping, and an increasing number are seeking similar treatment on product returns. Retailers, wanting to meet customer expectations, dip into bottom-line profits to cover shipping costs, and those profit margins are further eroded when customers take advantage of free returns. This is true especially in cases where shoppers increase order size to qualify for free shipping and returns, only to return that qualifying portion of the order.
How can retailers provide dependable expedited home delivery to e-commerce customers without sacrificing all their profitability?
In my recent article in Inbound Logistics, I mention that, “Consumers are the driving force,” and “spending on small package delivery jumped double digits,” over 2016. Also, “North American companies must reinvent a faster, smarter, more resilient and efficient breed of multi-modal supply chain to sustain business in an e-commerce civilization.”
How can shippers balance consumer satisfaction with cost containment?
They can Sweep the Dock.
Sweeping the Dock is a multi-step process for evaluating and optimizing multi-modal supply chain processes. The goal is to help businesses identify and implement ways to enhance the agility of their fulfillment operations – both outgoing and incoming – for the economic benefit of the consumer and the retailer.
Usually conducted in partnership with an Enterprise Logistics Provider, Sweep the Dock uses various investigative tools and methodologies to generate visibility that leads to actionable insights. Typical tasks include:
- Conducting an end-to-end supply chain forensics evaluation
- Aligning business and supply chain priorities to accelerate growth
- Evaluating multi-modal (small package, Less-Than-Truckload and Truckload) solutions for speed, flexibility and efficiency
- Recognizing and understanding risks and cost drivers
- Identifying multi-modal cost-reduction opportunities
- Implementing improvements in routes and processes
Taking care of your customer is your primary focus, whether that customer is located in a storefront or at a neighborhood address. That’s why Sweeping the Dock is just one of the many strategies Transportation Insight offers to help you achieve an adaptive, agile supply chain that serves as the backbone of your business. Our e-commerce and omni-channel supply chain engineers are experts at building customer-centric solutions that enable your supply chain to adapt to changing customer buying habits – in any shopping venue – without missing a beat.