The Environmental Impact of Returns: An eCommerce Reality

Over the last couple of years, we've witnessed unprecedented growth in the eCommerce sector.  With such transformation, we've also witnessed the environmental impact of returns, which has grown larger than most of us realize.

Today we will be discussing the environmental impact of returns and how your eCommerce business can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the waste of returned products.

 

The Rise of Returns

In 2019, the eCommerce sector saw $309 billion in returns.  In 2020, $428 billion. With an average return rate of 30% for online purchases and between 8% and 10% for brick and mortar stores, these numbers are only expected to increase as the years continue. 

With an influx of eCommerce returns, it’s now customary for more than 60% of shoppers to check return policies before ever considering a purchase.  Within the fashion industry, return rates are quickly approaching upwards of 50%.

Why are we seeing these numbers and what do they mean for eCommerce companies, the environment, and your customers?

 

The Statistics Behind eCommerce Returns

With so many returns happening in almost every sector of eCommerce, it’s difficult to pinpoint where to start making changes and in what ways.  If you’re a bit overwhelmed, we’re here to make it a little easier for you.

 

Reason Given

Verticals with Highest Return

  • 70% said an item didn’t fit
  • 65% said an item was damaged
  • 49% said the item didn’t match the description
  • 70% electronics
  • 62% home and garden
  • 60% health and beauty

 

78% of all returned items were clothing, with 40% of shoppers admitting they bought multiple items with the intent to return all but one.

Statistics tell part of the story but, let’s dive into the environmental impact of returns what happens to them once they leave the customer.

 

The Reality of eCommerce Returns

With a quarter of all consumers returning between 5% and 15% of all online purchases, we’re looking at around 5 billion pounds of returned product.  Every…single…year. 

So, what happens to eCommerce returns?  Where do they go?  

Well, as great as it would be to assume companies simply re-sell used and unused returned items, that is not the reality.  Less than 48% of all returned items are able to be re-sold at full price. 

For most companies, the process of re-selling returned items is oftentimes more expensive than simply trashing or burning returned products.

 

Early last year, an Amazon warehouse in the UK was said to destroy 130,000 returned items that were in “good condition” every single week.

 

For the fashion industry (which is currently ranking highest in returned items), the re-sell rate is much lower. This is because the fashion industry is infamous for its destruction of returned items. 

Famous brands like H&M and Burberry have openly admitted to burning millions of dollars worth of returned products each year.  Why?  Re-selling clothing especially those associated with “luxury brands”, at a cheaper “used” price, would decrease the overall “value” and “reputation” of said brands.

For example, Louis Vuitton burns every returned item in order to remain “scarce”, “desirable”, and “luxurious”.  If you could pick up a used Louis Vuitton bag for $40 at Goodwill, suddenly waiting for that deal is more enticing than saving up and purchasing directly from the luxury brand itself.

 

 

Given this fact, what happens to the millions of articles of clothing that are returned every year?  The answer is simple - it heads straight for landfills.

What happens at landfills?  We’ll walk you through it.

 

Behind the Scenes of a Landfill

Step 1. Once a customer decides to return an item, there are several ways it ends up at a landfill.  Sometimes, returned items skip all processes and head straight for a landfill.  Other times, items are unnecessarily shipped around the world before ultimately ending up at a landfill.

Step 2.  Returned items, along with millions of tons of everyday trash, are tightly packed under a heavy layer of dirt and lined with a layer of rubber and clay.  Landfills are not meant to decompose trash, but rather to secure it as more and more is added, buried, and lined every day.

Step 3.  Regardless, trash decomposes.  Once the layers of trash begin to decompose, a toxic liquid known as leachate begins to form. A lack of oxygen within the layers of decomposing trash causes bacteria to slowly produce methane gas that rises through the artificial barriers - right into our atmosphere.   

Step 4.  In addition to the enormous amounts of methane being produced and released into our skies, the leachate begins to slowly leak out of the rubber and clay liners.  Some of it is reclaimed, treated, and re-used as irrigation, or sometimes drinking water.  The unclaimed leachate begins to produce ammonia and mercury, dead-zoning nearby ecosystems.

 

The environmental impact of returns

 

The Environmental Impact of Returns

Now that you know how landfills operate, let’s consider their overall impact and how much of a difference that one return is really making.

 

Third Largest Source of Methane Emissions

With agriculture and electricity coming in first and second place for the largest production of human-produced methane, landfills take third place.  What quantifies a third-place position?  Third-place consists of 5 billion pounds of landfill waste and 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions - every year. 

This is the equivalent to the emissions of 3 million cars in one year.

On top of this number, the rate of carbon emissions is expected to increase 30% by 2030.  

That’s 3,900,000 cars.

 

The environmental impact of returns

 

Biodiversity

The average landfill takes up 600 acres.  That’s just shy of an entire mile of decomposing garbage. 

This contributes to the loss of approximately 20 to 300 species per 100 acres. Animals feed on waste, then transfer toxins to subsequent species that feed on them.

The cycle percolates all the way down to invasive plant species and surrounding soil fertility.  

 

Human Health

According to a study done by the International Journal of Epidemiology, for families living within 3.1 miles of a landfill, there was a strong correlation between Hydrogen Sulphide (a colorless, highly poisonous, flammable, and corrosive gas produced by rapidly decaying organic matter) and deaths caused by lung cancer and respiratory problems - especially in children.

 

Families living within one mile of a landfill have a 12% increased risk of congenital malformations in their children.

 

If that isn’t enough, consider drinking leachate (the liquid that leaks out of landfills).  Why?  Some of us already are.  

In 2008, California approved the operation of the Advanced Water Purification Facility.  It produces 70 million gallons of drinking water from sewage, every day. 

This purified wastewater then supplies about 10% of the water demand for California’s 2.3 million residents. 

 

The environmental impact of returns

 

Economic Effects

Because of the rising trend for purchasing multiple items with the intent to return all but one, companies are now over-producing for misleading demand.  This contributes to a 10% loss of global sales and $11.4 billion dollars of possible revenue that’s buried in the dirt every single year.

 

How to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Returns

Our goal is to help eCommerce companies reduce their overall carbon footprint and motivate shoppers to do the same.  Below are a few ways your eCommerce brand can minimize the environmental impact and also that of your customers.

 

Return Policy

Updating and clarifying your return policy is key when it comes to reducing overall returns.  By making return policies prominent, easily accessible, and simple, customers have a higher chance of understanding what they can and cannot do when it comes to returns.  

 

Learn how to create a clear return policy.

 

Eco-friendly Packaging

Sustainable packaging is big and it’s only going to get bigger.  Over half of your customer base is now considering sustainable packaging when choosing a product and whether or not they will shop with a brand.

Greener packaging is a growing favorite amongst consumers, and it’s a simple way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.  Additionally, you can help your customers personally reduce their own carbon footprint by providing reusable packaging or appropriate steps to discard their orders.

If you’d like to learn more about sustainable packaging and how to make the transition for your eCommerce company, check out our guide on sustainable packaging.

 

Ditch Return Labels

Switch to a return portal instead of providing pre-printed return labels.  This not only reduces paper waste but also simplifies customer experience while simultaneously reducing returns. 

 

Once customers decide they want to return an item, using a return portal will help determine if an item is suitable for return and also promotes a longer consideration period for a customer before blindly sending an item back.

 

Exchange over Refund

If customers are able to purchase multiple items and send them all back for a full refund - what’s the point of selling those items in the first place?  Make full or partial refunds harder to come by with stricter return regulations and an emphasis on exchanging.  

Limiting full and partial refunds will deter customers from buying items with the sole intent of returning them, and will promote a more thoughtful and considerate shopping experience for customers.

Additionally, clearly communicating why your company is moving away from returns and refunds may help bring the attention of shoppers to the direct impact their shopping habits are having on the current return crisis. 

 

Upcycle and Recycle

Ensuring that returned products are not being destroyed or disposed of is the main goal here.

Consider repurposing returned items that do not qualify for re-sell or donation.  For returned items that can’t be re-sold at full price but are still in good condition, consider partnering with a recycling program or donation center to ensure products are being repurposed or indefinitely re-sold and used.

A great example of this is Sheets and Giggle’s sheet donation program.  For anyone who donates their used sheets to S&G will receive a 10% off code for their new set of sustainable sheets. 

Donated items are then repurposed and skip landfills altogether. Creating a landfill alternative is a way to stand out to customers as an environmentally conscious company.

 

Re-sell Used Items & Donation

Instead of shipping returned items off to the landfill, incinerator, or selling them to companies to only re-sell them again, just double down and start reselling your own returned, used items.  

Patagonia is a great example of utilizing the thrift world.  Whenever a used item is returned in good condition, it’s re-sold on their own “used store”. 

This allows customers to stay loyal to your brand, reduces the number of items going to landfills, and caters to customers who may not want to pay for brand-new products.  Not to mention, your company will be profiting on what would otherwise be considered total losses.

In addition to re-selling used items, donating returned products that cannot be re-sold for a profit will continue to reduce product waste and allow even unsellable items to be used, enjoyed, and saved from contributing to pollution. 

 

The environmental impact of returns

 

Incentivize Greener Shipping & BOPIS

Today, shoppers want their orders and they want them now.  However, expedited shipping options play a major role in a negative environmental impact.  

Encouraging customers with promotions, codes, and freebies to wait that extra day, pick up items from a physical store, or bundle with more products to save future driving trips, will not only help reduce our overall carbon footprint but will also help customers feel rewarded for participating in cleaner acts. 

 

Anti Fraud Tags

It’s more than normal to buy a dress for a certain occasion and then return it the next day.  Unfortunately, this is a bad habit that is only growing in popularity.

Investing in security or anti-fraud tags, such as the 360 ID Tag, will help your business send products to customers without shoppers returning them once they’ve been used.  Security tags allow customers to try items on and even wear them around town (although the prominent security tag won’t be very attractive).

However, returnability is strongly affected once the tag is broken or tarnished. This will deter customers from making a purchase without the intent of keeping the item - both online and in-store.

 

Avoid Returns Altogether

The best way to create green returns for your business is to avoid returns altogether.  We understand this is easier said than done, but with a big enough effort and a desire to become better, returns can be exceptionally reduced while still providing customers with a satisfying shopping experience.

To learn more about avoiding returns, check out our blog article where we go over exactly that.

 

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Returns with Falcon Fulfillment

Fulfillment is challenging enough without worrying about your impact on the planet.  Follow along with Falcon to learn tips and tricks on successful fulfillment, happy customers, and most importantly - reducing environmental impact.

 

How Has Falcon Reduced Their Own Environmental Impact?

  • Reduced plastic usage by over 80%
  • Right-size shipping containers
  • Carbon-neutral shipping partners
  • Skylights & motion-activated LEDs

 

If that sounds like too much, don’t worry.  When you’re partnered with Falcon Fulfillment, we do the job of satisfying customers, preparing orders, and minimizing your brand’s environmental impact. 

Our clients are important to us and so is the planet.  Contact us today and see how Falcon can make a difference for your company, your customers, and your planet.

 

Get Started


ecommerce return management

eCommerce Return Management: How to Avoid Returns Altogether

Let us be the first to say: HAPPY RETURN SEASON!

Just kidding.  We know it’s not happy and you’re hoping it ends soon.  Thankfully, we’re here to teach you how to improve your overall eCommerce return management so you don’t have to start off your new year with return-season sadness.

What is eCommerce Return Management?

eCommerce return management is the small but ever-so-important area of business that manages the overall return process for your eCommerce company.  Whether you have great or poor return management, utilizing new tools to improve your processes will reduce your carbon footprint, improve the shopping experience for customers and increase overall customer retention and satisfaction.

E-commerce Return Season

With us only days into the new year, return season has inevitably come along with 2022.  Although we see a rough 30% of customers returning items within the first month of the post-holiday season, that number is increasing thanks to the 2020 pandemic.

As we enter return season with a thought-out strategy and incredible patience, it’s important to note that between 5% and 15% of all items customers ordered last year will be returned to stores.  This makes up roughly 10% of all holiday sales made in 2021.

Not to mention, 9%-10% of your overall returns are estimated to be fraudulent.

ecommerce return management

How Covid-19 Impacted Returns

How did the pandemic affect return rates exactly? Well, according to the market research group Mintel, it found that 38% of all UK online shoppers said that the Covid-19 outbreak "had made them more confident in returning online purchases".

This means that consumers are more comfortable buying, trying, and returning products than ever before.

According to research from Digital Commerce 360, retailers saw a 41% increase in 2021 returns compared to the 2020 holiday season.

What does this mean for eCommerce companies moving forward?  Returns aren’t going away, which is why it’s important to come up with a strategy to offer easy, hassle-free, and environmentally-friendly return opportunities to customers.

Let’s learn how.

ecommerce return management

The 3 Ways to Accept Returns

Mail Item(s) Back to Warehouse

Offering customers the option to return items to your warehouse is a no-brainer.  Whether they want to exchange their order, receive store credit, or simply get a refund, it’s up to you to provide easy means of doing so and the quality customer support your buyers need to have a great shopping (and returning!) experience.

As a buyer, sending items back to a warehouse can be a hit or miss.  If the pants your customer ordered are a bit too small, they send them back in hopes they will receive the correct size based on their first item, the second time around.

Providing accurate information about your items helps customers make the correct purchase the first time as well as improves returning experiences

To learn in what ways your eCommerce brand can provide a better shopping and returning experience, check out our 2022 eCommerce breakdown where we go over the secrets you’ll need to succeed.

Return in Store

Did you know that 62% of shoppers are more likely to shop online if they can return their purchase to a physical store?  Unlike returning to a warehouse, local storefronts allow customers to avoid waiting periods and return items in-store.

This cuts out waiting times, shipping carriers, and allows customers with the opportunity to exchange items in person, almost guaranteeing they’re buying an item exactly how they want it.

Allowing customers to return items in-store also motivates in-store shopping experiences.  Although this digital age is fun, entertaining, and sometimes mind-bending, nothing beats that good ole’ fashioned feeling of entering a store, being greeted by staff, and losing yourself amongst physical products.

Don’t underestimate the power your physical store-front can bring your company, even if customers are returning items.

Partner with a 3PL for eCommerce Return Management

Utilizing a middleman not only changes the eCommerce game but also takes the stress out of return management.

Partnering with a 3PL allows your customers to return any and all items back to your partnered 3PL warehouse without any effort on your part.  When working with the right 3PL, they will have teams designated to help customers return items, exchange items, and answer any questions or concerns they might have.

What’s not to love about a fulfillment process that does the heavy lifting for you?

ecommerce return management

Steps to Successful eCommerce Return Management

Improve Return Policy

Improving your return policy is the first step when improving your overall eCommerce return management process.  By following these simple steps, you’ll have an easy-to-follow return policy for your customers in no time.

    • Make your return policy easy to find.

Making your return policy prominent for customers is key.  Using eye-catching colors, moving banners, pop-ups, or large, easy-to-read fonts will help your buyers locate, read, and understand your return policy before making a purchase and blindly returning items.

    • Don’t make it too formal.

Remember, you’re talking to your customers.  Not lawyers, doctors, or big wig business owners (if in the case you do, disregard #2 altogether), but regular customers who want regular verbage.

Explain your return policy in a simple and easy-to-read format with easy-to-understand language.

    • Be upfront about shipping costs and define the expected condition of returns.

Nobody likes surprise fees - make sure you clearly identify return shipping costs (if any) in your return policy.  Additionally, predetermining what conditions your return policy covers - is equally as important.

Outlining what is and isn’t returnable, makes it clear for customers what they can return, when, and in what condition.

    • Use customer feedback.

Don’t create a return policy and cement it into the framework of your website.  Instead, update it regularly with changes provided through customer feedback.

Allowing buyers to let you know what they do and do not like, will give you the chance to become better and offer an even better shopping experience moving forward.

ecommerce return management

Automate Return Management

Switching to an automated system for returns and exchanges could save you time, stress, and money.  Utilizing an automated option will allow your customers to skip the long customer service line and ditch waiting periods altogether.

With automation, buyers can return and exchange at the click of a button with little to no help on your part.

Learn more about how automation is making its mark on eCommerce and in what ways you can utilize it for 2022 in our upcoming eCommerce trends article.

Sustainable Returns

Customers want sustainability - and they want it now.  Not just with their initial purchase, from material to packaging to delivery, but with returns too.

Did you know that around 5 billion pounds of returned goods wind up in landfills annually?  According to MarketWatch, that’s nearly 5 million metric tons of CO2.  Every.  Single.  Year.  So, how do you offer sustainable returns?  Here is a shortlist of things you can do right now.

    • Consolidate orders.

There’s no reason multiple items in one order should be shipped in separate packaging.  Combine orders together to eliminate wasted space and unnecessary packaging materials.

    • Eliminate unnecessary filler and empty space.

Aside from consolidating orders, eliminating unneeded package filler and unused space is a great way to lower your company’s carbon footprint.

    • Reward customers for choosing greener shipping options.

We know customers like their deliveries fast, but, do they like eco-friendly delivery more?  Motivate and reward your customers when they choose longer delivery times or utilize BOPIS options.

“Opting for standard delivery rather than next-day could help decrease carbon dioxide emissions by about 30%.”

According to the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics

If you'd like to learn more about sustainable packaging and how you can start your transition to a greener environmental impact, check out our eco-friendly packaging guide.

ecommerce return management

Protect Against Fraud

You know it, we know it, and your customers know it - the season of fraudulent returns is upon us.  Even if you read this in July, chances are that fraudulent returns are still an issue you’d like to snuff out.  Here is a short list of ways you can protect your company against return fraud this return season and forever after.

    • Modify for the holidays.

A return policy is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. When the holidays come around or even a special sale, it’s important to update your return policy with relevant information and communicate it with your customers.

    • Receipts

It’s fairly simple - don’t accept returns without a valid receipt. Include this in your return policy.

    • Tagging items.

An up-and-coming idea that will inevitably gain more and more traction is the use of return security tags for items.  Using items like a 360 ID tag will make it harder for customers to wear their purchase for an occasion and send it back immediately afterward.

By introducing return tags, buyers can try on their purchases, but once the tag is broken - it can not be returned.  Tagging items will also help verify that the items you receive as a return, is in fact the same item you originally sent out.

    • Restocking fees.

I prime way to deter people from buying that brand new TV for game day and returning it a day later, is to introduce restocking fees for high-cost items.  By utilizing a restocking fee, potential scammers won’t receive any benefit for returning items and instead will lose money.

ecommerce return management

Steps to Avoiding Returns

The best kind of eCommerce return management is when you don’t have any returns to manage.  Avoiding returns will not only create a better customer experience, but will also decrease stress on your customer service team, improve customer ratings and recommendations, and decrease your overall carbon footprint.

Let’s get into some ways you can avoid returns altogether.

Include Clear and Easy to Find Product Information

You’d be surprised with the kind of details customers need in order to be satisfied with their product.  When writing item descriptions, include every detail you possibly can.

How large is it, how much does it weigh, what color is it, how can it range between customers, etc.  Providing as much information as possible will help your customers receive exactly what they expected, eliminating their need for a return.

Use 3D or AR Website Functions

Another up-and-coming trend is the use of 3D or AR website functions.  These elements allow customers to see what an item will look like in their home, on themselves, or what it would look like in person.

This creates yet another safety net by giving your customer a full view of what to expect out of their item, reducing the overall return rate for dissatisfaction.

Provide Accurate Photos and Videos

Nobody likes receiving a product that looks incredibly different online than in-person.

    • Editing your products to look better online will make them look worse in person.
    • Using extra props for product photography will make customers assume their order will include extra items.
    • Using colors and lighting to drastically alter your product will make the product look different in person.

Long story short: capture your product in the exact way your customers will receive it.

Encourage Customer Reviews and Feedback

Reviews and feedback are now one of the leading factors to whether or not a buyer will make the purchase.  Encourage your customers to leave reviews and feedback on items and overall experience to help land more sales and increase the overall reputation of your brand.

Packaging Items with Travel in Mind

The truth is, some 30% of items are returned because they arrived to the customer faulty or damaged.  By eliminating unnecessary space, you improve the chances of items arriving undamaged.

However, packaging items with the understanding that they will be traveling inside trucks, planes, ships, and be at the mercy of package handlers - you must prepare for the worst.

Keeping items packaged tight will decrease the chances of moving around, bumping into each other, or any other opportunity for damage.

ecommerce return management

Returning with Falcon

We know you’re reading this with a bead of sweat running down your forehead.  There’s so much information, return fraud is on the rise, the planet is dying, and now you have to worry about re-writing an exceptional return policy, amidst the thousands of other things you’re already worrying about.

We’ve got just the thing for you.

Partner with Falcon and ditch the stress of returns, fulfillment (and even customer service) altogether - it really is that simple.

Contact us today and get started on your de-stressing.


2022 Ecommerce Trends: 12 Must-Know Trends for a Successful Year

Two years have gone by since the beginning of Covid-19 and the rise of ecommerce shopping. Throughout 2020 and 2021, we witnessed unprecedented ecommerce growth with the rise in online shopping. We've put together an in-depth guide for 2022 ecommerce trends and how your business can prosper in the new year.

Consumer Based 2022 Ecommerce Trends

Voice AI

Voice assistants on personal devices such as smartphones, remotes, and smart speakers have come a long way since their debut back in 2014. 

Today, nearly 90 million adults in the United States have smart speakers or some kind of voice assistant inside their homes. Because AI is continuing to grow in popularity, it makes sense that it will continue to have a big impact on online searching and shopping.

As voice AI continues to evolve, so will the marketing techniques of voice-activated shopping. Eventually, we will see sound-based marketing with a push towards personability and a more conversational buying experience for customers. 

It’s projected that the voice-assistant speaker market will increase 55% and become a $4 billion industry during 2022.

 

red round portable speaker on brown wooden table - 2022 ecommerce trends voice ai

 

How to Prepare:

  1. Optimize your website for voice search. Include information buyers will verbally use to find your brand/products.
  2. Create verbal ad promotions for popular music streaming services, podcasts, or include sound-focused add intervals for social media.
  3. Optimize your site for voice assistance and voice navigation.

 

Personalized Products

As time passes, technology advances. Prior to the pandemic, customers worldwide enjoyed their brick-and-mortar retail experiences and dabbled in internet buying here and there.

Now, in the aftermath of the pandemic, not only has internet shopping experienced extraordinary growth, but personalization has also become a rising expectation for buyers all over the world.

In 2020, as businesses quickly transitioned to an online storefront, customers wanted an alternative for the same personalized experience they had previously gotten in-store. This desire spurred the now growing popularity of customized packaging, personalized products, and a strategy other than the "one-experience-fits-all" digital approach.

“22% of consumers say they are ready to share their data in order to get more personalized products and shopping experiences.”

To give you an example of a personalized shopping experience, let’s talk about Nike.  

Customer loyalty is important to them, but they also understand that customers want to be treated as individuals. Nike's "create your own sneaker" campaign was a response to this demand.

 

black and white nike athletic shoe - 2022 ecommerce trends

 

Customers may now create their own personalized Nike shoes in addition to purchasing their preferred Nike brand. This creates a personal buying experience for the shopper and encourages them to continue shopping with their brand.

Another great example is personalized quizzes. Chances are we’ve all either run into one or fallen victim to one. 

While casually browsing the internet, you'll come across an exciting quiz that will reveal which product best suits your needs.

Example:

  • Which routine is best for you based on your skin type?
  • Develop the perfect care basket based on your personality.
  • Take this quick quiz and see which product is best for your hair!

Shopping is becoming more personalized. The more you can cater to specific customers, the more successful your brand will become.

 

AR (Augmented Reality) Shopping

Customers are increasingly eager to test or sample things before making a purchase. Previously only available in brick-and-mortar establishments, AR now allows buyers to "try" products before making a purchase by letting them experience products digitally.

With the rise of virtual and augmented reality, AR shopping is quickly catching the attention of shoppers everywhere. As AR is being integrated into ecommerce websites, it’s becoming easier than ever before to see, hold, and sometimes even view an item in your home before buying. 

 

person holding black tablet computer - 2022 ecommerce trends AR shopping

 

71% of consumers said they would shop more often from brands with AR”

As VR and AR evolve and become more apparent in online shopping, it’s estimated that 120,000 stores will be utilizing these methods in 2022. Surpassing that, with the evolution of technology, we can assume that for 2022 ecommerce trends, AR shopping experiences could very well become a much more significant way to shop in the future.

Expert Tips: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the research of VR and AR technologies
  • Look into potential VR or AR integrations to know your options
  • Follow AR and VR shopping trends
  • Set aside a budget for future integrations

 

Warehouse Based 2022 Ecommerce Trends

DTC Fulfillment and Omnichannel Selling

As online shopping continues to face unprecedented growth, brick-and-mortar stores and legacy brands alike are shifting towards direct-to-consumer (D2C) fulfillment as a response to the pandemic buying habits of consumers. 

This not only keeps sales and profits up while people avoid physical locations, but it also allows businesses to give personalized products, better purchasing experiences and helps motivate customer loyalty.

With thousands of businesses putting emphasis on their D2C sales, DTC fulfillment is expected to bring in a profit of $151.3 million during 2022 - 15% more than what we’ve seen in 2021.  

 

woman holding black smartphone near silver macbook - 2022 ecommerce trends

 

In addition to DTC, omnichannel fulfillment is equally hitting the ecommerce world by storm. During late 2019 and 2020, brick-and-mortar stores were hit with a quick realization that a digital storefront would determine their success through the pandemic, and forever after. With most stores making a collective switch to an online presence, some argued that this wouldn’t be enough.

As digital purchasing becomes more common, merchants must improve their digital methods of engaging with customers as well as the ways people interact with their ecommerce businesses. This includes utilizing both a digital and in-person storefront, social media, online retail platforms, voice AI, and much more.

“89% of customers won’t purchase an item unless they’ve seen it multiple times.”

By utilizing omnichannel fulfillment, you’re able to connect with your customers on a variety of different platforms, provide various buying experiences, and interact with customers multiple times across different channels throughout a single day.  

It’s safe to say that as we continue to grow and invent new ways of experiencing online shopping, omnichannel fulfillment options will continue to rise in popularity.

 

Hybrid Fulfillment Goes Mainstream

woman in black long sleeve shirt standing in front of clothes

Before 2020 and during, hybrid fulfillment methods such as BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in-store) wasn’t very popular. Now, contactless methods of delivery are on the rise as consumers want faster, easier ways of contactless shopping. 

Hybrid fulfillment is making a comeback. With 60% of consumers stating they will use BOPIS methods more frequently during 2022, the spike in shipping costs is steering customers away from traditional shipping methods.

As prices continue to spike, wait times extend, and customers and businesses alike grow more desperate to receive their goods, it’s clear that offering hybrid fulfillment options will be a critical aspect for the upcoming year of 2022.

 

Embracing Automation

Automation was popular before the pandemic, but the labor shortages that have been caused by inflation have made it more important for stores, warehouses, and fulfillment centers to be run with automation.

By 2026, the automation market is expected to surpass a worth of $30 billion, nearly doubling since 2019. 

 

2022 ecommerce trends automation

“79% of companies say it’s likely they’ll invest in automation within 1-3 years.”

So, if the age of automation is here, what are companies to do with staff and what does this mean for employees around the world?  

Automate the Dull and Dangerous

Robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and physical robots have the ability to automate existing activities that need human involvement. This will mainly revolve around repetitive, dull, and dangerous tasks that would better suit artificial AI. 

Transferring these positions to automation will reduce on-the-job injuries, human error, and make processes more efficient. 

Re-directing employees to more meaningful roles will offer more value-based rewards, allow staff to make genuine contributions, and motivate teamwork and collaboration. As more and more businesses, warehouses, and facilities become automated, the necessity for emotive, personal, and human-interactive professions will expand.

Expert Tip:

Partnering with a fulfillment company will expose you to advanced automation technology and save you from making the wrong purchases.  By utilizing a 3PL, your ecommerce fulfillment process will be continuously fulfilled by up-to-date automation and managed by 3PL experts.

 

Delivery Based 2022 Ecommerce Trends

Premium Shipping Experiences 

Another trend that we see moving into the new year is the rise of branded shipping experiences and more specifically, branded package tracking methods. On estimate, consumers track their package an average of 3.9 times after making their purchase. 

Buyers are frequently redirected to carrier websites, subjecting them to website latency, misinformation, and other issues that might detract from their branded experience.

 

man holding phone with location tracking

 

Throughout 2022 and the years that follow, it’s safe to assume that companies around the world will begin shifting package tracking information to their personal websites. 

To learn how to provide a personalized delivery experience for your customer, check out our blog post where we go over how to create a memorable unboxing experience.

 

Drone Delivery 

As delivery carriers and other means of traditional package transport continue to disrupt ecommerce stores, business owners are looking toward alternative and innovative solutions for shorter waiting times and more dependable delivery methods for customers.

Amazon has been testing the idea of delivering packaging by drones since 2014. Current supply chain issues are putting pressure on drone delivery. 

 

selective focus photography of DJI Phantom 3 Professional quadcopter drone

 

“The delivery drone industry is expected to grow from $0.68 billion in 2020 to $4.40 billion in 2025.”

Walmart began experimenting with drone delivery by providing Covid-19 self-testing kits to the homes of local customers throughout 2020. Customers in some parts of the US may order minor products like medication and infant necessities and have them delivered by drone in as little as thirty minutes.

We can safely predict that drone technology will become a key trend for 2022 as its potential benefits for both retail and ecommerce businesses are explored.

 

Eco-friendly Packaging

 

2022 ecommerce trends sustainable packaging

 

Customer expectations are shifting. Standards rise year after year as businesses around the world begin to offer eco-friendly packaging and sustainable ways to help the environment.

According to the 2020 Global Buying Green Report, 67% of consumers now consider themselves to be environmentally conscious and 59% said they are less likely to purchase a product that comes in hazardous packaging.  

It’s important to keep up with ever-growing standards and shift your packaging materials to fit eco-friendly 2022 ecommerce trends

“Sustainability-marketed products grow 5.6x faster than conventionally marketed products.” - According to The NYU Stern School of Business

To learn more about sustainable packaging and how you can transition, check out our eco-friendly packaging guide.

 

Ecommerce-Based 2022 Trends

Subscription-Based Business Models

It’s no surprise that subscriptions are an ecommerce standard at this point. Consumers want personalized products quickly and easily. They want to be able to "set it and forget it" for consumable products.

That’s why we’ve seen a 90% growth increase in subscription sign-ups since 2019. The subscription-based business model is undoubtedly here to stay.

Subscription packages offer customers the ability to receive their favorite items without having to worry about placing an order every month.  With an automated subscription, personalized products are sent to customers on an ongoing basis, increasing buyer loyalty and reducing the product anxiety of consumers.

77% of consumers chose brands that offered personalized subscription services.”

Today, more than 50% of online shoppers are subscribed to an ecommerce subscription service. This number is likely to grow in the next year as more imaginative ways to offer recurring automatic purchases emerge.

 

Social Commerce

Social media has become a major selling channel as technology advances. Ecommerce companies are realizing that selling to customers on the platforms they use most is the best way to stay ahead of their competitors.  

One of these options includes social commerce: the act of selling to your consumers directly through social media.

social commerce

 

51% of internet users ages 16-24 have used social media to browse and discover global brands.”

Did you know that 73% of businesses are already participating in social commerce and that 79% are expected to be participating within the next 3 years?  Utilizing social media for online buying is crucial while entering this new age of ecommerce and digital shopping. 

By 2025, social commerce is estimated to be a $79.6 billion industry, will your company be included in that figure?

 

Livestream Shopping

 live streaming

 

Livestream shopping, streaming ecommerce, or live selling occurs when a brand broadcasts new products to social media feeds. Buyers can bid on products or order directly from their screens while watching the live event.

Live-stream buying gives your consumers a sense of exclusivity and allows them to experience an item immediately from their smartphone.

Using live-stream shopping allows your company to build excitement for upcoming live video releases and entices your customers to tune in and watch the event. By using fun and captivating show hosts to introduce and review product launches, you can motivate customers to make a quick purchase before the live-steam ends.

 

Conquer 2022 Ecommerce Trends with Falcon Fulfillment

We're headed into 2022 with the mindset that anything can happen and to expect the unexpected. If we've learned anything from the lessons 2020 taught us, it's that things can change in the blink of an eye.

Falcon Fulfillment is ready to provide your brand with stability, security, and success for the times ahead. By using our scalable fulfillment services, you'll be able to keep your ecommerce ahead of the curve and ready to take on anything the world may throw at us next.

What do you say, are you looking for 2022 success?

 


how to create a memorable unboxing experience

How to Create a Memorable Unboxing Experience

The e-commerce industry is only becoming more and more personalized. By using clever unboxing strategies, you're able to provide customers with a long-lasting impression of your ecommerce brand. This post will go over implementing personalized shopping, and how to create a memorable unboxing experience for customers.

What is an Unboxing Experience?

You've probably seen viral videos of someone unwrapping new shoes or unpacking their new winter wardrobe collection. Companies are using these "unboxing videos" for new product launches as a clever marketing tactic.

"54% of shoppers have used social media to view an unboxing picture or video."

It takes more than a branded box and some tissue paper to provide a great unboxing experience. It's the actual impression you provide a customer with when they buy something from your shop.

When you deliver a long-awaited purchase to a customer, the impression you leave should be carefully considered. Some of the most memorable experiences include easy-to-open boxes, personalization, handwritten thank you notes, complimentary samples, and aesthetically pleasing packaging.

Customers will be more likely to buy again if they believe they will get the same level of quality and personalization as they did the first time they made a purchase.

Why is it Important?

A buyer's unboxing experience serves as a vital component of your brand. While it's relatively straightforward to maintain your brand through D2C channels, it gets complicated when you sell through multiple channels and the buyer receives their order in a generic Amazon box.

Your brand will be entirely dismissed when they open an unbranded box, only to find their lonely item smooshed in with package filler. Even if the item is of exceptional quality, the unboxing experience has the potential to devalue the order's perceived worth.

white and green labeled pack

What it Can Do for Your Brand 

Unboxing is the final impression you get to attract customers back as repeat buyers. Customer loyalty is built on excellent products, service, and a memorable unboxing experience.

Here are a few examples of why and how to create a memorable unboxing experience for your ecommerce brand.

Helps Your Brand Tell Its Story

Having a compelling story for your e-commerce business is critical for engaging with consumers and presenting them with a genuine reason why they should select you above other competitors. Your brand's voice, purpose, and values should be a part of a customer's unboxing experience. This will help them become more loyal to your company and more satisfied with their purchases.

For example, a candle company might send its customers a handwritten thank you card along with a few of their popular tea light candles as a sample.

Another example, a children’s toy company might provide brightly-colored packaging, a small discount for their next purchase, and a fun crossword for children to solve on the packaging before it’s recycled.

There are countless ways you can personalize your unboxing experience to not only tell the story of your brand but also express what is most important to your company. Personalization will connect you with your customers and provide them with an experience they will look forward to receiving again and again.

Drives Customer Loyalty

As we said above, the experience your customer has after your product leaves your hands and arrives in theirs is very important when it comes to whether or not they will make another purchase from you. Once the package is delivered to your customer you will have one last opportunity to make a positive impression and earn their continued business.

Apple is a great example of a company that provides a unique unboxing experience that drives consumer loyalty, repeat purchases, and referrals. Their packaging matches their brand's clean, beautiful, and simple design.

"Consumers say they are 40% more likely to recommend a product to a friend if it comes in branded packaging."

Customers all around the globe are filming their unwrapping of a new iPhone or Apple accessories, and guess what? Those videos go viral.

Going Viral

Establishing a distinct branded unboxing experience will no doubt stir up some excitement for online shoppers. Packaging that has character, aesthetic, or provides a unique experience will draw buyers to record their unboxing journey, take photos of their product, and write reviews.

60% of consumers share the content of products with premium packaging. Who doesn't love free advertising?

As people like and share your content millions are potentially exposed to your brand and will be influenced to buy your products. If establishing an audience of online social media gurus isn't something you want to achieve by yourself over the course of time try working with influencers.

woman in gray and black sweater holding white paper

"Youtube videos with the word 'unboxing' included in the title have increased by over 871% since 2010."

Utilizing Influencers

It's possible to reach a larger audience via online influencers who are particularly fond of unpacking videos. This could include anything from fashion and accessories to cosmetics and makeup. There is an influencer for everything and they're waiting for you to find them.

Find someone online with a large following (20K followers or more) and a relatively high audience engagement and you can offer to recruit them, collaborate with them, or simply pay them to review a few of your items. Influencers often give honest reviews (unless paid otherwise) and will provide genuine feedback on their experience.

These details will then be shared with their following and your brand will be in front of thousands of target customers.

Although online influencers are still a relatively new concept, the rise of social commerce and the trend of influencers being integrated into big businesses is only growing with time.

If you haven’t taken advantage of utilizing the celebrities of YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok it’s time to start.

Cheerful young African American female blogger in stylish sweater smiling while setting up camera of smartphone attached to tripod with ring light before recording vlog

How to Create a Memorable Unboxing Experience

1) Represent Your Brand on All Sides

When a customer receives an order, they should know who and where it came from. Branding each side of your box will help it stand out and be remembered by your customers.

After customers open your box and have a memorable experience, they will remember your brand and be more likely to buy again. Providing that last impression increases referral likelihood.

 

brown cardboard boxes on yellow table

"34% of people said the use of branded packaging affects their perception of an e-commerce brand."

 

2) Include Eco-friendly Packaging

74% of consumers within the ages of 18-34 now prefer environmentally friendly packaging and will choose one brand over another because of it.  This means biodegradable or recyclable packaging, minimal filler, and less waste.

People around the world are becoming more environmentally aware and are looking to support companies doing the same. By utilizing eco-friendly packing options, you’ll appeal to green consumers while also doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint.

If you want to get creative, introduce ways your packaging can be reused or repurposed in the everyday lives of your customers. This is a fun way to reduce waste and keep your brand relevant and useful for your buyers.

 

3) Give Something Extra

Did you know that 90% of consumers say that a free gift with their order increases their likelihood of making a repeat purchase?

While meeting the minimum expectations of customers is fine, going the extra mile can benefit your ecommerce company. Gifting customers something they didn't anticipate can improve their entire buying experience with your company.

In addition to exceptional packaging, including free gifts can increase your chances of reviews and sharing their delight with friends over your surprise. Provide things like free samples, pins, stickers, pens, and anything else you can budget for.

 

4) Add a Personalized Touch

Finally, providing a personalized touch completes the buying experience. Personalized products make customers feel acknowledged, special, and not like any ordinary shopper.

Adding things like thank you cards to each order will help customers feel that personal and familiar connection to you and your brand.

 

Personalized Unboxing with Falcon

We understand it might be a bit overwhelming to take on yet another form of marketing for your ecommerce brand.  There are a lot of things that go into making your customer feel special, happy, and satisfied with their overall shopping experience.

That's why it's important for us to guide you through how to create a memorable unboxing experience. It can be fundamental addition of your e-commerce brand.

If this is something you're interested in but are hesitant to pursue, consider speaking to one of our Falcon professionals to see how we can deliver a unique unboxing experience to your customer.  Providing you with one last solid impression for your customer without the extra stress on your shoulders.

Get Started


holiday backorders

Holiday Backorders: How to Keep Your Customers Happy

Today, we'll be discussing ways to keep your holiday backorders customers satisfied throughout the busy season.

This includes addressing what backorders are and how you can keep your backorder customers as happy as possible throughout their buying journey.

 

What is Backordering?

The term "back-ordering" is defined as allowing a customer to purchase an item that is not currently in stock.

Initially, you might wonder: “why offer a product without having it physically available to sell?”.  In a nutshell, customers do not respond well when an item is unavailable or out of stock.

They will often search for your competitors and buy something there instead. Customers usually don't like extended wait times associated with back-ordered items. So, what can you do?

You must consider the advantages and disadvantages that come with each option. It's possible that some of them aren't right for your business. Let’s see how they compare.

 

Pros and Cons of Holiday Backorders

Pros

Higher Customer Retention

Giving customers the chance to backorder an item from your brand gives them a second chance to buy it from you.

For brands that label their items as “out of stock”, that desire to purchase an item does not go away. Instead, determined buyers will look to alternative brands in search of the product your store ran out of.

Putting items on backorder makes it more likely that customers will keep buying from your business, even if they have to wait for a long time.

"Attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one."

Accurate Order Expectations

Additionally, backorder alternatives also provide your company with more accurate order predictions for the next year. How so? Well, by letting buyers purchase items that are not in stock, you can analyze how many orders you can expect to get next year.

This will help you with projecting how much inventory you'll need to avoid backorders and keep selling with regular wait times.

 

Cons

Pressure on Customer Support

Utilizing backorder options doesn’t come without its setbacks.

Despite offering higher customer retention, your customer service team will be met with elevated concerns and overall stress due to backorder-related support tickets.

Why? Although customers voluntarily choose to wait longer in exchange for popular items, some don't expect the long wait, some customers forget, others change their minds, and some simply find what they want in stock at a different store. This results in a higher volume of customer service inquiries.

TIP: When offering a backorder option over-prepare your customers and service team with extra support, clear information, a detailed FAQ, and easily accessible contact information.

 

More Cancelled Orders

Backorder options motivate customers to make purchases through your company, however, it doesn’t guarantee that your buyers won’t lose interest, find something else, or cancel their order for various reasons.

Backorder options provide you with the chance to sell your items before they ever arrive at your inventory facility. In exchange, this comes with extended wait times for your customers.

When customers can't find the item anywhere else, buying it on backorder may seem like a good idea. But when the item is available in other stores or a buyer decides the long wait time isn't worth it, you might get more cancelation and refund requests than expected.

"FCB&Co research indicates that 90% of cancelled orders are due to backorders."

How to Keep Your Backorder Customers Happy

If a holiday backorder option is right for you and your company, let Falcon Fulfillment be your guide through the process of preparing your facility and successfully managing your upcoming backorders.

To keep things simple break down the information that follows into two groups: inventory and customer service. These are the two leading factors that determine the success of back ordering.

 

Inventory

When there is too much inventory, delayed products, and a backlog of orders, inventory management is the most important thing to think about. A flawless backorder procedure begins with your very own inventory facility.

 

Man in Black Jacket and Black Pants Walking on Orange and Blue Metal Frame

 

"An average company processing 1 million orders per year with a 20% backorder rate would experience 200,000 backorders during the year."

Create a Physical Space for Your Holiday Backorders

Designating a physical space for your holiday backorders is the first step to success.

Even if the area is empty throughout your peak season or back order high time, it’s nonnegotiable to have the available space for potential backorders at all times.

Keeping things organized using a designated backorder area will allow staff to quickly access items when they arrive at your inventory and immediately begin shipping out to long-awaiting customers.

TIP: Customers who are on backorder agree to a long wait, but you only have so long before they get impatient or find the same item at a store somewhere else. When inventory finally arrives make sure to get orders out as quickly as possible in order to retain buyers. Ecommerce companies usually use 3PLs because of this. If the order fulfillment process is taking too long, you should look for a better 3PL provider.

 

Prepare and Train Your Team

Make sure your staff is prepared to handle holiday backorders. When you use a backorder strategy for your business, you need to make sure that current or seasonal employees get in-depth training on how to handle backorder fulfillment.

You're going to lose a lot of customers if your employees don't know what they should be doing and when they should be doing it.

Things must be properly tracked, managed, and overseen by a specific team with backorders as their highest priority in order for a backorder option to be successful for your company.

 

Man and Woman Looking at a Document

 

Inventory Reorder Notifications

A sure-fire way to have a successful holiday backorders strategy is by never running out of inventory.

This usually isn’t possible, and with the rise of online shopping, it’s even less likely to hold a full stock.  However, with re-order notifications you have a better chance of keeping things in stock and available to sell, avoiding the need for backorders and extended wait times altogether.

Re-order notifications can be set up between the manufacturer and inventory facility (whether private or with a 3PL). Once inventory reaches a certain amount, your systems will notify your manufacturer and set the delivery date for more products.

This will allow you to keep fulfilling without the setbacks of backorders and help your brand retain the reputation of being fast, reliable, and dependable for your customers.

 

Back in Stock Email Notifications

If holiday backorders are not something you'd like to use or continue using, there is one trick you can use.

One way to avoid backorders is to let items go "out of stock" on your website. A common way to let customers know when an item is back in stock is to give them the option to send them an email notification when it is available again.

Customers who get an email telling them that an item is back in stock are more likely to buy than people who just browse your site.

Not only does this capture their email but it gives you the chance to send discounts and recommendations based on their notification preferences.

 

 

Customer Service For Holiday Backorders

Most ecommerce brands know all too well that backorders mean more customer service tickets.

This is because once you begin offering backorder options you also open the door to additional wait times, complications, and customer concerns. Some tend to ask: “is it worth it?”

Depending on your potential profit for offering backorders on items or exclusive product launches, yes, it can be worth it. In addition to preparing your physical inventory, you must also prepare your customer service line.

 

Communication

When it comes to keeping your backorder customers satisfied during peak season, communication (and a lot of it) is essential.

Providing precise updates, clear information, and regular contact is one of the easiest ways to keep your customers happy (even if the wait time is greater than normal).

Your buyer will feel cared for and far more committed to their backorder purchase if you keep them in the loop and reassure them along the way. Like BMW's old "watch your custom car be born" campaign.

TIP: Sending customers emails, text messages, videos, or even short letters will help keep them informed and committed to their buying journey with your brand.

 

Keep Staff Up to Date on Inventory

In the event that a client calls in to inquire about the status of an item on backorder, it's usually better if your staff members are aware that the item has been delayed for an additional two days owing to manufacturing difficulties.

If you do not communicate new and updated information to your employees on a regular basis, you run the danger of supplying customers with incorrect information and losing them as a buyer.

Inventory is constantly fluctuating, make certain that your customer service team is kept up to speed on any new inventory information on a continuous basis.

 

Create a Backup Plan

It's essential to have a backup plan in case of extended wait times, worried consumers, or cancellations.

If you want to remedy long wait times or simply keep your backorder customers happy, surprise them with personalized notes, samples, or even a free product. This will keep them patient and satisfied with your brand.

Offering personable items allows your customer to feel cared for and shows that they are not forgotten about.  This will increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and even motivate customers to make more purchases.

 

Be Nice and Have Patience

Every holiday season e-commerce businesses deal with a rise in frustrated customers and increased complaint tickets.

Adding holiday backorder options for buyers only aggravates this number and creates a bigger need for staff with de-escalation training. Because of this retaining a calm and welcoming demeanor will do more for your customer service team than you’d expect.

Most customers calling to resolve their problems are often upset. The majority of the time buyers need someone to genuinely listen to their concerns and guide them through the process of a solution.

Prepare your staff with appropriate training in order to handle potentially difficult customers.

 

Two Women With Headsets Working As Call Center Agents

"68% of customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service representative."

Find the Solution or Rectify the Problem

Keep in mind that finding a solution is just as important as being patient and kind to customers.

Although most people want someone to listen to their concerns, buyers are ultimately looking for their concerns to be rectified as soon as possible.

This means that your customer service team should be trained not only to be empathetic but also to find a solution that customers will be happy with.

 

Utilize Falcon Fulfillment

At the end of the day, offering holiday backorders options to your customer can be tricky. That’s why we’ve outlined everything we know to provide you with the necessary information you need to reach backorder success.

Call and talk with one of our agents today and never worry about holiday backorders and order fulfillment again.

 

3pl guide graphic


Before and After: How the Pandemic Changed the Wellness Industry

Following the beginning of Covid-19 the wellness industry has transformed in ways that it may never return to.

We’ll be going over various trends, topics, and insights to help provide you with an idea of where the wellness industry is headed and what steps you can take to prepare your business.

 

The Concept of Wellness

The idea of wellness has always been popular. Humans have been producing and utilizing products for their health, wellbeing, and beauty for millennia.

This growing trend will only rise in popularity as science evolves and people become more interested in prioritizing their health and wellbeing.

According to the 2020 Mckinsey Future of Wellness Survey, consumers in every country spend the most on products dedicated to health, wellness, and beauty. Specifically, the personal care, beauty, and anti-aging sector are what make up the largest part of the wellness industry.

With these statistics, it’s understandable that:

"The wellness industry made up 39.99% of the entire global market in 2017."

In the last four years, that number has only risen. Additionally, the idea of putting health and well-being first is becoming more popular all over the world. This is great news for the health and wellness industry.

Even though things are changing in a way that is good for businesses, there are also changes that can make or break your business.

How has the pandemic changed the wellness industry, and what you can do to change with it?

 

A Shift in Interest

During the pandemic in 2020, it didn't take long for people to realize how fragile their health is and what it takes to damage it.  We saw a sharp spike in consumers panic buying things like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, vitamins, and more because they thought they were going to get sick or product would run out.

People around the world started to think about how important it was for them and their families to be healthy. This motivated them to want to put their health first. In fact, more than ⅓ of consumers stated that their views on health and wellness have significantly changed over the last year and they were more concerned for their health, their family, and even the health of their pets.

"80% of Americans intend to regularly practice self-care because of Covid-19".

Now that the waves of the pandemic are slowly calming, it’s clear to see how the pandemic has changed the wellness industry.

 

At Home Wellness

As quarantine swept the world, people stayed inside their houses at all costs. Jobs transitioned to remote positions, online shopping grew, and our smartphones were the only thing that kept us connected to each other and the outside world.

In the beginning, at-home activities became more popular as time frames extended and people grew restless. Many people started making their own food and learning new skills. They also started reading books and paying more attention to their health.

As public buildings became increasingly inaccessible, people turned to cellphones, which ultimately digitized our everyday activities. This meant that individuals all across the world could accomplish practically everything they used to do all from home.

This included contactless grocery delivery, home-cooked meals, college lectures from your computer screen, and even a digital personal trainer right in your living room.

"Telehealth soared 11% in 2019 to 46% in 2020".

The limits of what you could achieve with your smartphone were quickly becoming endless. As Covid-19 continued on a rampant path, people grew more passionate about remaining inside, while still prioritizing their health.

This introduced the popularity of pill and supplement delivery services, online gym memberships, zoom-hosted health appointments, and much more.

With this rise in the use of telehealth, it’s clear that this trend is here to stay. In fact, it’s estimated that up to $250 billion dollars of the current U.S healthcare spending could be shifted to telemedicine.

 

What can you do?

      • Consider what ways you're able to offer a digital experience to your customers.
      • Focus on which aspect of your business can be digitally accentuated the most.
      • Offer classes covering subjects your brand can teach your buyers about.
      • Start a blog covering the focus of your brand.

 

Personalization

As telehealth grows, so does the expectation of personalization from consumers. With the rise of digital platforms adhering to all of our wants and needs, buyers are slowly coming to the conclusion that one size does not fit all.

There is a new trend of personalizing things so that everyone can get what they want, need, and like.

Now, buyers want their purchases tailored more towards them. They no longer want generic hair care for the masses. Consumers want hair care crafted specifically for the hair type and goals. The same goes for all wellness products and purchasing experiences.

As our digital world continues to grow, it’s safe to expect a high rate of individual personalization through telehealth and wellness products.

 

What can you do?

      • Allow customers to personalize their online experiences.
      • Include easy to find website preferences that customers can choose from (dark mode, bigger text, text to speech options, etc.)
      • Create a poll to learn what your customers are looking for in terms of customization.
      • Add the ability to create an account with saved preferences.

 

Digital Storefronts

People and businesses knew that as more and more things became digital in 2020, going digital might be the only way to move forward.

With the pandemic slowing the success of physical storefronts, business owners everywhere began thinking of ways they could offer a contactless and completely digital buying experience.  Eventually, as demands from consumers rose,

"20-30% of all businesses transitioned their main presence to an online storefront".

This initial switch wasn’t expected to happen for another few years during the growth of e-commerce, and even so, the change was expected to be gradual.

 

What can you do?

      • Transition your store to a digital platform A.S.A.P
      • Hire a web designer to make the process faster and easier
      • Research your competitors and see what they are doing online.

 

Increased Delivery Expectations

Once the trend of online shopping reached the corners of the world, new expectations came along with it.  In a rush to be the first to make an impact in the e-commerce industry, companies everywhere began offering different promotions, guarantees, and promises.

Advertisements like “Covid-19 Safe”, “Contactless 2-Day Delivery”, and even “24-hour delivery” flooded the internet and email inboxes. As people began to transition, they enjoyed the aspect of what shopping was quickly turning into.

Not only was it safer in times of a global health crisis but it was more convenient than traditional shopping. Consumers quickly took a liking to the new and easy ways to order products, groceries, items, and almost anything else.  Eventually, demand grew a little too much.

Many companies struggled to keep up as businesses flocked to supply their customers with the many products they bought at the click of a button. This was due to many reasons, some including lack of staff to complete the abundance of orders and lack of products due to international shipping delays.

Now, businesses everywhere are playing catch up, trying to stay at pace with consumer delivery demands.

As the holiday season grows near, it’s important to backstock your inventory, prepare for a higher spike in orders, and find the staff needed to comfortably fulfill orders.

 

What can you do?

      • Prepare your inventory with extra shipping supplies.
      • Make sure your items, as well as back-stocked items, are stored inside your facility or have safely arrived at your 3PL's warehouses.
      • Pre-assemble custom packaging to save time and avoid delay.
      • Hire extra workers to help fulfill orders and support your main staff.

 

Sustainability

E-commerce is going to have a lot more changes in the near future. First, there will be more shipping demands, more digital shopping experiences, and more personalization. Second, increased consumerism is making the demand for greener practices all the more important.

Buyers are now growing more passionate about greener shopping.  This includes cleaner, safer, and more environmentally friendly products and packaging.

"41% of consumers said they would choose a healthier option vs a more effective one".

Additionally, buyers now look for minimal packaging materials, reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable packaging included in their orders, and are even transitioning to companies with greener practices and healthier mission statements.

> Click here to learn more about the rise of eco-friendly packaging and how to transition to a greener fulfillment process.

 

What can you do?

      • Begin transitioning to eco-friendly packaging.
      • Research what your competitors are doing.
      • Determine what materials would best suit your brand and impact your customers most.

 

Guided by Falcon

After an overview of how the pandemic has changed the wellness industry, it’s safe to say that these changes are here to stay.  As time continues, new trends will emerge and current ones will develop significantly.

That’s why it’s important to remain updated on the news of not just the wellness industry, but on e-commerce as a whole.

At Falcon Fulfillment, we’re looking out for business around the world. The ones that may not know how to battle some of these new challenges.

The ones who need a little extra insight on what’s happening in the industry, and the ones who are looking to perfect their game. We are the official guide to any and all e-commerce brands looking to extend their reach and grow their success.

We hope you found this article useful and it helps you steer your business successfully through an everchanging sea of e-commerce uncertainty.

 

3pl guide graphic


holiday shipping options

Holiday Shipping: Which Option is Best for E-commerce?

Quarter 4 is here and peak season is already at the doors of e-commerce businesses everywhere. With delivery delays being the largest concern for 38% of consumers, learning which holiday shipping option is best for you will help prepare your company for a successful quarter 4.

Today, we will be discussing holiday shipping and what options there are for your business. We'll guide you through the world of shipping, from carrier information to local insight, as you prepare your company for a proactive and successful quarter 4.

 

Free Shipping

While free shipping is the best eye candy for customers, it’s no walk-in-the-park for e-commerce businesses. In order to offer free shipping, the delivery price must be paid by someone, somewhere.

Although your customer will enjoy their purchase with free shipping, unfortunately, your carrier will not deliver your packages for free or in exchange for holiday spirit. (It would be a lot cooler if they did).

So, who pays the shipping fees and why is this such a popular option amongst e-commerce businesses?

"84% of shoppers have made a purchase because shipping was free."

We could give you a long, complicated explanation of why a free shipping option is popular and how it's so successful, but, let's keep things clear and simple. Are you ready for this?

Free shipping expenses are paid for by the customer.

We know this might come as a shock but be assured that what you just read is true. To answer your next question, let's talk about how they do it.

Free shipping is in fact, not free. In order to achieve it, customers are met with intriguing promotions to persuade them into spending more in order to receive the reward of free shipping.

In reality, e-commerce businesses are simply increasing product prices or promoting higher-order totals in exchange for free shipping - which is already hidden in the cost of an item or the total amount of an order.

"86% of consumers abandon their carts due to the cost of shipping."

In terms of holiday shipping, a free shipping option is a great strategy that isn't going away anytime soon. If this option would be beneficial for your business or you'd like to learn more about the process of offering free shipping, check out our recent blog article going over 10 ways your company can offer free shipping and how to do it.

Pros and Cons of Free Shipping

Pros

    • A free shipping option reduces shopping cart abandonment.
    • Free shipping policies retain current customers and promote new ones.
    • Free shipping promotions increase sales.

Cons

    • A more expensive product.
    • If shipping rates increase, either the price of your item does too or your company absorbs the inflated costs.
    • Switching to budget shipping options could result in a bad delivery experience for your customers.

 

Flat Rate Shipping

If you're torn between increasing the price of your products or absorbing the costs, there is an alternative for you.

Using a flat rate shipping option, you can choose a precise shipping fee that covers the bulk of your shipping expenses. This will allow customers to pay a base cost for their order and oftentimes, saves your company from spending too much on shipping.

However, if a customer purchases a heavier item and opts for a flat rate shipping option, your company will have to absorb the extra expenses.

How Does Flat Rate Shipping Work?

  1. Purchase a USPS flat rate box.
  2. Pack your items and address the box.
  3. Drop off your package at a USPS office to ship.
  4. Or use a 3PL to handle all of this. ;)

man in green t-shirt and blue denim jeans holding brown cardboard box

Pros and Cons of Flat Rate Shipping

Pros

    • Predictable shipping costs.
    • Avoid surcharges.
    • Included shipping insurance.

Cons

    • You lose the ability to use branded packaging.
    • If products are heavier than the flat rate limit, you will absorb the extra expenses.
    • For local customers, flat rate shipping might cost you more money than what you save.

Is Flat Rate Shipping Right for You?

A flat rate strategy is a great holiday shipping option for e-commerce businesses with small yet heavy (anything up to 70 pounds) inventory; such as books, monthly subscriptions, etc.

Anonymous man preparing notebooks for sending by post

Exact Cost Shipping

Also known as real-time carrier shipping, exact cost shipping is a process where shipping charges are automatically added at checkout. The shipping total will reflect the weight, dimension, and the customer's shipping destination to provide an accurate shipping rate.

This is a simple and transparent holiday shipping option; however, when offered, cart abandonment rates may increase.

How Does Exact Cost Shipping Work?

  1. A customer makes a purchase.
  2. Accurate shipping rates are added to the subtotal to reflect the package, weight, and destination.
  3. Customer pays for order and shipping fees.

Pros and Cons of Exact Cost Shipping

Pros

    • Calculate shipping costs automatically.
    • Charge customers an exact amount.
    • Drive more international sales.

Cons

    • Increased cart abandonment.
    • Cannot be used for promotional purposes.

Is Exact Cost Shipping Right for You?

We suggest carrier-calculated shipping to e-commerce brands that do not have the capacity to include shipping costs into their products. It's ultimately cheaper to use real-time carrier shipping since it prevents you from losing money not just on delivery but also on merchandise.

"More than 41% of consumers are willing to pay extra for same-day delivery. 24% of shoppers said they would pay even more to receive their packages within a 1-2 hour window."

 

Same-day, 2-day & Expedited Shipping:

Even while most customers are willing to wait for longer delivery times in exchange for free shipping, order discounts, or even lower environmental impacts, around the holidays attitudes begin to shift. Suddenly, what could have waited before is now a rush to get their holiday gifts in time for Christmas.

When peak season arrives and consumers rush to make last-minute orders, same-day, 2-day, and expedited shipping are often the only options for customers to choose from for their products to arrive on time.

How Does Expedited Shipping Work?

  1. A customer makes a purchase and pays for expedited shipping at checkout.
  2. The order is packaged and sent out faster than normal.
  3. The customer receives their package within 1-4 days on average.

 

A Man Delivering Packages

Pros and Cons of Expedited Shipping

Pros

    • Fast delivery.
    • Fewer risk of damaged items.
    • Increased customer satisfaction.

Cons

    • It can be expensive.
    • It takes a company more time to fulfill separate expedited orders instead of fulfilling bulk packages with regular shipping methods.
    • Customers cannot edit their orders after a limited time frame.

Is Expedited Shipping Right for You?

Regardless of what kind of e-commerce you are, there will always be a customer than needs their order last minute. Offering expedited options are a great way to satisfy your more impatient customers and keep them loyal to your brand.

 

BOPIS:

Finally, let's talk about BOPIS: buy online, pick up in-store. In addition to buyers receiving their products faster, local customers can pick up their orders the next or the same day of their transaction if they live close to a distribution center.

This feature is a must-have if you do local business and allow customers to pick up their orders in person. Making your local consumers' purchasing experience easier by offering pick-up alternatives increases their likelihood of making repeat purchases and recommending your brand.

"67% of shoppers in the US have used BOPIS in the past six months."

How Does BOPIS Work?

  1. A customer makes a purchase & inputs their shipping address.
  2. You let them know they are eligible for free in-store pickup.
  3. Customer picks up their order in-store free of charge.

Pros and Cons of BOPIS

Pros

    • No shipping fees.
    • Immediate gratification.
    • Increased customer satisfaction.

Cons

    • Must have a retail location for pick up.
    • More time-consuming for customers.
    • Reduces privacy and comfort.

"90% of retailers plan to implement BOPIS by 2021."

Is BOPIS Right for You?

Buy online shop in-store is a great option for stores looking to appease their local customers. If your brand offers items consistently that buyers would make the commute for then give them the option too!

 

2021 Holiday Shipping

In the end, choosing your holiday shipping option is important. Finding the best one that fits your brand and what you’re looking for is important, and that’s what we want to help you do. You might even offer different shipping options around the holidays than the rest of the year.

We commit to providing in-depth and valuable information to our readers. If you found this holiday shipping article helpful, we recommend you check out our in-depth 2021 Holiday E-commerce Guide.

Not only do we touch more on holiday shipping, but we also dive deep into various e-commerce topics and concerns, provide over 40 peak season tips and tricks, and provide you the appropriate tools to make your e-commerce business not only nail this year's holiday shipping, but your entire 2021 peak season.

 

Holiday Shipping with Falcon

We all know that shipping can be a hassle, especially during the holiday season. When partnered with Falcon Fulfillment, we take the hassle out of your hands and work our shipping magic with your e-commerce business to provide exquisite packaging, on time orders, and most importantly, satisfied customers.  Make the switch today.

 

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Dropshipping Vs 3PL: Which is the Best Option?

The fulfillment world has many options. E-commerce owners everywhere are asking themselves the same question: "what order fulfillment would work best for me?" We're here to guide you through the pros and cons of dropshipping vs 3PL partners.

Dropshipping and third-party logistic (3PL) providers may seem to provide similar services, but they are fundamentally different. Learn how the differences between these two fulfillment services and decide which option would benefit your business the most.

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a method of fulfillment commonly used by small companies and startups because of its low capital needs upfront. The low-cost start is enticing to new businesses because they are not responsible for stock or inventory and can be charged on a per-product basis. 

Dropshipping allows a seller to purchase the product directly from a third-party supplier (typically wholesaler or manufacturer) and have it made and shipped directly to the customer.

Throughout the process, the seller does not have to physically handle any items, nor do they have to worry about fulfillment, inventory, shipping, or other similar issues.

It is commonly used by startup businesses due to its minimal risk, but it is often moved away from after a company scales due to reduced profit margins and lack of control.

 

"Around 27% of online retailers have adopted dropshipping."

Dropshipping Graphic

What is a 3PL?

The terms fulfillment services and third-party logistics (3PL) are commonly used interchangeably.  Larger businesses that sell higher quantities of products typically utilize a 3PL.

These partners essentially manage the entire fulfillment process of their partnered brand. They receive items from manufacturers, store inventory, pick and package orders, kit bundled products, manage customer service, and have essential customization options. 

Some of the major reasons why businesses pick a 3PL are higher profit margins and better flexibility and control.

 

"90% of Fortune 500 companies use a 3PL."   


 

Dropshipping vs 3PL: The Differences

 

Customer Service 

Dropshipping

Dropshipping allows you to buy the products that your consumers have ordered from you in real-time. This eliminates your need to keep inventory on hand and makes it easy to fulfill orders.

However, you are paying another organization to supply the product, fulfill the order, and deliver it to your customer. Customer support is something that dropshippers do not provide and is left up to the individual business.

This means that whatever questions, comments, or concerns your customers have, will fall on your shoulders.  Whether it’s about a return policy or an error you didn’t cause, it’s up to you to figure out.

Third-Party Logistics

Order fulfillment is a seamless process when working with a third-party logistics provider. Instead of providing you with an item, boxing it up, and sending it out to your client, these components are slightly altered.

A third-party logistics provider (or 3PL) is often not engaged in manufacturing an item or product. It's the seller's obligation to take care of this.

After providing the necessary inventory to a 3PL partner, the 3PL will then take care of the fulfillment process. The whole fulfillment process will require no help on your part aside from providing packaging preferences. They store and ship items to your customer in addition to taking care of many return and customer support requirements.  

When you connect with a 3PL, you form a partnership with someone who will oversee and manage your entire fulfillment process from beginning to end. All that is left for you to do is what you do best: create amazing products and translate your passion for them through stellar marketing.

 

"86% of shippers said the use of 3PL's has contributed to improved customer service."

 

Upfront Payment 

Dropshipping

Again, getting started with dropshipping does not require a large investment. Costs are minimal in the beginning to make an account, list your products, and start selling. 

This is because money is only exchanged 1). when a customer orders from you 2). when you purchase the ordered items from your dropshipping provider. 

This can be done using automatic notifications with some dropshipping supplier, which can manage your money, products, and orders with little to no help on your part.

Third-Party Logistics

Businesses that choose to work with a 3PL partner are those that want to invest in their business. While the upfront payment may be larger, investing in a 3PL can be the smartest choice for a scaling e-commerce business.

Going from self-fulfillment to outsourced fulfillment will ease up time and talent from your team and allow it to shine again in areas that help your business grow. A 3PL partner’s main purpose is to take the entire fulfillment process of a company and do it for them and do it even better. 

Fulfillment is such a big process that requires years of expertise to truly succeed at.

 

"Dropshipping is the entry point for a lot of people to business, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship. It’s the perfect first business."
Lachlan Delchau-Jones

 

Scalability 

Dropshipping

Scalability is an important aspect when owning a business.  Why?  Because you want your business to grow, and with growth, comes the need for more space and more hands. 

When a seller is dropshipping and their product takes off, it’s hard for a dropshipping provider to scale with said company.  This is because a dropshipping supplier only has so much of their own inventory in stock, and they do not work with individual businesses and their own inventory needs.  If your provider runs out, so do you.  

Third-Party Logistics

Many people look to a 3PL as a viable option for their business because of a 3PL’s ability to scale.  3PL’s have large inventory spaces, facilities, and staff. 

All were created in the hopes their clients would scale and require a need for more inventory space as they grow.  So, if your business is likely to scale, or if it already has, a 3PL might be a better option to give your company the potential to succeed. 

 

Geography

Dropshipping

When you work with dropshipping providers, you run the risk of geographic scarcity.  By this, we mean that dropshipping suppliers often have a single place of operation, where they manufacture and ship orders out around the world. 

While this might seem fine, it can actually cause increased delays in fulfillment and shipping time, delivery errors, and shipping prices.  If your brand sells internationally or to multiple locations throughout the country, dropshipping might be a slower and more expensive approach. 

Third-Party Logistics

By contrast, 3PL’s often have various locations spread throughout the country and sometimes throughout the world.  This means that wherever your customers are, there is guaranteed to be a facility close to them.  Resulting in faster delivery, cheaper shipping prices, and happier customers. 

If you’re selling to a wide range of buyers across the world, a 3PL with multiple locations may be a wise choice. 

 

Bulk

Dropshipping

Lastly, sellers who decide to dropship will quickly notice that the products or items they choose to sell are marked at a lower price than what they’d find personally.  This is because the dropshipping provider offers a “wholesale” discount on the items you purchase, to allow you to make a profit while also using their services. 

This is great when you have small amounts of items to fulfill and you’re expecting to make a 40-60% profit.  After all, those numbers eventually add up, right?

Third-Party Logistics

The difference in buying wholesale through a 3PL is that the more inventory you buy, the bigger wholesale price you’ll have.  If you’re fulfilling thousands of orders, it makes sense to buy thousands of items at a cheaper rate. 

If you’re dropshipping, wholesale discounts do not increase and the profit would eventually be close to nothing if you were fulfilling a large number of orders. 

 

"91% of 3PL users report their relationships are successful and their work has positive results." 

 

Dropshipping vs 3PL: Limitations and Benefits

 

Limitations of Dropshipping

  • Cannot scale.
  • Often only has one "main" location.
  • Sellers cannot purchase items in bulk.
  • Sellers cannot forecast holiday availability or shipping times.
  • Shipping can be slower and more expensive.
  • High competition.

Limitations of 3PL

  • Inventory is limited to what you have on hand.
  • Seller is responsible for delivering inventory to a 3PL facility.
  • Upfront inventment.

Benefits of Dropshipping

  • Low or no-cost investment.
  • No inventory management.
  • Zero need for a physical store.
  • Sell one, or ten, no order minimum.

Benefits of 3PL

  • Access to experts and experienced partners.
  • Ability to focus on other things (simplified internal logistics).
  • Scalability. 
  • Cheaper shipping.
  • Faster shipping.
  • Houses and manages inventory.
  • Multiple locations.

 

"75% of shippers said the use of 3PL servicess has contributed to overall logistics cost reductions"

 

Dropshipping Vs 3PL: Which One Do You Need?

Are you considering which one is the best fit for your business? Sometimes it can be a little confusing when deciding where the line falls between dropshipping vs 3PL partners. 

However, the answer is simple. If you are a start-up business testing out products, casually selling, locally selling, or selling in quantities of less than 200 a month, dropshipping is the better option for you!

 

Need a 3PL Partner?

Are you currently dropshipping or independently selling a minimum of 200 orders a month or more?  A 3PL might be a better option now that you’re gaining speed. 

With various 3PL’s out there, all of them have different requirements, qualifications, and much more.  Let Falcon Fulfillment be the one to guide you through the 3PL world and help you decide whether working with a 3PL partner is the best thing for your company.

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Free Shipping

Free Shipping: Why You Should Offer It + 10 Free Shipping Ideas

Unexpected shipping costs are the top reason for cart abandonment among shoppers. Cart abandonment cannot be eliminated completely. But eliminating unexpected shipping costs can help.

To help you increase your sales, we are going to break down ten innovative methods by which your e-commerce business can offer free shipping to its consumers. We'll go through how you can provide it, how it will affect your business, and whether or not a free shipping option is right for you.

 

1. Free Shipping on Everything

The simplest method to provide it is to include it with all of the products and purchases. Building shipping costs into your product costs can help you avoid surprise shipping charges and cart abandonment and increase sales.

Buyers will certainly notice this irresistible offer, and it's a wonderful way to attract their attention. However, if your products vary significantly in size and price, this method may wind up costing you more money than you originally planned.

This technique is suited for e-commerce companies that sell small products on a regular basis within a specified price range. Offering free shipping will be more cost accurate instead of a fluctuation.

You may also provide it on all orders by simply raising the overall price of your items and including shipping in the final cost at checkout. By doing this, you're creating the impression of "free delivery" without absorbing the shipping cost yourself.

This method also works best for small and similarly priced items.

If free shipping isn't a sustainable method for your company consider offering occasional free shipping promotions.

2. Minimum Thresholds 

This is a very popular option that we see everywhere.  By using a minimum order threshold, you encourage your customers to spend more in order to reach the goal of free shipping.

Ex.: Free shipping on all orders over $75

Once a customer reaches a certain amount in their cart, simply queuing an automatic notification that they’re X amount away from free shipping, is almost a guaranteed way to increase your average order value.

 

3. Certain Times of the Year

Providing free shipping during certain periods of the year is a sensible and strategic move, much like offering discounts during peak season. Providing free shipping (and even bundling it with a minimum threshold or a bundle deal) for a particular period of time may significantly increase your company's sales.

If, on the other hand, you're aware that you have slower selling months, you might consider offering free shipping during the lower times of the year. This will provide your consumers with an incentive to make purchases during off-seasons.

4. Specific Locations

If you're concerned about providing free delivery because of costs in certain locations, you can simply restrict it to particular regions.

Even though international delivery is more expensive than domestic shipping, free shipping may still be a factor. Choosing to restrict your free shipping promotions to areas where you receive the lowest shipping rates, allows you to provide a bargain to your consumers while still spending less money out of pocket.

This might also encourage certain customers to make purchases when targeting their area with limited-time free shipping.

 

5. Member & Loyalty Programs

Your best customers are the ones you already have.

Introduce a member or loyalty program that includes a shipping discount.

Not only will more people be encouraged to sign up for free delivery, but it will also give the impression that the offer has been restricted to an exclusive "members only" group.

Some businesses opt to charge a fee for membership, while others do not. A loyalty program will encourage buyers to sign up with the promise of free delivery in exchange for their information.

Send them an email with their discount code, a"welcome to the red carpet" message, and voilà - you've gained a new happy email subscriber.

 

Fun Fact: Did you know that 77% of customers only open promotional emails in search of relevant discounts?

 

6. Returns

Free shipping on returns may be a fantastic option for a company that deals with often returned items (i.e. clothing stores).

For customers who frequently buy clothing online, it’s understandable that sometimes the fit just isn't right.

Providing free shipping on returns will encourage consumers to purchase items without the anxiety of whether or not they will fit. Simply because, if it's not perfect, exchanging it for the correct one will be quick and easy.

Additionally, this means customers will be more inclined to continue buying with your business because of the simple and easy return procedure.

 

Fun Fact: Did you know that 93% of customers are inclined to come back to a business that offers hassle-free returns and great customer service, regardless of their buying experience?

 

7. Campaigns

Running campaigns is a great idea for any business, and free shipping campaigns are often the most successful.

Just like holiday campaigns where you offer promotional deals and bundles, offering free shipping is equally as enticing. Offering free shipping in conjunction with holidays, similar to peak season, can encourage people to purchase during a set time frame.

You don’t have to limit your campaigns to holidays either.  Your options are endless.

  • Charity Campaign
  • Anniversary Campaign
  • Back to School Campaign
  • Spring Campaign

 

8. Bundled Items

Bundle your items and receive free shipping!

Sound familiar? A long time has passed since the introduction of bundling promotions, and it seems that they're not going away anytime soon.

First and foremost, it’s critical to understand the sales data of your products. It's equally important to understand which items work best individually and which products perform best when combined.

Consider pairing your top products together as a bundle promotion. By contrast, consider pairing your least popular items with other top products to encourage customers to branch out for a free shipping reward.

 

9. First Time Customers

Nothing pulls in a new customer like the promise of free shipping.

If site-wide free shipping isn’t for you, consider offering it to your first-time customers.  This will not only encourage customers to click that “buy now” button but will also increase your email list and the chance for repeat customers.

 

10. Number of Orders

Providing free delivery for a limited number of purchases is just as attractive as offering it for first-time buyers.

Ex.: Subscribe for three months and receive three months of free shipping!

This is a great way to encourage customers to sign up for automatic payments, monthly purchases, or recurring orders.

 

Shipping with Falcon Fulfillment

To understand more about how to utilize shipping methods and integrate Q4 necessities into your e-commerce business, we recommend that you read our in-depth peak season holiday fulfillment guide, which is available for free download here.

Our expertise in the fulfillment and e-commerce industries is something that we take great pride in here at Falcon Fulfillment. That's why we strive to provide our readers with valuable information that e-commerce businesses can put to use right away.

To learn more about how we can optimize your entire fulfillment process, contact us now. We'll be happy to walk you through how simple your fulfillment can really be.

 


eco friendly custom packaging

Eco-friendly Packaging: Best Practices for Ecommerce Brands

Eco Expectations

Today, we see a growing rise in the popularity of eco-friendly packaging and eco-friendly fulfillment practices thanks to the growth of waste awareness.

Pollution has become a significant problem with the rise of fast convenience and online shopping.

That's why it's important to consider how your company is contributing to the growing need for eco-friendly practices.

Today, we'll talk about how your company can satisfy your customers' increasing desire to reduce carbon footprints through the use of eco-friendly packaging.

“In 2021, 84% of consumers expected their products to be easily recyclable and produced with recycled material”

According to The Recycling Partnership and SWNS

 

Why You Should Switch to Eco-friendly Packaging

Aside from meeting the rising demands of your consumers, the planet needs as much help as it can get.

When it comes to lowering your carbon footprint, it's important for companies to enable and encourage their consumers to do the same.

By transitioning to an eco-friendly packaging process, not only will you meet the growing demands of your buyers, but you will also make a considerable impact in protecting the environment.

Customer Standards

Firstly, let's talk about how customer expectations are shifting.

Standards rise year after year as businesses around the world begin to offer eco-friendly packaging and simplified ways of helping the environment.

According to the 2020 Global Buying Green Report, 67%  of consumers now consider themselves to be environmentally conscious.

59% said they are less likely to purchase a product that comes in unsustainable packaging.

That’s why it’s important to keep up with ever-growing standards and listen to the expectations of your buyers.

“Sustainability-marketed products grow 5.6x faster than conventionally marketed products.”

According to The NYU Stern School of Business

 

Better for the Earth

Secondly, eco-friendly packaging is better for the environment, and that's just a fact.

By using eco-friendly packaging materials such as paper, cardboard, bioplastic, and corrugated bubble wrap, you can offer a greener buying experience.

You can also include instructions to reuse or dispose of eco-friendly packaging correctly.  This will result in your brand's carbon footprint being reduced, as well as each and every one of your customers'.

Consider the potential impact that a single corporation could have by transitioning as few as 100 customers to a more eco-friendly fulfillment process.

Multiply that by 10, 20, and so on.  Each brand could have an enormous impact on the planet by one simple transition.

Better for Customers

By choosing eco-friendly packaging for your ecommerce brand you will decrease the amount of extra packaging delivered to your customers.

By doing so, you will minimize waste on your clients' side while also giving them the sense that they are contributing to something positive.

You can also educate customers on how to reuse their packaging to eliminate waste and amplify the enjoyment of your brand.

eco friendly packaging

Brand reputation

Implementing an eco-friendly packaging method will exceed your consumers' expectations and, as a result, improve the image of your company.

Eco-friendly companies come across as more appealing to customers, and the appeal is steadily growing.

When you offer your consumers a low-waste, environmentally friendly buyer experience, they will reward you with better referral ratings and increased word-of-mouth exposure for your brand.

"Brands that move to sustainable and recyclable packaging gain access to a larger group of consumers who aren’t even considering their products today."

According to the 2020 Global Buying Report

 

Save Space & Money

Conserving resources will help you save money and free up inventory storage space.

All packaging should be kept to a bare minimum as part of an effort to reduce environmental impact.  You can conserve space by downsizing packages and lowering the quantity of material you use.

This will ultimately reduce the amount of storage space needed to maintain fulfillment supplies on hand.

Additionally, as a benefit of decreased shipment weights, you may be able to save money on shipping expenses.

Government Incentives

Lastly, we'll talk about the possible incentives you might have by going green.

Today's government recognizes the importance of environmentally friendly activities among consumers and companies.

As a result, if you switch to a more eco-friendly packaging method, you may be rewarded with government incentives in an attempt to encourage companies that go green.

Tax credits, subsidy advantages, and grants are examples of potential incentives.

How you can switch to Eco-friendly Packaging

When contemplating your transition to eco-friendly fulfillment, it may seem to be a daunting task at first. However, be assured that it's simpler than you think.

  1. Start by switching to the eco-friendly alternatives of the materials you currently use.
  2. Reduce the size and space inside of your packaging.
  3. Find resources like ours for tips on making your consumers' eco-friendly buying experience even more unique.

 

Transition to Recyclable & Biodegradable Materials

It's important to take into consideration all of the resources you'll need to execute a purchase transaction.

Recognize that there are environment-friendly alternatives to each of the things you now use and that some may even be less expensive than current packaging.

By contacting eco-friendly packaging wholesalers or your fulfillment provider, you can learn more about a variety of environmentally friendly packaging alternatives.

Decrease Package Size

Decrease the size of your packages to the absolute bare minimum.

Ideally, you should choose the smallest box that will adequately hold your item in place. By eliminating unused space, you make it possible to utilize fewer resources, thus lowering possible waste.

Include Recycled How-To / QR Code for Curious Customers

Consider including how-to instructions for your product's repurposing or recycling options.

Explain the process of effectively helping the environment in detail so your customers feel involved and know their efforts are making a difference.

For example, those looking for a unique way to wow their consumers can try printing a QR code on the outside of boxes.

Buyers will scan the code with their phone's camera and read step-by-step recycle instructions straight from their smartphone.

“53% of consumers are actively looking for recycling or sustainability information on their packaging.”

According to the 2020 Global Buying Green Report

 

Utilizing Falcon Fulfillment for Eco-friendly Packaging and More

It has never been simpler to make the switch to environmentally friendly order fulfillment.

By partnering with Falcon Fulfillment, you gain access to environmentally friendly packaging materials that can be used to minimize your brand's carbon impact.

Set aside the time spent contacting wholesalers, determining what supplies you need, and determining the most cost-effective solution - we'll arrange it all for you.

 

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