Delivering on customer expectations - right here, right now.
Buying goods and services online - via mobile phones, tablets and laptops – has become common practise for many shoppers and is expected to make up almost a quarter of total global retail sales by 2023.
The transformation from brick and mortar to online multi-channel retailing strategy has been underway for quite some time. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend with lockdowns and other health and safety measures changing consumer habits.
Dubai, for example, has seen an astounding 179 percent year-on-year increase in the number of “DED Trader” licences that are catered towards start-ups as they support the growth of e-commerce in the UAE. This number suggests that start-ups are capitalizing on the increased momentum in online shopping.
Of course, what comes with ordering online and the advent of ‘anytime, anywhere’ shopping is the reality of items needing to be delivered around the world to homes, offices and drop off locations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Compounding this issue are the changing expectations of consumers worldwide. For small businesses to be able to offer the same quality of services as larger ecommerce players, it is clear that they must incorporate digital trade into their sales strategy to successfully reach consumers in the global marketplace. The rise of delivery apps and larger e-commerce players offering real time updates, auto reordering and live tracking, are setting the bar high and consumers increasingly expect to be able to get the products they order within shorter timeframes.
It’s for this reason that delivery has become the great differentiator. For small and medium businesses, e-commerce has opened up the possibility of international trade without the need to have any physical presence outside their home country. Small businesses can suddenly expand outside of their current geographical constraints, crossing borders and reaching markets otherwise out of bounds.
However, to compete in this virtual, global marketplace, they must be able to offer the expedited delivery options that consumers expect. The reality of this marketplace is that if one online retailer can’t deliver it when they want it, there will be another, or many others, that can.
One of the biggest challenges faced by smaller e-retailers is that faster deliveries come with a cost and consumers are not always willing to pay for this expedited service, although at the same time they expect it.
In a survey by SME10x for UPS, just 42% of respondents said their customers would be willing to pay an additional fee for expedited shipping - half (51%) felt they would not.
So, this leaves small businesses with a difficult decision – how can they compete in the ‘right here, right now’ consumer culture in a cost effective way?
Small businesses will need to do two things. Firstly, they will need to think creatively about how they can recoup the costs of last mile delivery which is estimated at a minimum of 28% of the total delivery cost. Non-traditional methods such as offering the premium delivery at zero cost but building in extra cost elsewhere in the buyer’s journey will have to be considered.
Secondly, it will be crucial for small businesses to choose a logistics partner that can meet their needs and provide the reliability, visibility and solutions consumers today expect, including a full range of delivery options, automated updates and real time notifications.
UPS is the e-commerce provider of choice with a unique position to link retailers and consumers through its smart global logistics network that balances speed, choice, control and convenience. In today’s fast-paced global economy, logistics is more than the movement of goods from one place to another; it can provide a competitive advantage from warehouse management to last mile delivery options.
For instance, the Ware2Go e-fulfilment network helps merchants position products closer to end customers for a fast, inexpensive and reliable order-todelivery experience. UPS MyChoice provides greater visibility during the delivery process, wherever and however consumers receive their packages.
Being the official logistics partner of Dubai Expo 2020 is enabling UPS to showcase the wide variety of services that the company can offer to businesses of all different sectors and sizes. The recent addition of a U.S.-to-Dubai direct flight demonstrates its commitment to provide a faster and efficient network to this dynamic part of the world.
Most importantly, UPS is a company that prides itself on going the extra mile, showing up when they say they will and putting a smile of peoples’ faces with each and every delivery, moving the world forward by delivering what matters. And that should count for something, because when it comes to competing in today’s ‘right here, right now’ world, being able to trust your logistics partner is more than half the battle won.
This piece is contributed by Renzo Bravo, UPS Head of Strategy and Marketing for Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa.