This post is sponsored by FedEx Express.
Online sales are booming in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa (AMEA), with the region accounting for 64% of global eCommerce revenues in 2020.
With new opportunities rising in the eCommerce space, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are surely eager to jump on them. However, creating a seamless, frictionless eCommerce experience is a complex undertaking for most SMEs.
With another busy holiday season right around the corner, consumers are ready to spend more online, giving SMEs the opportunity to expand their cross-border business.
But, at the same time, just like 75% of consumers are concerned about stock-outs and shipping delays, SMEs are also faced with the daunting task of reaching potential customers and providing a timely, convenient and seamless service experience while expanding globally.
Nearly 150 million people shopped online for the first time during the pandemic, but one often overlooked aspect is the customer experience doesn’t stop after an online purchase.
Consumers expect shopping to be convenient, effortless and enjoyable from start to end, including how their product will be delivered. Any setback along the customer journey can derail the experience in an instant.
Knowing the unpredictable and the unexpected are often unavoidable, SMEs should keep in mind the following to strengthen their delivery capabilities as the busy holiday season approaches.
Delivery needs to be personalised, convenient, and cost-efficient
No matter the size of your business, seamless shipping and personalised delivery is critical. The reason is simple – consumers today prioritise not just products, but a holistic, end-to-end shopping experience.
About 98% of consumers expect to be able to self-serve when it comes to shipping options, including making delivery appointments and addressing changes. Around one-third of shoppers are more likely to blame the e-tailers for a failed delivery.
For SMEs looking to make their customers happy, the importance of two things cannot be overstated – costs and delivery options.
According to Deloitte, these are two of the most significant drivers of cart abandonment: about 40% of consumers won’t complete the checkout if the delivery costs are too high. Another 10% will abandon their cart if a package cannot be delivered on time or flexible delivery options are not available.
That’s why our new eCommerce solution, FedEx® International Connect Plus (FICP), is game-changing. We’ve long known that people hate choosing between speed and price when they want something shipped.
In response, we’ve come up with a delivery option that provides a sweet spot between competitive speed and attractive prices. With FICP, e-tailers can meet customers’ demand for both price and value-for-money – plus the assurance that shipments will be delivered within one to five business days*.
New delivery solutions available through collaborations
Building a shipping solution from scratch shouldn’t be shouldered by SMEs alone. By leveraging the existing infrastructure and eCommerce expertise of international logistics companies, businesses can save resources and forge greater trust among customers.
This is an area where the Filipino shoe start-up POSH Pocket Shoes found support in the FedEx team. The company found that having FedEx as its official courier on its website was an advantage to attract more international customers.
International logistics companies provide the delivery flexibility customers are increasingly demanding.
An interactive eCommerce delivery solution such as FedEx Delivery Manager®, for example, allows e-tailers the ability to offer their end-customers delivery options based on their preferences, while also handling supplemental customer requests.
It provides their customers with delivery tracking, and options of delivery locations and delivery times, including deferred delivery times to help maximise both security and convenience. This, in turn, boosts customers’ confidence and loyalty.
Additionally, our Compatible and Alliances programmes provide e-tailers with instant access to enhanced and affordable shipping solutions, allowing them to sell effortlessly on eCommerce platforms.
The Compatible programme integrates with a number of platforms, allowing hundreds of thousands of e-merchants across Asia Pacific direct access to FedEx services, using their FedEx account number to manage shipments and grow their eCommerce business across borders.
At the same time, the Alliances programme allows all providers in the eCommerce ecosystem, including online shipping providers, to offer their e-tailer customers direct access to FedEx services at favourable rates.
This kind of support allows SMEs to instantly scale-up their delivery capabilities and capture a share of the region’s booming APAC eCommerce market.
Double-down on your digital experience
The acceleration of technology adoption and digitisation opens new opportunities for SMEs to connect in new – perhaps better – ways with customers. Today’s tech-savvy consumers expect not only a convenient and timely shipment delivery, but also a unique, convenient and technologically advanced shopping experience.
The customer experience across different touch-points influences their decisions to return. Right from the design of the website, the shopping cart checkout process, ease and speed of payment methods to convenient shipping options – all are very important for online shoppers. Expectations for convenience are especially high.
*Terms and conditions apply – visit fedex.com for full details of our services.
SMEs are often lauded – and rightly so – for their ability to scale and adapt quickly. Many are upgrading to meet consumer expectations in this digital-first era by reimagining their physical and digital assets.
At FedEx, we are preparing for the moment, enhancing our robust network to support our customers – both small and large – and the consumers who count on them.
The global eCommerce marketplace is showing no signs of slowing down. Businesses who recognise the opportunities for growth – and adapt quickly to change – will be best-equipped to ride the eCommerce wave this holiday peak season.
The writer is Salil Chari, senior vice-president of marketing and customer experience (AMEA) at FedEx Express.
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