What’s in store for e-commerce fulfillment in 2023?
To answer that question, let’s first take a look at what happened in 2022. The past year saw changes in laws governing e-commerce operations, including intellectual and industrial property rights in the U.S. and data privacy in the EU. But by far, the biggest factor from 2022 that will carry over into 2023 is the continued growth of e-commerce.
While some experts mistakenly predicted a decline in online shopping after pandemic restrictions eased, e-commerce is still in growth mode and global sales are expected to grow from $5 trillion in 2021 to $8 trillion by 2026.
As online shopping continues to grow in 2023, these three e-commerce fulfillment trends will impact your bottom line, including:
- Online shoppers will expect fast and free shipping.
- The post-purchase experience will be more important than ever.
- E-commerce fulfillment strategies will evolve.
Trend #1: Online shoppers will expect fast and free shipping.
Thanks to the Amazon effect, consumers have been conditioned to expect fast and free shipping. In fact, these are the two most important factors that online shoppers consider when making a purchase online:
- 74% of online shoppers are influenced by the cost of shipping.
- 68% of online shoppers are influenced by delivery times.
- 58% of online shoppers expect free next-day delivery.
But meeting the fast and free shipping expectations of consumers may be challenging in 2023 as e-commerce businesses prepare for the impact of inflation and a looming recession.
Some e-commerce companies will make the lethal error of offering slower, more expensive or less reliable shipping methods to protect their bottom line, particularly if inflation woes get worse.
Don’t be that company.
Any cost savings achieved will be negated by lost revenue. Why? Because nearly half of all shoppers who abandon their carts do so because of shipping-related issues such as high costs, slow delivery times or limited delivery options.
Instead, find ways to offer prompt, dependable and affordable shipping.
For example, if you don’t already offer free shipping, it’s important to know that free shipping doesn’t have to be a blanket offer for all orders. You can set parameters around which shoppers qualify for free shipping. Consider offering:
- Free shipping with reward or loyalty programs.
- Free shipping for first-time customers.
- Free shipping with a minimum purchase requirement.
- Free shipping for small, lightweight items that cost less to ship.
- Limited-time free shipping during holidays or seasonal peaks that correspond to your merchandise (or lulls when you need to attract more customers).
It’s important to note that the shipping experience doesn’t stop once a package leaves the building. Consumers will have extremely high expectations for the post-purchase experience in 2023 as well.
Trend #2: The post-purchase experience will be more important than ever.
Helpful post-purchase communications often result in higher customer retention rates. Helpful is the key word here. Don’t overload new customers with an immediate surge of daily email promotions. They will quickly unsubscribe if they are immediately enrolled in all 12 of your email marketing lists.
Instead, provide helpful and proactive post-purchase communications that show your business cares. This keeps your brand top-of-mind without overloading their inbox, enhances their perception of your business and positively impacts future purchase decisions.
In fact, 85% of customers want proactive communication from brands about their orders.
Delight customers and keep them coming back for more with these helpful post-purchase communications.
- Email the estimated delivery date immediately after checkout.
- Send tracking information as soon as possible, along with shipping updates.
- If there is going to be a delay, communicate the delay as soon as possible and consider including a discount for their next purchase.
Keep in mind that a lot can happen between a first-time customer checking out and making a second visit to your online store.
To keep your brand top-of-mind between visits, leverage the power of personalized direct mail. Personalized direct mail creates a one-on-one connection that humanizes your brand and boasts greater visibility for your business long after a customer completes a purchase online.
The best part? Personalized direct mail is easy. Using customer data housed in your CRM, a modern printing technology called variable data printing allows businesses to personalize the content of each mail piece.
Copy, images, colors and logos can be personalized from one mail piece to the next based on a customer’s location, preferences and purchase history.
Here are some effective examples of personalized direct mail marketing that create a memorable post-purchase experience:
- Thank you letter with the customer’s name, items ordered and a special offer for their next purchase. Wine.com, for example, includes both of these with shipments and as monthly mailings.
- Tutorial cards that provide detailed instructions based on information unique to the individual customer, such as their experience level, body type, age or skin type. This can also help mitigate returns or bad reviews from customers who aren’t using the product correctly.
- Incentives to connect with your business and share their purchase on social media. Use a unique QR code for each customer to track their engagement and reward them accordingly.
- Give advanced notice of upcoming sales you think they'd be interested in based on past purchases. They’ll appreciate the insight, and plan accordingly around promotions.
Trend #3: E-commerce fulfillment strategies will evolve in 2023.
As online retailers search for ways to lower shipping costs and expedite delivery times, e-commerce fulfillment strategies will evolve in 2023. E-commerce businesses will need to embrace fresh solutions that are both fast and agile.
One way online retailers achieved this in 2022 was through the use of multiple fulfillment centers. Rather than housing all inventory in a single warehouse location, the strategic use of multiple fulfillment centers reduces the distance shipments need to travel, resulting in reduced costs and faster delivery times. Additionally, multiple fulfillment center locations give businesses the agility to avoid delays caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as weather.
Texas, for instance, is well poised for shipping to both sides of the country and abroad, and its proximity to Mexico is excellent for nearshoring of manufacturing and assembly.
On the other hand, some experts predict that places like California, where moratoriums on development are prevalent and taxes are high, will become less friendly to e-commerce fulfillment centers.
E-Commerce Fulfillment in 2023 with Jet Mail
It might be difficult for your e-commerce business to capitalize on some or all of the opportunities listed above.
Fortunately, a full-service marketing fulfillment partner like Jet Mail makes it easy to mitigate the challenges of 2023 and capitalize on lucrative new business opportunities.
Our extensive list of fulfillment services for e-commerce businesses includes:
- E-commerce fulfillment.
- Inventory management.
- Pick and pack.
- Kitting and assembly.
- Domestic and international shipping.
- Direct mail marketing.
- Print marketing.
- Marketing collateral fulfillment.
Contact us to learn how our customized solutions for e-commerce fulfillment can help make 2023 the best year yet for your business.