Contactless Delivery for Small Business: Staying competitive in the age of eCommerce

While the bigger operations were able to transition with little effort, others found themselves scrambling to put new regulations; as well as solutions in place.

This change presented an opportunity for many that were compromised to stay afloat. However, having to implement contactless delivery and eCommerce services out of thin air was challenging.  As we adapt to the “new normal” of living in a long-term pandemic, it is clear that implementing contactless delivery will be vital to businesses moving forward.

With the need for contactless delivery on the rise, we’ll be covering some facts and helpful tips. Additionally, we’ll cover how even smaller, “brick and mortar” businesses can use eCommerce fulfillment to their advantage. 

Why Offer Contactless Delivery?

It may be hard to believe, but eCommerce has been a part of our lives for 25 years. Something that started out as being somewhat of a novel idea has now resulted in global sales of nearly 3.5 trillion dollars worldwide. Even before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, eCommerce has become a huge part of how we shop. Some 1.92 billion people bought goods and services online in 2019. Additionally, many buyers now not only rely on online shopping but prefer to do so. Numbers like these show the importance of businesses of every size offering an eCommerce fulfillment solution; at least if they want to stay competitive. Using the internet to showcase your brand and fulfill orders is now a must-have in order to be a legitimate and thriving enterprise. 

Ways to Get Started

That being said, figuring out an eCommerce order fulfillment process can seem a daunting task; especially if you are a small business.  However, starting a contactless eCommerce answer doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job.

One of the easiest ways to begin offering and promoting contactless delivery is to partner with a fulfillment provider. If your website was created with Magento, WordPress, or even Joomla, you can easily add a popular shopping cart to your website. You can do this with either a simple plug-in or eCommerce extension. At Print Bind Ship, we work with all of the major eCommerce fulfillment platforms, including:

  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • SquareSpace

These are just a few of the best online shopping platforms. Nonetheless, they offer fully customizable, scalable solutions for a business of any size. By implementing one of these programs with your website, you can opt in using Print Bind Ship for fulfillment of your online orders. In other words, you can hit the eCommerce ground running, and start attracting new customers; as well as providing your existing base with a much preferred, safer method of shopping.   

Small Business & Contactless Delivery Service: The Challenge

Numbers don’t lie: having a fully functional, contactless ordering and delivery component is a modern must. Back in 2018, 34% of American buyers said they prefer to shop online and have the order shipped to them; in 2020, that number sky-rocketed to 61%. In addition, 41% of potential customers have stated that they will pass on a business if they DO NOT have online ordering and shipping. Doesn’t matter really where you rank on a SERP page or the number of positive testimonials you have. These statistics showcase the need for small businesses to adapt to the prevailing eCommerce trends. There are also many factors to consider when starting out. 

eCommerce User Experience

One of the biggest buzz terms in eCommerce is “user experience;” which is more commonly known as “UX.” 

The concept of “UX” takes into account the flow and ease of your online shopping platform for your potential customer. You’ll want your eCommerce platform to be designed in a concise and pleasing way for shoppers. Straight-forward layouts, great product pictures and descriptions matter; as well as clear pricing, and a well-defined, easily accessed shopping cart. All of these things are part of making sure that your UX is enjoyable; and one that will lead to returning customers.

Today’s online shopper expects to have an experience that feels personalized. Moreover, shoppers expect a site to be aesthetically pleasing and is easy to click through from start to finish.

Additionally, 2021 customers are expecting that you will have a considered policy on contactless delivery; as well as adapted methods that ensure their safety. This is not only smart business for now; it will indicate to potential customers that you are thinking ahead of the curve.

Magento allows you to capitalize on what’s best about your brand. It can also be a major marketing tool, and will help you configure a retargeting effort to reach out to customers who might have abandoned their shopping cart, or provide suggestions for other products they could benefit from; both great ways to draw customers back to your site, and easily incorporated into your website by your developer.

Fulfilling Orders

The final stage of building a successful eCommerce contactless delivery offering is fulfillment. You’ll want to make sure that the final steps of checking out online are clear and simple. In addition, you should provide shipping & handling options, with transparent pricing; and even accurate estimated time frames. Ultimately, you will want to demonstrate your commitment to safety by having a considered contactless delivery policy on your site. 

This is where partnering with an experienced fulfillment expert like Print Bind Ship comes into play. With many people still “house-bound” because of the pandemic, knowing when they can reliably expect to receive delivery of their order is of the utmost importance, as is being able to pay lower S & H costs. When you partner with a qualified fulfillment operation, these become pieces of the eCommerce puzzle about which you will no longer have to worry. 

To offer a truly successful and competitive eCommerce solution, many moving parts and complex factors must be considered. To ensure you’re running at top efficiency, implementing a well-organized inventory system is a must. Knowing what products are popular on your website and which need a makeover helps small businesses maintain an accurate understanding of their successes and failures, aides in supply chain planning, and assists in allocating their marketing and R & D dollars appropriately. This type of data, which is readily available with the analytics provided by an experienced fulfillment operation, is crucial to a small businesses’ profitability.

Warehousing for Contactless Delivery

Another aspect of fulfillment is proper warehousing of your products. Trying to maintain enough space to appropriately manage your product line in-house can be incredibly difficult for small businesses, not to mention creating the need to hire additional staff to manage both the space and process. 

Finally, there’s custom packaging. Once considered a nice “bonus”, custom packaging has become essential in our current eCommerce world. Now that the major shipping services have switched to the volume-based pricing model, having a variety of custom packaging options that fit the product inside perfectly is imperative to helping a small business save money on their shipping and handling costs.

Custom packaging has become the standard for brand-savvy businesses. Using your packaging to showcase your logo is an excellent way to enhance brand recognition, advertising your products during the entire shipping cycle. Working with a top-level fulfillment center like Print Bind Ship gives you the opportunity to create a truly unique unboxing experience, a major trend on today’s social media, and unprecedented publicity for your small business. When combined with a contactless delivery approach, you position yourself for positive customer interaction, one that builds customer loyalty and repeat orders.  

Customer Service

According to a recent study, 41% of online shoppers cite a great customer service experience as being the primary reason why they returned to a site for future orders. 34% mention that a generous and easy return/exchange policy was instrumental in them recommending a site to others.  

One of the greatest challenges to a small business is ensuring their customer service matches their products and packaging. Providing customers with updates on when their order will arrive is a great way to enhance customer loyalty, but finding the bandwidth to do it right can be difficult. eCommerce can also mean a significant amount of returns and exchanges, and making sure you have both a policy and a process that makes these returns easy for patrons is a needed component to completing a top-notch contactless eCommerce solution. 

This is why partnering with a fulfillment guru like Print Bind Ship is the best solution. Adding staff to handle customer communication and manage the return process is an added burden that few small businesses can add to their already heavy workload. An experienced fulfillment provider easily handles these chores for you, and provides regular reporting on return rates and customer service comments, all while you reap the rewards and boosted approval ratings of an expertly run eCommerce system.  

Solutions for Small Business & Contactless Delivery

If recent history is any indication, it’s a safe bet that adding a comprehensive eCommerce profile and contactless delivery protocol will be a major benefit to your small business. The key to finding the right solution for your business is using the right platforms and finding an expert provider to serve as your fulfillment 3PL. Here’s some thoughts on how to make sure that happens.

Partner with a Third Party Logistics Provider

Partnering with a knowledgeable 3PL (third party logistics provider) to handle fulfillment is one of the most important steps you can take on the road to eCommerce success. With a qualified 3PL, you’re essentially getting an extension of your own team; one you don’t have to train! 3PL’s like Print Bind Ship already know all the finer points of running a successful warehousing, printing, shipping and handling,  and the return/exchange process, so there’s no learning gap time, or delays while new staff “get up to speed.” 

A qualified 3PL partner will be able to seamlessly integrate with your website to handle aspects like order processing and inventory management so that your small business can thrive in the crowded online landscape. Furthermore, they can drill down into the data and provide the analysis a small business requires to run lean. 

Finally, 3PL’s are already well-versed in the language and management of custom packaging and contactless delivery, which can give your burgeoning brand the leverage needed to develop the competitive edge.       

Why Small Businesses Choose Print Bind Ship

You ever wonder just how big an Amazon fulfillment warehouse must be? So do we.

While a “kingpin” like Amazon certainly offers great features and benefits, it’s easy to get lost in their complexity. Using FBA as your fulfillment solution may be an easy choice at first. However, it’s not always the best one. Amazon offers no customization, no personal experience, and no information on your customers; three aspects that are the very lifeblood to the small business model. Amazon offers little to create customer loyalty to a brand, and it’s anonymous approach actually serves to compete with a small business, rather than build it. 

From the start, Print Bind Ship has prided itself on being a true partner to small businesses.

Your success is our success. This symbiotic relationship is evident in our commitment to creating a personal, branded experience for your customers. As we navigate this “new normal” together, we will continue to find methods that ensure your small business grows and gets the recognition it deserves. We aim to make sure that we follow protocols that keep you at the forefront of safety and customer care.