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Logistics can help e-tailers boost their business, says UPS

Zafirah Salim | June 17, 2015
With greater focus on the customer experience through improving delivery processes, e-tailers can ‘break through’ the low satisfaction rates of Asian online shoppers, said Rob Houck, Vice President of Marketing at UPS Asia.

Both customers and retailers are placing a bigger emphasis on on-time delivery domestically, but also internationally. What sorts of factors affect the delivery process, and how do UPS seek to overcome these barriers?

Customs regulations and documentation requirements are a crucial part of the process that can impact timely deliveries. With various documentation requirements from different countries, some retailers might find it challenging to comply with various regulations. This is especially true for small- and mid-sized retailers which often do not have the suitable resources or capability to address this area.

At UPS, we process hundreds of thousands of international packages on a daily basis and virtually all are cleared immediately. With brokerage facilities in all of the key world markets, we cover the global trading centres to help retailers do business with consistency, reliability and flexibility.

However, there are times where there will be events outside of UPS's control that can potentially affect shipment delivery. At UPS, we utilise technology to improve operations when we are faced with obstacles such as inclement weather. In order to counter such issues, we have a dedicated team of UPS meteorologists based at our UPS Worldport hub in the U.S., which monitors weather on an international basis around the clock.

The team at Worldport uses the latest technology to monitor and track potentially troublesome weather patterns so that we can act proactively to head off supply chain problems before they occur. Additionally, our systems allow us to track other potential threats, such as traffic accidents, political unrest and roadworks, so that we can reroute our shipments to avoid these problems and provide the fastest possible delivery times.

Logistics is essentially at the core of your business. How exactly is it helping online companies to achieve success? How can UPS support and help e-tailers expand their business footprint regionally and internationally?

There is no doubt that e-commerce presents a wealth of opportunities for businesses to reach customers like never before. However, the field is crowded and operators need to be able to provide a great customer experience, over and above a great product or product range. Logistics - defined as fulfilment, delivery and returns - plays a major role in the customer experience in the pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase phases.

Customers are looking for simple returns, flexibility in delivery location, and a range of shipping options, and improving these factors are vital to narrowing the gap with the experience that customers get from being able to visit a traditional bricks-and-mortar shop. Those businesses that can use logistics to make the customer experience a seamless one may be investing more in the short term, but are more likely to retain customers in the long term and build sustainable operations.


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