7 ways to improve your customer’s delivery experience

It’s true, not many entrepreneurs get into the business of eCommerce because they love shipping!  Because of that fact, unfortunately, for many retailers, shipping is still an afterthought – however to your customers it is anything but.

When things go wrong, your brand reputation and margins are on the line. The cost of getting it wrong will ultimately impact your bottom line.

Today’s consumers shop how they want, when they want. They are more empowered than ever and have an abundance of tools and technologies at their disposal. Their behaviour is intrinsically linked to new technology. Shoppers don’t wait for anything; if the delivery is late, damaged or simply inconvenient, your customers will not be happy and your brand will suffer.  With the Uberfication of our economy, customers are impatient – if they can’t get it from you, in time, they will go elsewhere.

According to Telstra’s 2014 Special Report, ‘The Personal Supply Chain’, 60% of customers will not return to a retailer if they have had a bad delivery experience.

Evaluating the needs of your customers is essential to build the optimum fulfillment experience.

There are a number of questions that need to be asked and areas where you can make improvements to your customer’s delivery experience:

  1. Purchase Experience

Do your customers value clear visibility of shipping costs throughout the online purchase process? Is there clear communication throughout the process?

Look for ways to improve how you communicate costs, shipping estimations and keep the customer up to date with shipping notifications. 

 

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2. Delivery Methods

There are many types of delivery options available today, from free delivery to same day to one-hour and click-and-collect. What options are your customers requesting?

Do you offer different courier services at checkout?  StarShipIT enables multiple carriers so you can pick and choose the mix that works for you and your customers.   Bring your existing accounts with you when you sign up to StarShipIT to keep your great rates!

 

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A recent survey found 43% of retailers drove increased revenue by offering better choices in eCommerce delivery. Among enterprise retailers, 33% reported a reduction in cart abandonment rate when offering more shipping choices, while 50% of mid-market retailers experienced increased sales. Also 27% of small retailers reduced their carrier costs by offering new shipping choices.

Are your customers willing to pay more for a premium delivery service? Or conversely, pay less for a slower delivery if it’s not urgent?

Test and try out new options that work for you and your customers and provide them with the flexibility they expect.

Multiple Delivery Options

Can you offer your customers delivery options at the checkout?

Keep in mind that many shoppers are willing to pay a premium for a faster or guaranteed service.

3. Cost of Deliveries

Do your customers prefer a cheaper or faster delivery experience? Are you being upfront with delivery costs? 58% of customers abandoned the shopping cart when shipping costs are more than expected (2014 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper).

Be upfront with your delivery costs and where possible use live rates versus flat rate shipping to give customers more accurate shipping costs.  StarShipIT provides live rates when integrated with both Shopify and Magento.

Some other findings from the report:

  • Shoppers are willing to pay up to USD$18 for same-day delivery and up to $19 for international shipping, and 65% would increase the size of their order to qualify for free premium shipping
  • Only 31% of retailers offering email tracking updates with their ecommerce delivery, while 78% of shoppers said they want it
  • Returns influence conversion, with 43% saying they would shop more online if offered free and easy returns
  • Retailers are struggling to find a profitable model for premium delivery services and as a result, retailer adoption has slowed. While 53% of them offered same-day delivery in 2016, that figure dropped to 29% this year. Similarly, 34% of retailers offered weekend/after-hours delivery in 2016, dropping to 25% in 2017

4. Tracking

When a customer makes a purchase, they legally take ownership of the goods and immediately want to know how you are going to fulfill their order.

Can your customers easily track their packages? Are you sending branded communications every step of the way?

Look at introducing branded tracking pages for you customers to track their delivery status – it is also a great way to keep your brand top of mind and upsell to your customers, before they have even taken receipt of their last order.  Check out this article on our branded tracking pages with real customer examples.

 

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5. Returns

While retailers get serious about outbound delivery, there is a lack of focus on a customer-centric returns policy.

To customers, however, returns are a crucial part of the delivery process. A recent study found that 50% of shoppers take the time to read your online returns policy. (ReBOUND 2015).

6. A branded returns portal or tracking page, integrated with your technology, will increase loyalty and repeat business.

What is your returns policy? Do you offer free returns to your customers? Is your returns policy straightforward? What is the cost of returns to your business?  Do you absorb any of the costs?

How does the customer facilitate the actual packaging and labeling – do you provide a return label?

StarShipIT has an optional return label generator that makes it easy for the customer to print out the required return documentation.

 

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6. Multiple Channels

Customers are shopping both digital and physical stores. Retailers are striving toward a single brand identity and a uniform fulfillment experience for customers.

Do your customers have a seamless online and in store delivery experience?

omni-channel mktg-01-02Visit your own mobile site, your social channels, your website and go through the motions of placing an order.  This will show you where the holes are in your customers’ experience.

Have you got inventory management systems in place to ensure your stock levels are correct?  What else can you do to make the experience more engaging?  Check out this great video showcasing the omni channel experience by Rebecca Minkoff.

Remember, it’s not enough simply to have a presence on a whole lot of different channels – each of your channels must work together, functioning as parts of a wider ecosystem.  That is the key to a great omnichannel strategy.

The challenge with creating more sales channels, is that you also create more work in managing your orders, inventory, returns and fulfillment as the processes become more complex.

7. Is your thinking retailer centric or customer centric?  

Put your customer hat on and look for areas that need improvement.  What do your customers complain about?  Ask for feedback.  The ones who have a bad experience and don’t complain are the ones that have already left and gone elsewhere so encourage feedback using automated surveys post purchase.  What are they saying on social media?  Do some social listening and look for ways to gain the competitive edge.

Look at what your competitors are offering.  Are you meeting the same expectations your customers will have or are you lacking somewhere?  Do some mystery shopping and experience the leaders in the industry, who do you look up to and how do they excel?  Replicate this for your own business in whichever way you can.

The evolution of customer-centric delivery options highlights the speed customer expectations are changing. Your online shoppers are demanding faster, more convenient deliveries. They are driving the evolution of shopping and successful retailers are responding.

Ready to try StarShipIT for yourself? Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of StarShipIT and someone will be in touch shortly to help you get set up and start shipping straight away!