As online orders begin to plateau or even drop, those providers who ramped up for the pandemic are well-prepared for direct-to-consumer logistics, says Mike McComb, senior vice president of global e-commerce for Pitney Bowes.
E-commerce orders are dropping as consumers emerge from pandemic-induced seclusion and venture into stores, yet they’re buying less altogether because of high inflation, McComb says. Accordingly, companies selling online need to ensure that some basics are covered: Are they giving accurate delivery dates, what are their return policies, and what’s the delivery experience for Canadian customers who buy from U.S.-based companies?
“Brands have to look at how they can reach more consumers, maybe around the globe or in different regions, but making sure they are consistent and accurate,” McComb says. “Frankly, you're trying to figure out how you can delight them online, or else maybe they go shop at a store.”
Inventory and distribution problems negatively impact the online experience. Using regional carriers is likely to get one closer — and faster — to customers. “The question is, are you using regional providers that can give you a seamless experience to that consumer?” McComb asks. “And if you're a mid-market retailer, this is where the challenge is: Do you have enough inventory that you could actually support split distribution, for example? If not, what happens if you're trying to compete in a two- to three-day market and you're shipping from California to a consumer in New York? Are you flying it? If you're flying it, what's the cost? It is incrementally much more expensive, obviously, to go to the further zones.”
The environmental impact of such shipping is of much greater concern these days, especially among millennials, McComb says. “I think you've got to find the right type of carrier that can support your regional, national and international delivery.”
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