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How To Take Advantage Of The Digitization Of Logistics

By Kawal Preet | First published: December 21, 2021    Updated: December 20, 2022

Keeping up with consumer demands in an increasingly digital world is a challenge for e-commerce businesses. We share tips to help enhance SMEs’ global competitiveness and win new online customers.

Great customer experience has the same 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 the digitalization of logistics comes in (and it’s simpler than it sounds!).

So how can small innovations drive big wins in our new business landscape?

Make it easy - and intuitive

Customer experience is at the forefront of consumers’ minds. According to the Zendesk CX Trends 2022 Report, 68% of Asia Pacific consumers believe customer service is an afterthought for businesses, with 71% saying their expectations have increased over the past year. Our latest e-commerce white paper also highlights the customer experience ‘service gap’ between consumer expectations and SMEs’ perceptions of what their customers think is important.
Female with dark hair shops online on iPad with credit card in hand

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 finishing purchases 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. Since COVID-19, expectations around delivery have become more precise. Customers expect ease, simplicity and convenience. 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.
East Asian female smiles at phone screen under umbrella

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

Powered by FDM and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), customers in Taiwan and Singapore, for example, can access their nearest collection point or locker to their home or workplace and the option to choose their preferred time and place. Just one of the ways that SMEs are enhancing last-mile delivery convenience.

And getting updates or speaking to businesses through instant messenger service WhatsApp has become increasingly common. To meet customers on the platforms they most prefer, we’ve also introduced WhatsApp notifications for e-commerce deliveries for added reassurance and 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

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

Hand holds mobile screen showing FedEx website

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.

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. Another simple but powerful solution? Our Picture Proof Of Delivery feature, which was launched ahead of the holiday shopping season in Hong Kong and New Zealand. When you need a package to arrive on time for the holidays, a picture really can be priceless.
The future is now

Stacking up different types of tech is the real gamechanger. At FedEx, the integration of automation and big data, 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.

We also recognized early on how data drives innovation. Today, our analytics center in Sin-gapore works closely with FedEx Dataworks to steering our digital trans¬formation by using data to help optimize inter¬nal operations – making supply chains smarter for everyone.

Remain open to digital solutions

Think about technology as more than a tool to improve your business operations. By truly embracing digital innovations and keeping customers at the core of everything you do, global possibilities will be within your reach.

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.

Looking for more exciting stories on tech and innovation? Check out our latest news and updates here.
Our New E-Commerce White Paper Is Here​Our New E-Commerce White Paper Is Here​
About the Author
the author bio

Kawal Preet

Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, FedEx Express

Kawal started out as an engineer at FedEx over 27 years ago. She’s now the President of FedEx Express AMEA and is based in Singapore.

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