It was back in 2007 that the online retail giant, Amazon, launched its Prime delivery service, a low-cost monthly subscription that would set a new standard for the shipping and fulfilment of products purchased over the internet. 

Amazon’s revolutionary Prime service provided subscribers with unlimited one day delivery on more than a million products available in its online store.

“Our vision was that fast delivery should be an everyday experience—rather than an occasional indulgence”. – Amazon

Major retailers, and even small independent businesses, have had to up their game when it comes to shipping and fulfilment, in order to compete with the giants such as Amazon.

There’s plenty of evidence to support the ever-increasing demand of express delivery services in the UK, with the value of the courier market increasing by 44% between 2014 and 2019 from £7.6 billion to £11 billion.

When it comes to customer service, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t end the moment they click ‘place order’ at the checkout in your online store. 

The shipping and fulfilment of their order plays a major role in their consumer journey with your business, with many bad customer experiences being put down to a lack of communication after an order has been placed or as a result of failed/incomplete deliveries. 

Person using credit card to buy products online

What shipping and fulfilment services should you offer?

Free shipping seems to be the ubiquitous delivery option that the vast majority of online retailers now provide, however a number of reports have shown that consumers are actually prepared to pay for delivery as long as they’re able to choose the service they require and the costs are clearly communicated. 

It’s about giving people the option to choose the delivery service that suits them, whether that’s named-day delivery, specific delivery slots, or same day/next day delivery. 

For some consumers, being able to choose the exact date and time that they’ll be home to sign for a delivery is more important than receiving it the following day or even the same day. 

Shipping options aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ and so providing customers with the ability to choose the one which most suits their needs can greatly improve their experience when purchasing goods from your online store. 

For some businesses, it’s also important to offer additional services on top of a standard delivery option, for example, if you are providing large/heavy goods then it may be appropriate to offer a fitting or installation service. 

We work with a number of retailers, distributors and wholesalers across the home & garden and domestic appliance industries, who deliver their products in their own vehicles and also provide fitting/installation services or a premium delivery option to have items delivered to a specific room in the customers homes. 

This gives customers the ability to select the delivery arrangement that best suits them and with our Stream Go platform providing real time updates about their delivery, they’re kept up to date at every stage of the process. 

Person receiving delivery from shipping and fulfilment provider

How can business growth affect the shipping and fulfilment process?

It’s essential to have efficient and robust systems in place for managing your shipping and fulfilment operations, and in particular, ones that are able to scale with your business as it grows. 

If you’re running a small business and perhaps only have one or two vehicles in your fleet, it may seem straightforward enough to manage your deliveries using a simple spreadsheet. 

But imagine you have one vehicle making twenty deliveries per day, when suddenly your business experiences a period of rapid growth and you need to acquire three more vehicles.

Now you have four vehicles making a total of eighty deliveries per day and you’re having to organise which items go on each vehicle, as well as planning the most efficient routes to get your products delivered as quickly, and efficiently, as possible. 

Now the admin time required to fulfill these orders has quadrupled and managing them all in a single spreadsheet becomes an incredibly demanding task. This is why it’s essential to use a robust system that takes care of this additional work for you. 

The online retail giants like Amazon have long been using these types of systems, as it makes the shipping and fulfilment process for high volumes of orders incredibly efficient.

If the process is simple it reduces the opportunity for error, speeds up the process and as a result, allows your customers to get the items they’ve ordered exactly when they need them. 

We developed our Stream Go platform on a subscription model, with pricing dependent on the number of vehicles in your fleet, so that it’s perfectly designed to scale with your business as it grows. 

Stream Go makes it incredibly easy to plan the most fuel-efficient routes, ensure you have the right goods on the right vehicle at the right time and provide customers with real-time information about their delivery. 

The benefits of Steam Go don’t stop there. If you’d like to learn more about how you can streamline your logistics operation and boost your customer service, you can find out more about Stream Go here