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19 October 2020

What is Delivery Management Software and how can it help online retail?

The advent of the internet has totally shaken up the retail sector. Ecommerce has boomed and over the last decade consumer shopping behaviours and expectations have changed massively. Thanks to the internet and smart devices, consumers have greater access to an exponential number of retailers and products. To differentiate from the other retailers selling the same product, in the same space, at the same price, delivery is a key differentiator.

Steve Sneath

According to data, mobile commerce is predicted to account for 54% of ecommerce sales by 2021. And Covid-19 has played its part in accelerating this growth. A report from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index claims the pandemic has fast-tracked the move away from physical stores to online shopping by roughly five year.

To keep up with online retail demand a growing number of carriers have joined the market. Gone are the days when Royal Mail was the only affordable delivery option and the Littlewoods catalogue provided your ‘at home’ shopping experience. Now there are a plethora of competitive carriers for retailers to partner with and millions of products available to shoppers at a click of a button.

To differentiate from the other retailers selling the same product, in the same space, at the same price, delivery is a key differentiator. Faster, more reliable and convenient delivery options can make one brand stand out from the rest. Data from the IMRG 2019 Consumer Delivery Review shows a 11% decrease in the number of consumers stating free delivery encouraged them to make a purchase. Instead, offering the consumer a broader choice of delivery options so they can choose the one most convenient to them was a priority.

In today’s market, retailers that are not able to offer the same breadth of delivery options are at a disadvantage to their competitors. But integrating your eCommerce platform with more than one carrier is no easy feat. That is where Delivery Management Software comes in….

What does Delivery Management Software do?

In simple terms Delivery Management Software uses one single software integration to link a retailer to multiple carriers. This allows a business to switch between the services that offer its consumers greater delivery choice, without the headache of integrating with each carrier individually.

Delivery Management Software features a rules engine that determines delivery choice based on the product, location and delivery requirements. It then shares this data between the retailer’s eCommerce platform and the carrier, enabling the delivery to take place through the production of labels and all necessary supporting customs documentation. Retailers also get instant access to their chosen carriers’ innovations through the tool, and any updates to shipping protocol are automatically made via the Delivery Management platform on the retailer’s behalf.

The benefit of Delivery Management Software to eCommerce

Delivery Management Software gives retailers the flexibility to scale with shopper demand quickly and efficiently. And, when demand is high, it allows the retailer to switch between carriers to help navigate any delivery disruptions. This proved a lifeline to many retailers in 2020, allowing them to navigate the delivery disruptions seen during the Spring peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and still fulfil their delivery promise to consumers.

Partnering with multiple carriers via Delivery Management Software is also extremely beneficial coming into the traditional peak periods, such as Christmas and Black Friday, when demand for products is higher and carriers are at their busiest.

As well as quickly and efficiently enabling the shipping process, it can also provide access to additional convenience features that are highly prized by today’s consumers. This includes carrier innovations, such as inflight tracking with the option to change the delivery date, time or location on the go, or the ability to provide personalised and branded consumer email communications. It can also help retailers complete the delivery journey with the inclusion of seamless, global returns, allowing shoppers to print their own tracked returns labels. An integrated Returns Dashboard then provides the retailer or its supporting fulfilment house with a clear view of what items are coming back into stock, helping to manage staffing levels and cashflow.

The benefits aren’t just confined to the retailer and its consumers. Warehouse processes can be streamlined too. Features such as Silent Printing enable the automated printing of labels and support documentation to the correct ‘pick and pack’ stations within a fulfilment centre, while a reporting tool that analyses daily shipping trends and processes, ensures retailers are able to meet their delivery promises.

If you’d like to find out more about Delivery Management Software and how it can benefit your business – whether you’re a retailer, carrier or fulfilment house – click here.