Digitalization Of Logistics –
A Gamechanger For SMEs

By Kawal Preet | February 23, 2021

It’s becoming harder than ever to stand out in a sea of competition – and keep pace with customer demands in an increasingly digital world. We share business tips to help enhance your global competitiveness.

Great customer experience has the same simple outcome as it did 200 years ago - customers will spend more and keep coming back. But in the post-COVID digital world, when most purchases are made online, small businesses are being challenged to deliver outstanding customer experience in new ways. That’s where digitalization of logistics comes in (and it’s simpler than it sounds!).

Read on to discover how small innovations can drive big wins in our new business landscape.

Make it easy - and intuitive

Did you know that customer experience is a huge factor in helping people decide between different buying options? A global PWC study shows that 73% of all surveyed consumers point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

So: what are customers looking for in a seamless online shopping experience?

A secure, easy-to-navigate e-commerce site can make or break the customer experience and as a result, the business. It needs to be more than just functional, too. Increasingly, e-commerce platforms are beautifully constructed and tell a powerful story – a story that begins, these days, on social media.

This means synergies must exist throughout your entire digital ecosystem. New trends in mobile-first buyer behavior and social commerce mean that consumers are starting - and in some cases completing - their purchase on social media. There’s no point crafting a strong brand identity on Instagram, Facebook or WeChat if your website or mobile app isn’t up to scratch.

Delivery matters

But fast, flawless delivery is even more important – especially post-pandemic, with online order volumes at a high. Customers expect the best. This is where digitalized smart logistics can aid small business operations.

Automation tools can streamline delivery and distribution and drive efficiencies and profitability. You’ll achieve faster turnaround times, greater customer satisfaction and higher revenues.

For example, why not let your customers choose delivery on their own terms? It’s not always possible to stay at home to receive deliveries. FedEx Delivery Manager (FDM) customizes delivery to fit around busy lives.

Powered by FDM and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), customers in Taiwan and Singapore, for example, can access their nearest collection point or locker, with the option to select a location closest to their home or workplace and the flexibility of collection at preferred time and place. Just one of the ways that SMEs are evolving last-mile delivery needs for added customer convenience.

Automate at every step

For most small business owners, logistics and shipping processes can be complex and tedious – and busy individuals need to focus on running a business. This is where an established logistics partner brings value to SMEs and their customers. With expert help to navigate paperwork and compliance requirements, they can save time in shipping and customs.

Finally, with digital solutions and customer experience converging, small businesses must boost their growth by getting aboard the digital train – or risk losing out to competition.

Customer-centric innovative thinking

Once you board the digital train, you’re on it for good.

‘Going digital’ is not something you switch on in one go. It’s a constant journey of refreshing, updating and investing step-by-step in new technology as it comes to market. Once you board the digital train, you’re on it for good. Understanding the customer and their needs can lead to simple, innovative ways to digitize for the better.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You want localized payment options, right – everyday options you’re already using in your market?

Adopting platforms and tools that help you build in your shipping, taxes and customs from the get-go helps customers learn to trust you. Above all, every experience your customer has should be exceptional – especially if it’s their first time using your business. At FedEx we call that commitment to making every single customer experience outstanding - our ‘Purple Promise’. And your business – no matter how small – would benefit from a similar pledge to customers. Technology, after all, is making it even easier to understand and meet customer needs.
Once you board the digital train, you’re on it for good.

Logistics: simple solutions to complex scenarios

Consider trade documents – daunting for many. But an online solution can help. For instance, FedEx Electronic Trade Documents automates documents for customs clearance to allow paperwork processing while the shipment is on its way. This simple solution is great for saving time and minimizing delays at customs, even for first-time international shippers.

The future is now

Stacking up different types of tech is the real gamechanger. At FedEx, the integration of robotics, sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) will help us move toward better efficiencies in delivering everything from large freight to small parcels. For real-time tracking of shipments, AI can already route trucks based on current road conditions; autonomous vehicles can unload, stack and re-load containers faster; blockchain shipping solutions can reduce transit times and accelerate payments.
Yes - delivery robots are fast becoming a reality. Roxo, the FedEx Sameday Bot, is designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries. Utilizing pedestrian-safe machine-learning algorithms, this cute zero-emission, battery-powered bot can carry out safe, effective last mile deliveries – a relief for retailers.

Already seen in some U.S. cities, Roxo navigates curbs, negotiates tight turns and climbs stairs. Next up, Roxo will be trialled and tested in Asia to evaluate the unique needs of some of Asia Pacific’s busiest cities, including Tokyo and Singapore.

Remain open to digital solutions

True – we can’t all develop robots to help our businesses run more smoothly. But think about technology as more than a tool to improve your business operations. Tech should be at the foundation of all of your business processes. By truly embracing digital innovations and keeping customers at the core of everything you do, global possibilities will be within your reach.

Looking for more exciting stories on tech and innovation? Check out our latest news and updates here.

As most consumers shift to online shopping, FedEx is embracing disruptive technology and innovations with the end-customer in mind - to help retailers digitize and grow. Find out more here.
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About the Author
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Kawal Preet

President,
Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, FedEx Express

Kawal started out as a FedEx engineer in Singapore over 20 years ago, and she’s now the President of FedEx Express AMEA. Kawal is based in Hong Kong.

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