Online Retailers: Three Steps to a Successful 2015

According to Kantar Retail, retail growth in 2015 is inevitable. Retail sales are expected to grow 4.5 percent this year, with online sales increasing 15 percent. During dramatic growth periods, companies hoping to reap the most benefits must remain in total control. Since meeting and exceeding revenue is essential, the processes to do so should be deliberate and strategic.

Garnering the most success in 2015 depends on identifying overarching objectives. The first step to increasing revenue is to find areas of improvements within your company’s processes. For example, problems impacting revenue often relate to customer service or the supply chain. Because of this, retailers who examine and correct logistics issues can boost revenue while improving customer service.

Here are three steps retailers must take this year to understand logistics issues for increased revenue, improved operations and better customer service.

Know your organization

Making sure employees outside of operations understand key aspects of supply chain such as shipping methods, packaging costs and inventory location can be beneficial to your business.  Being able to understand logistic processes is essential to guarantee that no issues stand in the way of meeting your customer’s needs.

For example, if a manager notices an increase in customer service calls and can identify that it’s a result of late deliveries, they can delegate to the proper party to ensure that the problem gets solved. A manager might not have the expertise to solve the problem on their own, but because they are familiar with other aspects of operations, they can still help resolve customer issues.

This year, think beyond typical position titles to expunge organizational silos. Make it your aim to train more people in your organization about the bigger logistics picture to ensure they understand processes and can problem solve supply chain issues.

Turn your fulfillment provider into a fulfillment partner

Trust is an essential component of your relationship with your fulfillment provider. Just as you care for your clients, your fulfillment partner should adjust their strategies and align their values with yours to offer the best customer experience.

A good logistics provider will resemble your in-house team, rather than a third-party vendor. During your first meeting, look for vendors who listen more than they speak, and when they do speak, exude transparency. Encourage them to give you a tour of their warehouse so you can examine their expertise and capabilities, and ensure you can leave them to run that portion of the business while you tend to other responsibilities.

Pay attention to detail

The in-store experience shouldn’t be forgotten just because you’re an online shop. Seek to replicate basic in-store strategies like brand consistency. For example, brick-and-mortar employees adhere to a dress code and are taught certain messaging that aligns with a brand’s values.

Ecommerce brands can replicate the brick-and-mortar experience with packaging. Since packaging is one of the only tangible experiences a customer has with an eCommerce brand, it should echo your brand’s strategy to impress and build loyalty. For example, if you’re a beauty brand that uses organic ingredients in your products, you can incorporate some kind of “green” packaging into your shipments. One way you could do this is by using recyclable stuffing instead of bubble wrap.

Best of all, pristine packaging isn’t necessarily costly. Often, the new packaging we develop with clients is more cost-effective than the current method. Pay attention and look for ways to make your packaging stand out from the typical brown box. Customers will remember, and potentially even share and save, unique packaging. 

While logistics isn’t the only factor that can lead to revenue growth, it is often overlooked. Improving supply chain processes, focusing on rethinking brand packaging, and building your fulfillment partner relationship will improve your customer’s buying experience, positively impact your brand’s perception, and foster revenue growth. For companies hoping to grow, yet struggling to keep up, managing logistics should be a focus this year.