Free holiday shipping numbers increase
Free shipping promotions have built tremendous momentum in just one year according to Stamps.com, a provider of USPS postage online and shipping software to over 400,000 customers. In its second annual survey on e-commerce shipping practices, Stamps.com reports that 68 percent of e-commerce sellers are planning to offer free shipping on more products during the 2011 holiday season, up from 53 percent in last year's holiday season.
Further backing the free shipping surge, 54 percent of survey respondents plan to offer the promotion on more than 50 percent of their holiday catalog -- an 11 percent increase from last year's holiday season. In addition, free shipping has proven to increase profits with 52 percent of respondents reporting that their average revenue per order increases by $8 or more.
“Remaining competitive requires online sellers to be aggressive with free shipping,” said Stamps.com President and CEO Ken McBride. “With Stamps.com, sellers have unparalleled access to the low-cost shipping services of the USPS, allowing them to offer robust free shipping promotions and grow sales.”
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Additional significant findings from survey respondents include:
- 20 percent of e-commerce sellers are able to process and ship orders the same day during the holiday season, displaying a 5 percent decrease from non-holiday periods
- 66 percent said the customer is 100 percent responsible for shipping costs on returns
- 82 percent project that at least some of their holiday revenue will come from international purchases, while 11 percent project international sales to account for more than a third of their holiday sales
The survey was conducted from October 31 to November 4, 2011 and was sent to current Stamps.com customers who operate an e-commerce store.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.