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he retail and e-commerce landscapes are crowded and competitive. Retailers are facing stiff competition both from legacy brick-andmortar companies and online marketplaces, including the industry leader in their market, which is driving customer expectations for free, fast, and transparent deliveries. To get ahead and stay ahead of the shop down the block or the e-commerce stores around the world, it is vital for retailers to create a sustainable competitive advantage by delivering a customer experience that exceeds expectations. The COVID-19 pandemic boosted US online shopping from March 2020 through February 2021 to $844 billion, a jump of $183 billion, according to Adobe’s 2021 Digital Economy Index. Hence, it is more important than ever for anyone that sells and ships products to meet or exceed customers’ expectations for delivery. Delivering Free and Low-Cost Shipping While not as easy for smaller retailers to absorb the shipping


cost that the industry giants can, it is still essential to offer it when feasible, be it on all orders or only orders of a specific dollar amount. Surveys have shown that more than 70% of US consumers indicate that free delivery “greatly impacts” their purchasing decisions. Yet, next to product costs, not offering free delivery — or the price of paid delivery — is the second most common reason for shopping cart abandonment. With the expectation of free deliveries driving up overall customer acquisition costs, e-commerce businesses and the 3PLs that support them are looking for ways to make omnichannel fulfillment more economical. This is a challenge for those used to operating B2B fulfillment models where LTL and TL line hauls to distribution centers offered a significant cost/ pound advantage over D2C parcel shipping. They need a way to combine line haul cost efficiencies with the quality of lastmile delivery experiences. However, it isn’t always possible — or profitable — to compete on price alone. Fortunately, you can compete by delivering an exceptional customer experience by providing the information and insights that rival the big guys without breaking the bank. Here are a couple of ways that retailers can exceed customer shipping visibility expectations and deliver an