There’s a shift in power and customers are more empowered than ever before. Customers want real-time visibility, frequent updates and fast delivery. With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, consumer buying habits have moved heavily to online channels and click-and-collect. Research shows that in 2020, Australians spent $44.18 billion on online retail channels which accounted for 12.6% of total retail sales and about 44.4% higher than 2019. Companies have invested heavily to make their websites more user-friendly and have expanded their online presence to foster revenue growth, turning social media channels into revenue streams. But the bigger question here is, is that enough?
Well, the answer is no. In a world where retail is so competitive, almost everyone is trying to better their customers’ experience. Typically, retailers look to their website when thinking about customer experience (CX), but that’s not enough.
Retailers must dig deeper and also look to their supply chain to better their customer experience rather than solely trying to increase and improve their online presence.
EDI, or electronic data interchange, helps improve procure-to-pay and supply processes, which is critical to any business. Companies commonly implement EDI to gain better visibility into the supply chain, reduce errors and increase efficiency. With EDI, retailers can get full visibility of what stock can be fulfilled. Questions like ‘can the supplier fulfill my order?’, ‘when will the goods be shipped?’, ‘when can I expect my goods to arrive?’ and ‘what is in each package I am about to receive?’ can be answered in near-real time.
Increase in the number of online shoppers has made it difficult for retailers to meet customer demands in time. And the strain on the delivery network has only added to the pressure. That is why many retailers are now moving away from just physical stores and warehouses to drop-shipping. Drop-shipping is a fulfillment method where retailers ask their suppliers to ship products directly to the customer. EDI is of great help when it comes to drop-shipping. Rather than relying on traditional processes like submitting purchase orders via emails or post, retailers can use EDI to send orders directly to suppliers’ software from their software, reducing the time to get the orders out. It can even be completely automated to send the order onto the supplier as soon as the customer places their order.
Traditional drop-shipping methods – those without EDI – give little or no visibility on the status of the order. With EDI, retailers can receive advanced shipping notices (ASN) or despatch advice from their suppliers when an order is being shipped. ASN or despatch advices often includes tracking numbers and other shipment information, which the retailer can use to update their customer. EDI can reduce order-to-shipment time by up to 40%.
Start using EDI to better customer experience (CX). If you want to learn more about how EDI can help your business grow, request a call back from our EDI experts below.