International growth – this goal is at the top of the agenda for most online stores. A success factor for international customer acquisition and retention is the adaptation of the delivery experience to regional conditions. The following article explains what store operators should pay attention to when optimizing their shipping.
By Ruth Justen
Cross-border business makes e-commerce a success story worldwide. The Cross-Border Commerce Europe platform forecasts cross-border sales by online merchants in the 16 EU member states in Northern, Western and Southern Europe alone at 163 billion euros for 2020 and 245 billion euros by 2022. Within two years, the annual cross-border sales of online retailers in Northern, Western and Southern Europe alone are expected to increase by 82 billion euros, or 50 percent.
Focus on customer satisfaction
The extent to which individual retailers profit from this boom depends largely on customer satisfaction with the delivery. Because only those who are content, become repeat buyers and can be won on a long-term basis as a customer.
This is underscored by surveys from Metapack, among others. For example, 37 percent of online shoppers surveyed said they would never buy from the same online retailer again after a negative delivery experience. 58 percent of consumers surveyed say they would choose another online retailer if their delivery options better met their needs.
In a country comparison, 28 percent of German, 46 percent of English and 55 percent of French online consumers say that they would prefer one online retailer over another if the latter offered more delivery options.
But when is a customer satisfied? That depends strongly on the local preferences and geographical characteristics of the respective countries – sometimes even regions. Favored delivery types and times as well as the desire for conventional or sustainable delivery can differ as much as preferred payment methods.
The range of products offered by local carriers and international service providers is correspondingly diverse.
Local carriers versus international providers?
Which carrier is the “right” one? A local carrier with localized but precise deliveries or an international shipping service provider with its worldwide offers from one source? Or does it need a mix of different service providers? A different carrier strategy can be the “right” one for every store operator.
When “carrier selection”, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the various carrier providers. International service providers usually have the advantage that customers have only one contact for all matters and can use the carrier’s entire delivery and hub network.
On the other hand, the prices are usually higher than those of local carriers. The latter, in turn, are often cheaper and more flexible, although they can tailor their services to the delivery needs of the region, thus ensuring a better shipping experience for the end customer.
However, online merchants would have to negotiate separately with each individual carrier, especially since new carriers are being established every day in Europe, which can offer the decisive competitive advantage for e-commerce stores, especially for last mile delivery.
With delivery platform to the optimal carrier mix
In order to reduce the effort and thus the costs for store operators, the leading delivery platform Seven Senders has combined the market of local and international mail order providers in one network. Seven Senders knows the national concerns and the appropriate carriers, knows which service provider meets the decisive selection criteria:
- Services and network fit the needs of customers and consumers
- Adherence to promised terms
- High degree of carrier flexibility and availability
- Innovative and alternative delivery solutions
- Seamless communication on shipping status
- Comfortable return option.
This enables Seven Senders to offer online retailers the right carrier mix from a single source for the optimal delivery experience for end customers.
The advantage for shop operators: They not only save a lot of time and effort by leaving the planning of deliveries and coordination with the carriers to Seven Senders. They also benefit from the negotiated conditions of the delivery platform and have a single point of contact for all shipping issues including tracking and data analysis.
International growth thanks to shipping optimization
Online shops that also want to make their mail order business more sustainable will also find suitable carriers through Seven Senders. Whether shipping by bicycle in large cities, by e-cars in the mountains or tailor-made arrangements at the time of delivery – there are many ways to meet customer needs for convenient delivery and sustainability.
In order to successfully ship internationally and benefit from the current e-commerce boom, online merchants should therefore adapt their shipping to their customers’ respective delivery conditions. With an experienced contact person who knows the shipping characteristics of each country and has a carrier network at his disposal, shop operators can offer the optimal carrier mix and thus perfect shipping to any country.