Shipping times have been top of mind for many Australians with 43% of consumers admitting to checking delivery tracking more often now versus before the pandemic, according to recent Pitney Bowes research.

Recent events have highlighted Australia’s continued reliance on international trade and shipping, and the impacts that global or local events can cause on the borderless e-commerce landscape.

Pitney Bowes Australia and New Zealand head of shipping, Ben Seal believes Australians have grown comfortable with fast shipping times and reliable courier services, regardless of the country of origin of their deliveries.

“For people that run online and e-commerce businesses from home, reliable, fast shipping is an essential part of operations,” he said.

“However, while it isn’t always possible to mitigate delays from significant international events, there are steps that e-tailers can take to optimise shipping processes to make it more efficient and cost effective for all parties.”

Shipping is a critical touchpoint for online retailers and provides an opportunity to make a good impression. Consumers want to receive their orders in a reasonably quick and accurate timeframe, and in good condition, so reliable shipping and courier service has the potential to secure return business.

“Providing consumers with a variety of shipping solutions can help to improve the customer experience. It may be that a customer has a preferred vendor or prefers to shop based on low price and fast delivery times, so it’s essential to provide these options. In addition, investing in solutions and services that will protect packages during shipping is critical for making a good impression on customers,” Seal said.

Integrating shipping options into the customer journey, as with payment and packaging options, can extend the brand and buying experience. Similarly, including real-time tracking options in the shipping selection process provides more opportunities to engage with customers.

“Carrier companies often share tracking information directly with customers to keep them informed of their delivery status. However, online retailers also have an opportunity to share tracking information with customers once available, and personally provide tracking updates to customers to continue dialogue and increase potential touchpoints,” Seal added.

“Investing in solutions that streamline communication channels lets e-tailers empower their customers while also streamlining the shipping process and reducing costs. The latest technologies let customers select their preferred carriers, delivery times, tracking needs, and costs, while providing e-tailers with more opportunities to engage with consumers and build on the buyer relationship.”