A recent survey of 1,250 U.S. adults found 25% of those claiming to be Amazon Prime subscribers purchased goods via the Prime Now rapid-delivery service in January. The firm declares the figure to represent "extremely impressive early penetration of our estimated 40MM+ US Prime members." 24% of respondents said they purchased goods weekly via Prime Now, and 70% multiple times per month. Prime Now users bought from four categories (Media, Electronics, Groceries, etc.) on average in January, with 33% of respondents in the 18-34 demographic using the service to buy goods from a local grocery store.
Prime Now , launched in Dec. 2014, is now available in 24 U.S. markets. The service provides (via dedicated Prime Now apps) free two-hour delivery to Prime subs for orders involving qualifying items, a 1-hour delivery for a $7.99 fee. Amazon has partnered with local restaurants to enable food delivery via Prime Now, and has hired part-time delivery drivers (echoes of Uber) to help fulfill orders.
Customers today are used to having things when they want them, how they want them. With the consumerization of the supply chain comes the customer expectation that they will receive the package as quickly as possible, if not on the exact same day as the order was placed. While same day shipping is great for maintaining positive customer experience, it does place quite a strain on resources for the shipper and the supply chain manager.
Not only does it mean the shipper has to act much quicker to set the process in motion, it also means needing to ensure that logistically, same-day shipping can even occur. Read on for tips about how to use technology in same-day shipping, to ensure the shipment gets to where it needs to go, safely and effectively.
The reason same-day shipping can place such a strain on all of the resources and parties involved is that in order to occur, the product must be in-stock and available. Further, there must be a transportation method available to deliver it. Drop shipping is extremely beneficial for same-day shipping because it removes warehouse storage and replaces it with a product that comes directly from the supplier.
As soon as the order is placed, the product will be shipped directly from the supplier to the customer. This means that instead of the buyer having to check to make sure it is in stock, from the supplier, the supplier is immediately alerted and therefore able to begin the shipping process. The use of drop-shipping automates the order-to-delivery process across the entire supplier network, and also offers real-time detail ordering abilities to allow orders to process faster, reducing cycle lead times – absolutely essential for same-day shipping.
It also means that out-of-season attire and products do not have to be stored in the warehouse, which can be costly, as the shipper is connected with the supplier and has access to goods on demand. The software that allows for drop-shipping means that information is available fast for real-time visibility into order details and the status of key steps in the fulfillment process are clearly outlined. If there are any red flags with the order, the drop ship platform can flag them immediately, before they impact the shipping time to the customer.
Embrace a wide carrier network
A big challenge to same-day shipping is having the transportation available at the ready to get the good from the supplier to the customer. This can be accomplished by having a robust carrier network. Having options for transportation is especially helpful in the rapidly changing world of omni-channel retail, as users need to be nimble and agile to keep pace with customer expectations.
The carrier network helps to alleviate operational pressures that can be a result of the expectations of the sender combined with the reality of the increased cost of same day shipping. The use of the carrier network helps to buffer these costs, given the choice of carrier to the sender.
Costs that are able to be lowered include the networks ability to ensure carrier compliance, including electronic manifesting for domestic and international origin carriers. Bigger retailers are beginning to embrace these methods, seeing it as an opportunity for more vendors to partner with them and a chance to capture affordable costs.
Embrace end-to-end visibility
Another key to same-day shipping is having the technology in place to enable end-to-end visibility throughout the entirety of the supply chain. This means having a single platform for all supply chain managers to connect to for real time status updates on shipments and transportation. Having complete insight into every aspect of the transportation process means that if needed, shipping can be course-corrected on the spot.
These platforms can be accessed from the desktop or mobile devices, reaching all parties where they are. For example, the supplier of the winter coat can communicate over the platform with both the shipper and the customer in case there are any changes in delivery time or problems with the product. Staying connected ensures a better overall experience.
Embracing these tools will ensure your team is always ready to handle same-day shipping requests as they arrive, maintaining excellent customer experience at the lowest cost possible.
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