What does agility mean for retail after-sales?

Today’s customers expect excellent service. And if they don’t get it, they’ll go elsewhere.

It’s not enough to get a shopper to click on the ‘confirm order’ button. Whether it’s through service, support or availability of products after an initial sale, retailers have an opportunity to build a relationship and turn shoppers into loyal customers. To do this, you need to offer more value in the service you offer, for example information or flexibility.

By looking closely at your supply chain, you may be able to find new solutions that will improve your customers’ experience and make it easier for you to meet rising expectations.

You may well find that you’ll not only attract more customers, but you’ll be able to cut costs, too.

How your business can benefit from agile after-sales

35% of shoppers are satisfied with post shipment flexibility.

(Source: UPS pulse of the Online Shopper survey 2015)

That’s a lot of unhappy customers that could be attracted by retailers who can offer the service they’re looking for.

Agile retailers have a real opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors, increase revenues and expand markets.

Partnering with a company like UPS makes it easier to build agility into your business, giving you access to a global network, smart technology, flexible delivery options and advice ranging from warehousing and inventory to consolidation and shoring strategies.

Businesses of all sizes are already benefiting from agile solutions. The story of Cologne-based Music Store shows how close collaboration helped them to find and service new markets by offering reliable, flexible delivery options and easier returns.


Another customer, Orac, a home interiors company, is also making use of the UPS Access PointTM network of over 24,000 alternative delivery locations worldwide and UPS My ChoiceTM to offer customers more choice for delivery and a means to facilitate easy returns.

Tracking notifications have also helped to reduce customers’ “Where’s my order?” calls. The resulting time and cost savings for Orac are around 113 hours and the equivalent of €3,629 annually. The fact that Orac’s customers now feel better informed, and are therefore more likely to buy again, is certainly worth far more.

Generally speaking, shoppers are more likely to buy from you knowing they can return goods easily. Yet only just over half of shoppers in our Pulse of the Online Shopper survey (53%) are happy with the ease of making returns. This is up on last year but it’s still an area that could be improved. A growing number of customers also expect additional online functionality or a call centre to generate a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) and return shipping label sent by email.

So how do you go about setting up an agile after-sales strategy?

Of course, the kind of after-sales service you need depends very much on the kind of goods you are selling. A fashion outlet will need an entirely different after-sales strategy than a home furnishings supplier. As such, although retailers can learn a lot from others in their sector, you need a strategy that addresses your specific business challenges.

Your shipping partner should help you develop a strategy that will improve your agility in just about every area of after-sales, and find solutions for challenges such as returns and delivery flexibility.

At UPS we find that the best place to start is to identify your particular after-sales challenges. Many retailers we work with find that an audit of their existing reverse logistics processes identifies opportunities for improvements in efficiency and profitability.

Conversation and close collaboration are key to making agility work so that you can meet evolving customer needs and respond to market changes as your business grows.

UPS Solutions to ensure agility in after-sales

We offer a variety of useful solutions that can be combined to boost the after-sales experience you offer your customers to meet their unique needs.

Our solutions to make you more agile include:

A global integrated transport network:

  • UPS Standard® and Express® Whether you want fast or faster we have a suite of services to ensure your package arrives on a specific date or time.
  • UPS Access Point TM locations. A network of over 24,000 drop-off and collection point locations worldwide to facilitate exceptional e-commerce programmes.
  • UPS Access Point TM Label-less Returns Your customers simply drop off at one of our locations.
  • UPS Returns Can give your after-sales offering flexible options to impress your customers and win their repeat business.

Visibility and control technology:

  • UPS My Choice Alerts customers to incoming shipments and gives them control, allowing them to reschedule the delivery time and location.
  • UPS Quantum View Allows you to manage outbound and inbound shipments with ease, and provides delivery notifications.

For Retail companies, ecommerce brings global opportunities – and global competition. See how agility throughout your supply chain makes success more likely.

Carrie Royle

Carrie Royle

Industry Marketing Manager, UPS

I am responsible for ensuring we offer our customers solutions that really make a difference for their business today and into the future. I'm passionate about staying on the pulse of global trade and the evolving opportunities for businesses of all sizes and sectors. Carrie Royle LinkedIn Profile


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