GFS offers retailers a four-point action plan for international growth
As UK retailers continue to ponder their prospects in a post-Brexit world, GFS offers a practical four-point action plan for delivery which it says can help them mitigate the risk of Brexit and accelerate international e-commerce growth.
Speaking to Post&Parcel this week, Daniel Ennor, Commercial Director at GFS, said that these are exciting yet potentially testing times for SMEs – as they face both the uncertainties of Brexit and also pressure on margins with the march of the marketplaces. Ennor has however tipped managing the risks associated with Brexit as an opportunity for businesses which are ambitious to grow and tap in to booming and emerging marketplaces – but to win, businesses need to act now.
“Fast growing SMEs are able to benefit from the resources & experiences of a delivery partner like GFS that enables them to compete on a global scale,” said Ennor. “We’re working with customers across four key areas of their delivery approach, putting practical steps in place to facilitate international growth, without unnecessary cost and complexity. What’s more, the steps that they are taking to grow their international business will also leave them better prepared for Brexit. But the time to take action is now.”
The GFS four-point action plan comprises:
- Use technology that enables seamless multi-channel dispatch: “It’s no surprise that what we see across the industry is that the fastest growing e-commerce businesses are those that have a clear multi-channel approach. In particular those that have worked out how to take advantage of the biggest global marketplaces to sell more. This is a huge growth opportunity given that retail spend in this area was priced at $1.47 trillion last year with 90% of concentrated on the top five marketplaces, three of which are in China.” Being able to ship and dispatch across multiple channels will add time, cost and complexity to your operations if you are not able to bring all this into one system for labelling and dispatch across multiple marketplaces and multiple carriers. “This is where the technology can become an enabler for efficiency and speed rather than an inhibitor,” explained Ennor.
- Make delivery customer-centric by offering them choice: Don’t presume. Offer the widest choice possible at the point of checkout and let the customer choose the delivery option that best suits them. This alone is not enough, it also needs to be backed with ongoing communication so the customer knows exactly where their parcel is at any time. “From experience, we know that giving the customer a seamless delivery experience from checkout to doorstep can have a dramatic effect on cart abandonment rates and customer retention.”
- Increase efficiency by adopting an enterprise-wide carrier management approach across the business: delivery touches multiple areas across your business – website, finance, IT, warehouse, customer care etc. Having an integrated set of Enterprise Carrier Management (ECM) tools in place across those areas will give greater control and efficiency across delivery operations and carrier management. This means while retailers are trying to grow and scale their business across different channels & continents they can do so with greater ease and efficiency.
- Choose the right delivery partner to exploit global growth. Most retailers are excited by the prospect of reaching out to new markets, but they will need expert help to guide them through the customs issues, the duties the taxes and importantly selecting the right array of delivery options that suit the local market. Countries and regions will also have their own specific delivery challenges which an experienced partner like GFS can identify and deal with. “If you want to do business in the Middle East, for example,” said Ennor, cash on delivery options are an important feature of your delivery options.
By following this strategy, SMEs can sell their products on multiple channels in countries across the world, utilising multiple carriers to offer their customers a wide array of delivery options – and they can do this in a way that is manageable and scalable.