Features

SmartFreight offers the key to customer satisfaction

As the world’s consumers shift online at a rapid rate, a bad customer experience and limited shipping options are contributing to customers abandoning their purchase at the last hurdle. An Australian software company is helping solve this issue for retailers worldwide.

Cart abandonment is an e-commerce term used to describe when a consumer adds a product to their shopping cart but fails to follow through with the purchase.

With window shopping at the world’s largest retailers available from the comfort of our homes, it makes sense that consumers would be a little indecisive about committing to a purchase. However, recent data by Statista found that upwards of 88 per cent of online shopping orders were abandoned.

Unexpected or unclear shipping costs, limited delivery options, a poor returns policy and a complicated check out process can lead to cart abandonment.

An Australia-based software organisation is simplifying this process for thousands of e-commerce retailers around the world by bridging the crucial gap between supply chain operations and the customer experience.

SmartFreight was founded in 1997 by Neil Page, Director and Ken Aitken, Global MD with the aim of changing things for the better. “Neil and Ken were early believers in using disruptive technology to improve the customer experience and created one of Australia’s first generic multi-carrier shipping systems,” James Kinniburgh, National Partnership Manager at SmartFreight says.

Quickly establishing itself as a market leader, SmartFreight now ships more than 50 million items per year across 195 countries, boasting more than 16,000 users and working with upwards of 650 transport carriers worldwide.

In 2018, ASX-listed [WTC] company WiseTech Global acquired SmartFreight. Crucial to WiseTech’s global expansion strategy was the need to enhance and increase its last mile for logistics capabilities, which is where SmartFreight comes in.

Visibility above all things

Operating in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Britain and South Africa, SmartFreight provides visibility for the shipper and the customer. “We know visibility is the most important thing to our customers. Everyone wants to know where their toys are – whether they are in a warehouse, in a truck, or in a cage – you need to know where they are at any given time,” James says.

This visibility then feeds into the customer experience, which SmartFreight has recognised as absolutely critical in e-commerce capabilities.

“With the SmartFreight solution, after that sticker goes on the parcel, you don’t need to be involved. The customer should have full visibility and there should be constant streams of communication via real-time tracking. With SmartFreight, customers don’t need to call the customer service lines as they will know via text, email and smartphone where their parcel is and when to expect it,” James says.

This level of service is critical in e-commerce. According to James, the online shopper is fickle. “You can lose a client very quickly in the e-commerce world. So, you need to offer a seamless customer experience,” he says.

For SmartFreight and its customers, that means offering the most harmonious experience possible. “For the consumer it should be simple. Do they want it fast and pay extra, or do they want standard shipping? But for the retailer, there can be so many cost and efficiency benefits sitting behind this simple interface,” James says.

But many retailers still operate with a single carrier system, for those who do they are missing out. “You can’t cross compare; you can’t run reports. If you use a smart system, you can use freight profiles whereby you can set criteria to select certain carriers depending on the suburb, postcode or state.”

Thinking smarter: removing manual steps

With e-commerce penetration reaching record highs during COVID-19, many retailers have struggled to keep up with demand.

“If you are doing this process manually, you might have to run to the warehouse to pick the product, then go to the PC and type the address in, input the weight and volume, print a label, put it on the box, write down the details, input the details into the WMS and then manually send an email to the customer,” James explains.

If this is done 50 times a day, that’s an entire day gone and only 50 orders out the door. With many retailers experiencing increased volumes across e-commerce during COVID-19, it’s impossible to get ahead with manual processes.

“With SmartFreight, orders can come across in under one second, with label printing in two seconds and the data back in the WMS in four seconds,” James says.

SmartFreight integrates with more than 220 of the leading global, ERP, WMS and Ecommerce platforms. “We’re all about seamless integration. We work with all leading ERP and WMS providers and also integrate with the retailer’s website,” James says.

James refers to SmartFreight’s customer Pandora, a leading jewellery retailer, as an example. “If you order from Pandora, it doesn’t matter if your goods are shipped to you via Carrier 1, Transport Provider X or Carrier Z, the customer will continue to see the Pandora interface they are familiar with, even though it’s SmartFreight powering the shipping experience,” James says.

With a number of business awards under its belt, SmartFreight has been recognised as an industry leader in technology and innovation and prides itself on being flexible.

“As Software as a Service (SaaS) shipping software, we have a one size fits all approach. Whether you’re a small start-up, or a global retailer, we can tailor a solution that fits your needs,” James says.

Whether price, volume, service or environmental impact are at the top of the shipping priority list, SmartFreight can find a quick and flexible solution so that the customer experience is the best it can be.

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