Shipping data is an important asset you should utilise to improve your operations

5 ways to use your shipping data (And how to get started)


Written by David Renwick

Retailers are facing mounting pressure to meet growing consumer expectations for shipping, and leveraging data could be a critical factor in their success.

This isn’t new; retailers are no strangers to using data to get ahead. In fact, one recent Gartner survey found that 85% percent of all businesses plan to make more decisions based on data and analytics. But what data should you use? And what should you be measuring?

When you understand the nuts and bolts of your shipping operation, with a focus on how your couriers perform, you’ll have a competitive edge and be able to save on your bottom line.

In this article, we’ll explore why data is so important for shipping, how you should use data and some of the terminology you'll want to know. We’ll also look at a real-life example in the form of an international retailer using smart shipping technology and data to run a global retail operation.

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Why data matters for shipping

Growing consumer expectations with regards to shipping mean businesses need to lift their game to compete. One survey from RetailWeek and Shutl found that 91% of customers want to know when a package will be delivered, while another survey found that 85% of customers wouldn't purchase from an online retailer again after a poor delivery experience.

Data is a valuable resource here which can help to solve shipping problems and meet these increasing customer expectations. Businesses building a habit of using data can improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and make more informed decisions

5 tips to get the most from your shipping data

Here are some considerations for using data to improve your shipping:

  1. Optimise your couriers – Use performance data to work out which courier to use for different types of services based on their performance.
  2. Use the right tools – Shipping software with analytics dashboards can make understanding your data much simpler, giving you easy-to-understand overviews of how your shipping is performing (More on this below).
  3. Pay attention to your data – For any measurements to be successful, you need high quality, accurate data. Ensure your product codes are correct and make sure your stock is accurate.
  4. Sharing is caring – The more you can communicate with your courier partners, suppliers and customers, the better the picture you’ll get.
  5. Identify specific problems and test solutions – In a recent study, 57.6% of carts were abandoned before purchase. In most cases, carts are abandoned when extra costs are too high or delivery timeframes are too long. By digging into your data, you could try lowering shipping prices or offering faster delivery options to improve these statistics.
Drone photo of trucks with shipping containers parked outside a warehouse

Use the right metrics to save money (and time)

Basing your shipping decisions on data can yield impressive results, but understanding what you should be measuring can be understandably difficult. There’s one metric that every eCommerce business should be tracking and that’s Delivered In Full, On Time or DIFOT.

Think of DIFOT as the overarching metric or KPI for how well your shipping is working. DIFOT is a measurement of how successful your business is at getting your customers the products they need, when they need them, in the quantity they ordered. It's the best way to measure the performance of your suppliers.

You can manually measure DIFOT yourself, but it’s quite tricky. It's much easier to use shipping software which integrates directly with your couriers and eCommerce platform or warehouse management system. That way, if the quality of your data is up to scratch, you can use built-in analytics dashboards to gauge your own DIFOT and make changes to your couriers and processes accordingly.

Use your shipping performance data to grow your business

We’ve touched on the important role shipping performance data can play in optimising your shipping operation, as well as how the right tools can make this an easy process. Let’s dive a little deeper.

Starshipit is a shipping automation solution which acts as a central hub for your shipping operations. It integrates with your eCommerce platform, warehouse management solution and couriers so you can manage everything from one dashboard. It’s also got a built-in analytics suite.

With Starshipit’s shipping analytics, you can analyse multiple shipping metrics to improve your delivery experience and make data-driven decisions. For example, view real-life shipping performance data from your business to learn if carriers are meeting key shipping delivery KPIs.

Analytics helps you to identify the reasons behind certain shortfalls in carrier performance. Use these insights to have informed discussions about delivery timeframes with your carriers.

You can then incorporate shipping performance data into your current reporting processes with the option to export the data into tools like Power BI or simply use the report builder feature to create your own outputs.

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A real-life story from activewear retailer Lorna Jane

Lorna Jane is an activewear apparel giant in Australia with an increasingly large global footprint. Founded in 1990, they’ve now got stores and fulfilment operations in several different countries. And, understandably, they want to keep growing.

Technology has a huge part to play for Lorna Jane. The team relies on shipping automation to automate the day-to-day, save money and reduce frustration throughout the fulfilment process.

With analytics, the team can easily keep on top of shipping. They’re able to:

  • Access quick summaries of order volume, split by platform and carrier.
  • Segment their shipping data into a range of different dimensions.
  • Use KPI gauges for a quick assessment of whether orders are being delivered on time, early or late.
  • Assess the performance of all carriers in one heatmap.

    Read the full case study right here on our website.

Use shipping automation to access real insights

Running your shipping operation without looking under the hood at your performance data is a little like stumbling around in the dark; sure, you may get where you need to do, but it’s going to take a lot longer.

There’s one major change you can make right now to set yourself up for success: introduce shipping automation. Shipping automation streamlines your shipping process, reducing manual labor and errors, saving you valuable time and money in the long run. What’s more, you can use built-in analytics to make smarter business decisions and constantly optimise the fulfilment side of your business.

Check out some of our case studies to learn more, or book a demo with one of our team.

Evolving Expectations shipping report eCommerce insights

Learn more in our new report

Interested in learning more about how leading retailers are already using data to get ahead? We’ve got a whole chapter on data in our new free report, Evolving Expectations. You’ll learn about data and so much more, including: How to reduce business overheads, what’s happening with returns, transparency around delivery timeframes, and ship from store.

Download your free copy

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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