Savvy business owners can get ahead in 2018 by preparing for the year’s most popular shipping trends.
In 2017, consumers spent over $450 billion in online purchases. For businesses that want to remain competitive in the growing e-commerce market, it’s essential to stay on top of industry trends in order to capitalize on this growing volume of web-based sales. From concierge-class customer service to eco-friendly packaging, shipping in 2018 will call for resourcefulness and flexibility if you want to stay ahead.
Comprehensive Customer Service
Since e-commerce retailers don’t speak with consumers face to face, it’s important to go the extra mile to make your customers feel like they’re doing business with real people. Even large operations such as Amazon have taken note of consumer demand for a human touch, implementing text-based customer assistance and non-automated dispute resolution.
For smaller businesses, we recommend responding to customer concerns promptly, conscientiously, and transparently, especially when it comes to delayed or damaged goods. The faster you can resolve customer complaints, the more likely it is that customers will return to your store in the future.
If you hope to avoid complaints and disgruntled phone calls entirely, consider investing in cushioning material to keep your items safe during transit, as well as durable corrugated boxes that will hold up through thick and thin.
While eco-friendly packaging has already become increasingly prevalent, it’ll make a major splash in 2018. Whether your business has already gone green or you’re just beginning to make small changes on your way to becoming a more sustainable operation, investing in eco-friendly packaging is a great way to make a difference to your customers as well as the environment.
Nowadays, a variety of eco-friendly and recycled products are available to suit every shipping need (and budget). From boxes to sealing tape, there are more options for incorporating sustainable packaging into your shipping operations than ever before. You can also reuse boxes, or use recycled newspapers instead of non-biodegradable fills.
In addition to its obvious environmental benefits, eco-friendly packaging can also be a more cost-effective shipping method. By using cheaper recycled goods, cutting down on shipping weight with lighter material, and taking advantage of environmentally-friendly tax incentives, you can stay out of the red while keeping it green. Customers who appreciate your commitment to sustainability may even be more likely to make repeat purchases or recommend your business to a friend!
Carrier Updates and Service Changes
Retailers and customers aren’t the only ones responding to the e-commerce economy’s growing footprint. This year, shipping providers will be changing their service offerings and tweaking pricing in order to stay ahead of the latest trends.
USPS, for example, has levied a 3.9% increase for domestic First Class packages, a 6.2% increase for domestic Priority Mail packages, and a 3.9% increase for domestic Priority Mail Express packages. Similarly, shippers who use FedEx can expect a 4.9% average increase for domestic and international FedEx Express rates and the same increase for Domestic FedEx Ground services.
These price hikes may be minor, but for small- and medium-sized businesses working to scale in the age of Amazon, it’s important to work cost increases into your overall operational budget. You may even want to consider buying boxes and other shipping materials in bulk as you look for new ways to save.