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2021 Supply Chain Trends

2021 supply chain trends

The coronavirus pandemic demonstrated that in order to succeed, businesses must build supply chain resilience, improve their agility and keep innovation at the forefront to meet customer expectations in times of disruption. As noted by eMarketer analyst Andrew Lipsman, “certain ecommerce behaviors…permanently catapulted three or four years into the future in just three or four months.” So what can we expect in 2021? Here are the top supply chain trends expected to emerge or accelerate in the coming year.

 

Greater investment in supply chain resilience

According to a survey of supply chain professionals by Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), investing in risk management and resilience will be a top company priority and the biggest supply chain management trend of 2021. Following the demand and supply shocks caused by the pandemic, companies with strong supply chain resilience were better equipped to balance their supply and demand needs than those with less resilient supply chains, who are now playing catch up.

As businesses work to fortify their supply chains, diversification of suppliers, manufacturing and transportation options is likely to continue. Between the tariffs, factory lockdowns and logistics disruptions in China, companies have learned that supply chains are fragile when they rely too heavily on a single company or geographical location. In 2021, they’ll be focused on building contingency plans and understanding their entire supply chain structures to identify and mitigate or eliminate these kinds of vulnerabilities.

 

Alternative fulfillment options and contactless transactions

Brick-and-mortar retailers without an online presence scrambled to create one this year when in-store shopping came to a halt. Omnichannel retailers—those with both physical and online stores—were able to keep their businesses going by offering convenient fulfillment options like curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS). The trend toward contactless transactions was accelerated during COVID-19 and is expected to continue in 2021. In fact, according to a CommerceHub survey, 67% of respondents said they will continue to use curbside pickup when the pandemic is over. Retailers will need to pay attention to how consumer behavior changes as the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed and have the flexibility to adapt accordingly.

 

More convenient returns

Consumers don’t just expect a convenient shopping experience—they also expect a convenient returns process. To make product returns as easy as possible, retailers are adding more in-person drop-off options—no box or shipping label necessary—which are expected to become more common. Physical stores are planning to make returns more convenient by accepting returns from other online retailers at their locations, giving existing and new customers a reason to come into their stores. According to RetailWire, the “ecommerce winners” will be the retailers who make both buying and returning easy.

 

The rise of micro-fulfillment centers

As ecommerce volumes soar, retailers will continue seeking ways to get items to customers as quickly and cheaply as possible. One solution expected to trend in 2021 is the micro-fulfillment center, a smaller facility closer to consumers that has the automation of a larger warehouse. This model, said to be the future of online grocery shopping, works best for items with high-turnover and that run out relatively quickly, or where the trend can easily change.

Although micro-fulfillment centers offer close access to customers, execution can be a challenge without a logistics partner and the technology to track and manage decentralized inventory. An alternative for retailers that we’re likely to see more of in 2021 is the conversion of stores into mini-distribution centers.

 

Greater focus on the final mile

After the explosion of ecommerce this year, companies’ last-mile delivery strategies will be a critical focus in 2021. In order to stay competitive amid surging online purchases and returns, companies will need last-mile control and end-to-end visibility to manage the flow of products to/from customers, deliver to customers on time and facilitate returns with ease.

 

Sustainability strategies

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 65% of consumers say they want to buy products from purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability. With the pandemic-driven increase in online purchases, consumers will be thinking about how sustainable their shopping habits are, forcing retailers to offer more sustainable delivery choices. Here are three sustainability trends to watch for in 2021:

  • More eco-friendly warehouses. The shift toward eco-friendly warehouses is expected to continue in 2021. These facilities are equipped with LED lighting for reduced emissions, efficient HVAC systems for lower energy consumption and energy management systems that monitor the usage of electricity, heat, water and gas
  • Shift from linear to circular supply chain systems. Circular supply chains encourage continuous reuse of materials to minimize waste, as opposed to the traditional linear supply chain that follows the path of “produce, use, discard.” According to a 2020 Gartner survey, more than half (51%) of supply chain professionals said they expect the focus on circular strategies to increase over the next two years. (Example: Transitioning from single-use pallets to reusable block or plastic pallets that have a longer useful lifespan and can be recycled into new pallets.)
  • Greater focus on post-purchase recycling processes. Retailers will likely put a greater emphasis on recycling and how to engage customers in the recycling process. Some apparel companies, for example, provide discounts to those who drop off used clothing to be recycled. Recycling processes will become a customer expectation and have an impact on new sales for retailers.

 

Warehouse robotics and AI

The supply chain disruptions brought by COVID-19 have created a renewed sense of urgency behind warehouse robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Per Gartner, AI is divided into two categories for supply chain application: augmentation and machine learning automation. Automation is replacing human decision making and action using a combination of hardware and software, whereas augmentation is the use of technology to support and improve human behavior, both in decision making and task execution.

As warehouse labor gets tougher to find and the pandemic continues, warehouses are shifting to technology and automation to do more of the work. For example, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs), including floor cleaners, forklifts and pallet movers, are expected to be more widely accepted for driving efficiencies in warehouse management and operations. Statista reports that the global warehouse automation market is estimated to surpass $30 billion by 2026 from $15 billion in 2019.

 

Surging parcel volumes and carrier price hikes

Parcel volumes are expected to remain historically high in 2021. Traditional in-store shoppers who turned to online shopping during the pandemic may not return to the stores, or return to stores less frequently than before the pandemic. Shippers should be aware that due to these volumes, FedEx and UPS rates are increasing an average of 4.9 percent. Depending on the service you use and your package characteristics, you could see increases above or below the average. FedEx recently announced it would continue with the new trend of “off-season” surcharges in 2021, and they changed the description of its surcharges from “temporary” to “peak,” indicating that these fees may be around a while.

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs. Contact us today to start the conversation about how we can help your company navigate the new year and prosper in 2021.

 

 

Cyber 5 Recap: Shopping Starts Early, Cyber Monday Breaks Records

cyber 5 featured

This year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend didn’t bring major surprises, but it did break with tradition and set new records. We’ve put together a recap of the biggest sales weekend in ecommerce and what’s on the horizon as we head into 2021.

 

The holiday weekend saw record sales, but less growth than anticipated due to early shopping

Cyber 5, the five-day shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, was a huge weekend for ecommerce. According to data from Adobe Analytics, consumers spent a record $34.36 billion on retail websites, up from $28.49 billion for the same period last year, and online sales rose 20.6% year over year. While this percentage is up from 17.7% last year, it is lower than projected estimates, as shoppers took advantage of retailers’ pre-Thanksgiving discounts and shopped earlier to avoid out-of-stock items and shipping delays. More than half of all shoppers (52%) said they took advantage of early seasonal sales, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The overall number of consumers who shopped in stores and online during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend came in at 186.4 million, a slight drop from last year, according to the NRF survey.

Cyber 5 eCommerce Sales by Day

 

SOURCE: Adobe Analytics, December 2020

  • Thanksgiving hit a new record for online sales, with 21.5% year-over-year growth to $5.1 billion.
  • The number of online shoppers on Black Friday exceeded 100 million for the first time—up 8% over last year—and online spending reached a record $9 billion.
  • Small Business Saturday logged 68.2 million online shoppers, up 17% from 2019 with a gain of nearly 10 million consumers.
  • Americans spent a record $10.8 billion online on Cyber Monday, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, according to Adobe Analytics.

 

In-store traffic drops (unsurprisingly)

As expected, in-store shopping was down due largely to the pandemic and store closures on Thanksgiving. In fact, traffic to stores on Thanksgiving fell 55% from last year, and traffic on Black Friday dropped 37%. “Shipageddon” is expected to push last-minute shoppers who missed holiday shipping deadlines to the store, especially the week before Christmas.

 

Support for small business increases

77% of holiday shoppers said they were more interested in supporting small, local businesses struggling during the pandemic this year, according to the NRF survey. On Small Business Saturday, the number of online shoppers was up 17% compared with last year. Small businesses saw a 501% increase in online sales on Cyber Monday.

 

Retailers manage consumer expectations

As carriers continue to contend with capacity challenges, retailers have worked to manage consumer expectations around product availability and shipping delays for the holidays, displaying disclaimers on their websites and urging shoppers to buy early.

This messaging around shipping delays appears to have been effective, as shoppers said they will shop earlier this year knowing delivery times may be longer. Retailers also helped incentivize early shopping by offering pre-Thanksgiving discounts—some of which even kicked off in October.

 

Shoppers take advantage of alternative fulfillment options

Curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options have become increasingly popular this year due to COVID-19 concerns. In addition to providing convenience, these offerings increase retailers’ capacity to fulfill online orders and help shoppers avoid delivery delays. On Black Friday, in-store and curbside pickup increased 52% over last year, according to Adobe. Curbside pickup sales grew 30% year over year on Cyber Monday. Salesforce reports that retailers who offered these options during the first days of Cyber Week increased digital sales at a 26% higher rate than retailers that did not.

 

Looking ahead

  • Although carriers have hired thousands of seasonal workers, it is predicted that up to seven million packages per day could be delayed between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even more delays are likely to occur if the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for distribution during this time.
  • As we head into the new year, shippers preparing their budgets should take into account the general rate increases (GRIs) and increased handling surcharges that will soon take effect.
  • CBRE predicts that as much as $70.5 billion worth of holiday purchases this year are expected to be returned, putting additional stress on supply chains and creating heightened demand for warehouse space.
  • All signs point to a bright future for ecommerce, which means volumes will continue to surge and volume-capping by carriers is likely to continue. To deliver a positive customer experience in 2021, shippers should begin strategizing and building solutions with their supply chain partners as soon as possible.

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

 

Case Study: Visible, USPS Deliver Thousands of COVID-19 Tests Amid “Shipageddon”

After Carrier Caps Shipper’s Volume, Visible and USPS are Prepared to Deliver in 48 Hours

Visible has more than willingness to make the impossible possible for our customers. We have the expertise, partnerships, technology and agility to do it effectively.

 

In this video, Visible President Casey Adams shares how our team averted a “Shipageddon” crisis and helped a logistics provider deliver thousands of COVID-19 test kits after having their volume capped by another carrier a week before Black Friday. Click here to read the Utah Business press release.

 

Challenge

Ecommerce package volumes have surged since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, straining carrier capacity. Because of the significant increase in demand, some of the major national carriers have put caps on customer volumes. In fact, just this week, Nike, Gap, and many other large retailers have had their volume capped with little or no notice (additional information is available here).

In this case, a large logistics provider was informed by their carrier just one week before Black Friday that their volume would be capped at 17,000 COVID-19 test kits per day. With 35,000 daily test kits to ship, this left the company with 18,000 remaining test kits to deliver. The shipper needed a solution quickly and at the worst possible time: “Shipageddon,” a term being used to describe the overwhelming demand for carrier capacity and the resulting delays this holiday season.

 

Solution

The logistics provider contacted its technology partner, SHIPSTORE, a multi-carrier shipping software, and the SHIPSTORE team asked Visible for a solution. Visible contacted its partners at USPS and confirmed that they had the capacity to take on this business as well as the resources to ramp up and deliver the tests quickly. Because of Visibles long partnership with USPS and status as an authorized USPS reseller, Visible was also able to secure favorable Priority Mail rates.

Within 48 hours of engaging Visible, the customers account was set up, including implementation, integration, credit checks and credit application. During this timeframe, SHIPSTORE was also set up to write to Visibles public API in order to access labels and allow Visible to provide payment terms to the shipper, which was vital to their ability to continue shipping.

In addition to ensuring the 18,000 COVID-19 test kits were delivered on time, Visible provided support as a consultative resource, helping its customer build a multi-carrier strategy that would mitigate the risk of similar challenges in the future.

 

Download PDF

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

 

2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

holiday shipping deadlines 2020

Season’s Greetings

Preparation is key for a successful holiday season—especially this year. Our team has compiled this year’s holiday shipping deadlines to help you stay organized and get your gifts delivered on time. Please review the PDF below to learn more.

 

Download PDF

 

Additional Information

DHL
DHL’s cut-off date for most commonly shipped countries (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, and Tahiti) is December 18, 2020. Please reach out if you need information regarding additional countries. Transit time is based on fastest time into each particular country. Transit times could vary based on the Destination Area.

 

FedEx
View the holiday operating hours at:

 

Landmark Global
Landmark service cut-off dates for most commonly shipped countries (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, and Tahiti) is December 2, 2020 –December 12, 2020. Additional destination country cut-off times are available. Please reach out for additional information.

 

UPS
UPS Holiday operating hours:
https://ups.com/assets/resources/media/en_US/US_Holiday_Operations_Schedule.pdf

 

UPS Mail Innovations
Packages that are for national distribution (outside the UPS-MI originating facility service area), and destined to one of the 48 contiguous United States, UPS-MI recommends a cut-off date of Tuesday, December 8, 2020. This will afford the highest possibility to ensure delivery is completed by December 25.

 

USPS
Holiday operating hours:
https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2020/1008-usps-releases-deadlines-for-holiday-shipping.htm

 

Check out these links for tips on getting your gifts delivered in time for the holiday:

 

If you have any questions about the seasonal schedule, please feel free to contact us. We wish you and yours a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Are E-commerce Supply Chains Ready for An Unprecedented Holiday Season?

holiday season supply chain

Visible President, Casey Adams, talks about what to expect for e-commerce shipping during the holidays and how to prepare to best serve and impress (article also featured in GritDaily).

In the wake of COVID-19, there are significant changes in consumer habits and mail carrier performance. Here’s how retailers can prepare for an unpredictable peak season.

2020 is the year of new norms, and that includes holiday shopping behavior. Consumer habits, mail carrier performance and supply chains continuously evolve as the pandemic continues.

In a world-wide study released last week by Salesforce, 58% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than before.

 

Percentage of Shipments for 7 Days in Transit

supply chain holiday season

 

Percentage of Packages Delivered by Transit Days and Month

percentage of packages delivered

 

What to expect

Parcel carriers have managed holiday-like spikes in shipping volume since the pandemic hit. Research indicates holiday volume will mirror or top that.

Internet advertiser, Criteo, reported that online sales were 30% higher in the Americas and 17% higher worldwide from June 15 to 28 compared to February 2 to 14, pre-pandemic. Increased e-commerce sales during the outbreak indicate that consumers are online shopping more than ever and will presumably continue throughout the holidays. According to the aforementioned Salesforce survey, 88% of respondents reported that they plan to continue purchasing gifts online and sending them to recipients.

This surge could lead to lags in shipping times and increased costs for retailers as carriers place increase surcharges and limit package pick-ups.

Retailers have started their Black Friday and holiday promotions early to combat the volume. What was a 30-day promotional period previously is now around 75 days.

 

How retailers can best serve customers

Communication is key. Perhaps most importantly, retailers should communicate early and often the possibility of shipping delays, so there is transparency when gifts will arrive.

Create a multi-carrier strategy. Diverse options help mitigate risk. Carrier diversity is a workaround for capped volume and capacity constraints. Additionally, splitting volume between carriers can help avoid the surcharges that apply to shippers who send a certain number of parcels per week. Consider enlisting help from a logistics provider with an extensive network of reliable partners to support this strategy.

Utilize multiple fulfillment centers. Strategically located fulfillment centers benefit both the retailer and the customer. When inventory is stored at more than one location, the product can be shipped from the location closest to the customer and reach them faster without incurring expedited delivery fees, improving transit time. Having distribution centers across the country serve as emergency preparedness if a facility shuts down for several days in the event of a crisis.

Optimize your packaging. When it comes to packaging, think outside the box. Pun intended. Packaging doesn’t just contain and protect a product; it reinforces your brand. Consider how packaging contributes to the customer’s overall experience. Evaluate whether you are using the right materials—and the right amount of materials—for maximum efficiency. Reducing the package’s size/weight and eliminating excess materials can create savings and allow more orders to get loaded for delivery.

Take advantage of technology. Choose a logistics partner that can optimize shipping processes using technology. Parcel tracking and scan and pack verification systems add an extra layer of accuracy and quality control to the fulfillment process. They ensure the right products get delivered to the right place as timely as possible.

If possible, online-only retailers should consider establishing pop-ups in customer-dense cities to allow curbside pick-up through web and app portals. 88% of customers expect companies of all kinds to accelerate digital initiatives due to the pandemic, and 83% expect retailers to provide flexible shipping and fulfillment options such as buy-online-pick-up-at-store, according to Salesforce.

 

Silver linings and opportunity

Although recent events have created supply chain disruptions globally, it has also created an opportunity. Companies are re-evaluating their supply chains, finding ways to increase resilience and efficiency and build customer loyalty.

 

 

Tips to Prepare for Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)

black friday ecommerce shipping

Everything has changed this year, and holiday shopping is no exception. As the coronavirus continues to spread, retailers have had to come up with creative ways to attract Black Friday shoppers while creating a safe shopping experience. In addition to implementing contactless pickup options, stores are widening their aisles, adding registers to avoid congestion and offering pre-booked shopping times.

But despite retailers’ efforts to make in-store shopping as safe as possible, three-quarters of people surveyed by RetailMeNot said they prefer to shop online this year. The same percentage said they will try to have their holiday shopping done as early as possible. That means businesses must be ready to deliver, so we’ve put together a rundown of strategies to help you prepare and make the season bright for you and your customers.

 

Extend your sale dates

Carrier capacity will be tighter than ever this season, and holiday shoppers are being warned to prepare for delays and bottlenecks that some are calling “Shipageddon.” In fact, due to these anticipated delays, experts say those who haven’t yet started their holiday shopping are already behind. One way to help your customers receive their orders in time for the holidays is by expanding your Black Friday sales window. Giving customers early holiday deals can be a great way to spread out demand over a more manageable timeframe and alleviate shipping bottlenecks.

 

Prepare inventory for the rush

There are several ways to get your inventory in top shape ahead of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Before the rush starts, verify that you have enough inventory to meet demand. Reviewing historical sales data and which products have been popular can help you predict which items are likely to be top-sellers. Additionally, retailers should dispose of “dead inventory,” or slow-moving stock that takes up space and ties up cash. This will help make room for new items and safety stock to lower your risk of stockouts. Smaller retailers that have limited capacity and don’t want to risk overstocking items should consider having similar products available so customers can purchase comparable items.

 

Assemble bundles in advance

When holiday shopping, consumers are not just looking for discounts but value. One way retailers deliver extra value during the holidays is through product bundles and bonus gifts, which hold greater value than standalone products. Mystery boxes—packages filled with surprise products—are another increasingly popular way to captivate holiday shoppers. These not only create an exciting customer experience, but also help retailers clear out inventory. Ask your fulfillment partner to do kitting and assembly in advance to ensure these items are ready before the holiday rush. If you perform these services in house, store the bundled items near each other so they can be picked and packed more efficiently.

 

Offer free shipping and options

Amazon has had an undeniable impact on consumer expectations. Shoppers want to order products with ease and receive them quickly without paying for shipping. Free shipping makes shoppers feel like they’re getting a deal, and many will even buy more items to hit the free shipping minimum order threshold. While many shoppers will choose free shipping if given the choice, others will be willing to pay more for expedited delivery. Research shows that customers simply want options.

 

Optimize your packaging—and make it special

Your packaging is an extension of your brand and a critical component of the customer experience. Packaging not only provides in-transit protection but also presents an opportunity for cost savings. Evaluate whether you are using the right materials—and the right amount of materials—for maximum efficiency. Optimizing the size and weight of your packaging and eliminating excess materials saves you money while also reducing the environmental impact.

Another important packaging consideration is the experience your customer will have when they open their package. Memorable, unique packaging that gives customers a special (and frustration-free) unboxing experience can improve your brand value and turn customers into brand advocates. A thank-you note, coupon, bonus gift or sample will also surprise your customer and make them feel appreciated. With the number of YouTube channels dedicated to unboxing and the millions of views they garner, it seems likely that having memorable packaging is a trend that’s here to stay.

 

Be prepared for returns

When the rush of returns starts, usually shortly after Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it is critical for businesses to have a strong returns management plan in place to deliver a positive customer experience and build trust and loyalty. An effective returns strategy should be focused on expediency and transparency, which require proper planning, systems and resources.

To process a greater number of returns as efficiently as possible, make sure that you are properly staffed and that you’re taking advantage of automated workflows in your system. It’s also important to be transparent about your return policy and ensure it is communicated clearly so customers know what to expect. And, as always, customers should have full visibility to shipment and tracking information.

 

Take care of your employees

Last but certainly not least, remember to take care of your team. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to provide quality customer service and be more productive. With the high-stress environment of a fulfillment center around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, plus the longer holiday hours, this time of year is at high-risk for employee turnover. Maintain open communication by having conversations with employees to make sure they feel appreciated during this critical time.

Your supply chain planning is tested during peak seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but with proper preparation and a flexible range of options, your supply chain can meet these challenges. Our team of professionals is here with industry-leading supply chain solutions and services to support your business and help you deliver excellence all year long. Contact us today at 877.728.5328 to speak with one of our supply chain experts.

 

 

 

Benefits of a USPS Approved Reseller

In a previous blog post, “Beware of the Dangers of an Unauthorized USPS Rate,” we explain what a USPS Approved Reseller is and why it is critical for shippers to ensure their discounted USPS rates are coming from a company authorized to resell them. In this post, we’re taking a deeper dive into how a USPS Approved Reseller can support your business and improve your bottom line.

 

It Pays to Know Your Rate Provider

Most companies likely know who provides their USPS shipping label, or they have heard of the popular PC Postage providers, but that doesn’t mean they know where their rates are coming from. It can be helpful to know who your USPS rate provider is, as they can introduce you to new software options or USPS products that will save your business money on every USPS shipment. For example, does your company ship more than 150,000 Priority Mail packages per year? If so, an authorized USPS rate provider like Visible Supply Chain Management could help you get approved for a discount on your USPS shipments.

 

Software Options & Shipping Technology

When you partner with an approved USPS Approved Reseller, you have more software options and access to experts who will assist your business in selecting the right software solution. Utilizing a shipping technology with robust automation features not only adds efficiency to your warehouse or shipping department, but it also reduces human errors by ensuring that the right box dimensions, carrier, or service level is selected on each order. This can reduce shipping costs and improve the customer experience by reducing order errors. Because Visible Supply Chain Management can work with nearly any shipping software available, your business isn’t limited.

 

Access Expertise and Savings

When your company partners with an approved USPS reseller like Visible, you can access your USPS rate in any number of shipping platforms, but you also get access to expert insight on the best way to utilize the USPS within your business. This expertise comes from years of experience in USPS pricing and can have a real impact on your bottom line. Just one way to do this is by utilizing Priority Mail Cubic pricing, which is meant for shipments less than .5 cubic feet. Your business may already use Priority Mail today, but if your shipments are small and heavy, you could save up to 30% or more by using Priority Mail Cubic pricing.

 

An Unauthorized Reseller Will Cost You

Shippers who receive discounted postal service rates from unauthorized resellers run the risk of having their rates increased without notice, or even losing USPS service all together. This kind of disruption puts a shipper’s customer service capabilities as well as their reputation on the line. Ecommerce volumes are at an all-time high, and shipping with an authorized rate reseller will help keep you protected and delivering packages all year long.

Get discounts without the risk by partnering with an approved reseller like Visible. Contact us today at 877.728.5328 to find out how Visible can help your business better utilize the USPS and reduce your shipping costs.

 

Ecommerce Shipping Statistics to Keep in Mind Before Peak Shipping Season – Part 2

ecommerce shipping stats 2020

For more than two decades, Visible Supply Chain Management has worked with small businesses and large enterprises across the country to reduce their costs and improve their shipping operations. Our team is committed to ensuring our clients are well-positioned to deliver the best possible experience to their customers throughout the year.

As part of this commitment, we’ve compiled a second set of ecommerce shipping statistics for e-tailers to keep in mind as we approach peak season and prepare for 2021. Click here to view part 1, or read on to learn more.

 

Global parcel volume is forecasted to reach 200 billion by 2025

Global parcel volume was 87 billion in 2018 and surpassed 100 billion in 2019.

 

2,760 packages are shipped per second

When you break down the total number of packages shipped around the world per year, reports show that nearly 3,000 packages are shipped every second. The US has the highest parcel revenue, generating $119 billion last year.

 

63% of respondents expect delivery within 72 hours

Amazon has had a major impact on consumer expectations, especially when it comes to delivery time. In fact, nearly two-thirds (63%) of online shoppers expect their orders to be delivered within 72 hours. Forty percent say taking more than two days for delivery would prevent them from making a purchase. Many businesses now offer same-day delivery, so there is even greater pressure on e-tailers of all sizes to offer this service.

 

51% expect a shipping cost refund if the order is delivered late

Shoppers who pay for shipping expect to get their money’s worth. More than half (51%) expect e-tailers to refund them the cost of shipping in cases of late delivery.

 

84% of respondents made a purchase from an online retailer because it offered free shipping

Free shipping makes consumers feel like they’re getting a deal, even if they have to spend more to get it. According to a BigCommerce research study, 90% of Millennial and 85% of Gen Z survey respondents indicated they have added items to their cart solely to hit a minimum order threshold for free shipping. Half of the survey respondents said they avoid shopping with retailers that do not offer free shipping.

 

One-third of consumers stop shopping with a brand after a poor delivery experience

The post-purchase customer experience can have a major impact on a company’s reputation and brand loyalty. A 2019 shopping study from Pitney Bowes shows that 54% of consumers will shop with a retailer less often (or never again) after a bad delivery experience, and 19% of millennials will complain on social media.

 

25% is the average return rate of ecommerce orders

Ecommerce shipping and returns go hand in hand, which is why sellers need to have both in tip-top shape before seasonal shopping gets underway. Shoppers are looking for a good return policy, automated processes, and free returns.

 

Shipping tips for ecommerce sellers

Now that you have all the latest ecommerce shipping statistics, here are some shipping tips that can help you knock this holiday season out of the park.

Manage delivery expectations. With this year’s surge of ecommerce volumes and carrier capacity constraints, getting orders to consumers may take longer than normal. Be transparent about what customers can realistically expect in terms of delivery. Proactively communicating the possibility of delivery delays is a good way to manage expectations, build trust, and earn customer loyalty.

Use branded packaging. Your packaging is the last chance you get to make an impression before customers try out your products. It’s another important piece of the brand narrative. Particularly interesting packaging can even be turned into unboxing videos on YouTube or other social media channels. Visible provides industry-leading custom packaging options that will help your brand make a lasting impression on every customer.

Right-size your packages. Modern consumers are eco-conscious, so they want to see minimal packaging that can be reused or recycled. Therefore, all shipments should be right-sized, meaning the packaging is only slightly larger than the items being shipped. Just make sure there is room for protective materials to minimize the risk of damage in transit.
Offer multiple shipping options. Some shoppers will choose fast while others choose free, but the majority of them simply want options.

Show real-time carrier rates. Surprise costs and fees are major contributors to cart abandonment, so be transparent with your customers if you do charge for shipping. There are plenty of plug-ins that will show the most up-to-date carrier rates so shoppers can choose the carriers that work best for them.

Implement hassle-free returns. Online shoppers want to know that they can return any items that don’t work out, regardless of the reason. By implementing hassle-free returns, you can streamline your workflow and make your busy holiday season easier. It also gives you more time to focus on your high shipping volumes and boosting sales.

 

Visible Helps Shippers with Shipping Costs, Fulfillment, and More

As your partner, Visible can help you understand how these statistics impact your business and tailor a plan for your unique needs. Visible is the largest USPS Authorized Reseller, and we have many programs to reduce your shipping costs. From scalable order fulfillment to customized packaging, Visible gives shippers an edge over the competition with better shipping on every front. Contact us today at 877.728.5328 to speak with one of our supply chain experts.

 

Visible Supply Chain Management Executive Emma Leonard Named 2020 Women in Supply Chain Award Winner by Supply & Demand Chain Executive

A strong advocate for women in logistics and transportation everywhere, Emma Leonard earns a spot on the annual list of supply chain’s top female professionals

SALT LAKE CITY (September 23, 2020) —Acknowledging her accomplishments, leadership and best-practice example for women leaders in supply chain, Emma Leonard, executive vice president at Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible), has been recognized as a 2020 Women in Supply Chain award winner by Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

The Women in Supply Chain award honors female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network.

“Emma’s efforts have played a major role in Visible’s ability to provide a ‘best in class’ customer experience and has added tremendous value to our clients,” said Casey Adams, president of Visible. “She has exhibited strong leadership abilities by building and managing a cross-functional team of transportation professionals, analysts and managers. This award is well deserved.”

In an industry in which female executives are relatively uncommon, the excellence Emma displays each day is an unassailable argument for the increased need for women leadership in supply chain. She is a shining example for all — mentoring her peers by organizing and facilitating local networking events. In addition, Emma is actively involved in AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management and Education).

Because of women like Emma, 17% of chief supply chain officers are now women — a 6% increase compared to 2019, according to Gartner’s 2020 Women in Supply Chain Survey.

Supply & Demand Chain Executive celebrates its 20th anniversary by introducing the new award designed specifically for women leaders in the supply chain industry.

“We received over 200 entries for the new Women in Supply Chain award, entries that were submitted from a combination of men and women. This proves that our industry needed an award like this,” said Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics. “Congratulations to these top female leaders. I look forward to seeing how they grow the supply chain industry.”

Check out Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s website at www.sdcexec.com for the full list of the 2020 Women in Supply Chain winners. The 2020 Women in Supply Chain award will appear in SDCE’s September issue.

 

About Supply & Demand Chain Executive

Supply & Demand Chain Executive is the executive’s user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, utilizing hard-hitting analysis, viewpoints and unbiased case studies to steer executives and supply management professionals through the complicated, yet critical, world of supply and demand chain enablement to gain competitive advantage. Go to www.SDCExec.com.

 

About Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible)

Since 1992, Visible Supply Chain Management has provided customized solutions for B2B and B2C organizations. With comprehensive services in e-commerce, direct sales, direct response and omnichannel, Visible can design effective strategies for clients that include transportation, logistics, brokerage, fulfillment and even custom packaging solutions.

 

Media Contact:
Shannon Michael, SnappConner PR
801.205.6714
shannon@snappconner.com

 

Shipping and Logistics Industry Leader Visible Supply Chain Management Acquires Shipping Software Company PC Synergy

acquisition

The acquisition bolsters Visible’s technology offering for customers’ continued success

Salt Lake City (Sept. 15, 2020) — Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible), the industry leader in shipping and fulfillment services for small to midsize businesses, announces its acquisition of PC Synergy, the leading point-of-service (POS) software supplier for the retail shipping industry.

PC Synergy (PostalMate), now Visible, joins Visible’s existing and robust technology offering. Visible customers now have access to a comprehensive yet easy to use shipping solution, providing automation solutions for shipping DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS. Included with PostalMate is a full-featured point-of-sale, accounts receivable, package estimating and mailbox management system.

“Visible continuously seeks to broaden our technological capabilities and offerings to bring greater efficiency and visibility to our clients because our mission is to help our customers succeed,” said Casey Adams, president of Visible. “The PC Synergy acquisition adds yet another tool to our digital toolbox and equips our customers with more data for informed analysis and decisions.

Founded in 1988, PC Synergy is the leading supplier of automation to retail mail and parcel centers. The San Marcos, CA-based company was first in the industry to be recognized as “Works with Microsoft Vista” and “Compatible with Windows® 7” by Microsoft.

“We are very excited about the acquisition of PC Synergy by Visible SCM. It is a win/win in all regards,” said Rick Crawford, CEO of PC Synergy. “Both companies bring unique attributes to the other and the combination makes Visible SCM a much stronger company.”

Software Equity Group (SEG), the M&A advisory services for emerging and established software companies, represented PC Synergy exclusively through the acquisition.

This acquisition follows Visible’s 2019 and 2020 acquisitions of logistics providers KCX, Trade Global and TriCon.

Visible won multiple industry and business awards in 2019 including the #919 spot on the Inc. 5000, Utah’s 3rd Fastest Growing Company on the Utah Business Magazine Fast 50 List, the #10 spot on the MountainWest Capital Network 2019 Top Revenue Growth Companies, the regional EY ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in distribution and manufacturing and inclusion as a

national finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. In addition, CEO Jared Starling was a 2019 CEO of the Year honoree by Utah Business magazine.

 

Media Contact:

Shannon Michael
SnappConner PR
801.205.6714
shannon@snappconner.com

 

About Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible)

Since 1992, Visible Supply Chain Management has provided customized solutions for B2B and B2C organizations. With comprehensive services in e-commerce, direct sales, direct response and omnichannel, Visible can design effective strategies for clients that include transportation, logistics, brokerage, fulfillment and even custom packaging solutions.

Ecommerce Shipping Statistics to Keep in Mind Before Peak Shipping Season – Part 1

We only have a few months until consumers start their holiday shopping. The more ambitious shoppers begin the hunt in late summer, and the rest join in by Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the “official” kickoff of holiday shopping. This means shipping volumes will be climbing for the rest of the year, and you’ll need a solid shipping strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

To ensure you’re as prepared as possible, take a look at the latest shipping statistics you need to know for the 2020 holiday season. Here’s a hint: It’s going to be busy.

Read on to learn more.

 

The #1 reason for cart abandonment is high shipping costs

Modern consumers simply do not tolerate high shipping costs anymore. According to Statista research, high shipping costs are the primary reason US consumers over the age of 18 abandon their carts when shopping online. Simply put, online shoppers do not consider shipping to have a tangible value and, therefore, don’t want to pay for it.

 

46% of small to mid-sized businesses increased their profits with free shipping

Shoppers don’t just avoid businesses that charge too much for shipping. They flock to the brands that offer free shipping. In a recent study, 46.5% of small to mid-sized businesses dramatically increased their profits by implementing free shipping just because so many new customers wanted to take advantage of what they see as a great value.

 

24% of shoppers will spend more to unlock free shipping

Free shipping doesn’t have to be a profit eater. You can create a spending minimum that customers must reach before they can “unlock” free shipping. HubSpot research reveals that 24% of shoppers are willing to spend more so they can qualify for free shipping, so you’ll increase your average order value along the way. It’s a win-win.

 

58% would take some sort of action to qualify for free shipping

Spending minimums aren’t the only way you can entice customers seeking free shipping. E-tailers can get creative and ask for email signups, a yearly or monthly fee for access to members-only perks or something similar. Customers are always on the lookout for free shipping, and 58% said they would take some sort of action to qualify for it.

 

Free shipping is consumers’ most important factor when choosing where to shop.

The two most important factors for consumers deciding where to shop have to do with shipping. Free shipping is most important, but the second priority is hassle-free shipping. Third place goes to low-cost or free returns. This shows that customers value the post-purchase experience more than brand names or price tags, so e-tailers should act accordingly.

 

40% of respondents did not make a purchase because of unsatisfactory delivery options

Researchers surveyed 1,888 US online shoppers to discover why they chose to not follow through with purchases, and the results were insightful. Of the respondents, 40% said they abandoned a purchase because it would take too long to arrive or would be delivered after the date they needed it. Another 20% said the delivery date was not precise, so they chose not to order after all.

 

Over three-quarters (77%) of shoppers have shipped items to a store for pickup

Buy online, pick up in store (BOPUS) has grown increasingly popular in recent years, which has impacted shipping by increasing the volume of packages sent to brick-and-mortar stores or other pickup locations. Roughly 77% of ecommerce customers have sent their purchases to a physical store, and 13% of those utilized Amazon lockers to pick up items.

 

Free or discounted shipping influences marketplace shoppers

Ecommerce is advantageous to price-conscious shoppers because when they find a product online, there is probably another seller who lists it for cheaper. In many cases, marketplace sellers can offer the most competitive pricing and can afford fast, free shipping. This is the number one reason why shoppers frequent online marketplaces, but the other top reasons are related to shipping. They can get their orders delivered fast, and shipping is often free or discounted.

 

75% of shoppers have shopped with Amazon

Seeing as Amazon is the largest ecommerce marketplace, it should be expected that three-quarters of consumers have shopped there to access low prices and favorable shipping. Of the shoppers interviewed, 55% of them have made purchases from different marketplaces like eBay, Wayfair and others.

 

Holiday shoppers are most influenced by free shipping (and competitive prices)

Once holiday shopping gets underway, consumers will be on the hunt for two things: competitive prices and free shipping. This slightly differs from the rest of the year because pricing moves up the priority list and takes the place of free shipping. Surveyed consumers said these two factors are the most important when deciding where to do their online holiday shopping.

 

112 million consumers have access to Amazon Prime two-day shipping

One major reason American consumers have grown accustomed to fast and free shipping is because one-third of them are Amazon Prime members. There are now 112 million consumers who have access to Amazon’s free two-day shipping and are used to that level of service. Other retailers have followed suit, so the service is no longer unique to Amazon. Its prevalence has only solidified consumer expectations.

 

79% of shoppers would be more likely to shop online if offered free shipping

Ecommerce is a $4.2 trillion industry, but there are still plenty of consumers who prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. One reason is because in-store shopping doesn’t have shipping fees. According to Walker Sands research, 79% of US shoppers would be more likely to purchase from ecommerce sites if there was free shipping.

 

Same-day shipping is the #1 purchase driver for the under-25 crowd

Speedy shipping is popular across generations, but younger consumers seek it out more than their older counterparts. (This makes sense, as Millennials and Gen Z grew up with the Internet and the instant gratification that comes with it.) It should come as no surprise that same-day shipping is the top purchase driver for US shoppers under age 25.

 

Only 15% of shoppers are satisfied with delivery speeds

When shopping online, there is a wide range of delivery options—large retailers can deliver orders in a matter of hours, while smaller businesses may take a week or longer. These discrepancies result in only 15% of US consumers being satisfied with shipping speeds offered across the board. Compare this stat to their opinion of Amazon: 30% say that Amazon delivery speeds meet their expectations.

 

83% of US shoppers expect updates about their online orders

It’s rare for online shoppers to visit a website, add items to their shopping carts and make a purchase all at once. It takes time to nurture prospects and convince them to become customers because you first have to prove trustworthiness. Even after the purchase, it’s best practice to be transparent with customers and provide them with regular updates about their orders. Per Narvar, 83% of US shoppers expect these updates.

 

More than half (53%) of US shoppers won’t make a purchase if the delivery date is unknown

There is an element of surprise when shopping online because customers don’t actually get to try out the products before buying. However, one surprise shoppers definitely don’t want is when their orders are going to arrive. If they don’t know when their purchases are supposed to arrive, 53% will abandon their carts.

 

80% of American consumers want same-day shipping

This holiday season, try offering same-day shipping to attract more customers—80% of them are looking for this service when they visit your website. Same-day shipping is not the same as same-day delivery, so it gives you a bit of breathing room while still standing out from the e-tailers who ship on their own schedule. Considering that Americans are spending 36% of their shopping budgets online, that is a large chunk of change you can secure by speeding up order fulfillment.

 

Free shipping is the second most popular email offer

Ecommerce email marketing is one of the top strategies for building customer relationships, and in turn, subscribers get access to exclusive promotions and other “members only” offers. Clearance events and sales are the most popular offers consumers want to receive by email with 35% ranking this as their top choice. A close second, however, is free shipping with 20% of shoppers hoping for this offer in their inbox.

 

Visible Helps to Reduce Costs and Improve Shipping Strategies

Visible Supply Chain Management offers a powerful array of shipping programs and services designed to help almost any shipper. Visible is the largest USPS Authorized Reseller and we have many programs to reduce your shipping costs. Our company also offers a national network of fulfillment warehouses, custom packaging, freight brokerage services, and industry-leading software partners. We give shippers an edge over the competition with better shipping on every front and help your business handle peak shipping season. Contact us today at 385-213-3470 to speak with one of our shipping and logistics experts.

Stop by our blog next week for more updates and info in Part 2 of Ecommerce Shipping Statistics to Know Before Peak Season.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta