There is no denying the fact that the rise of e-commerce has changed the buying habits of consumers. Gone are the days when folks would have to go to physical stores to purchase what they need. With the help of technology, businesses have brought their products and services to the people through their Internet-connected mobile devices. This has created a demand for same-day and express shipping to deliver goods as fast as they are ordered.
While this has increased convenience and customer satisfaction, same-day delivery involves some important and rather complex factors that have to be executed seamlessly to achieve the desired results. Timely deliveries are crucial in the e-commerce process since this is one of the things that determine if buyers are left satisfied (potentially turning them into loyal customers) or they won’t ever come back to order again.
Besides the quality of the product or service, the delivery stage of the process plays a huge part in leaving your consumers with a great buying experience. Having the goods arrive on time—or even earlier—is a key indicator that your business is reliable. This will definitely leave a lasting impression and provide another reason why your customers should stick to your business.
What it takes to achieve a seamless customer shipping experience overall can be a bit more complicated. There are a number of factors at play, and you will need to know how to utilise your resources the right way so you can determine the correct steps to achieve your goal.
And to help guide you in every step of the way, we created a handy infographic that’ll show you how a great shipping experience improves the overall buying experience and customer satisfaction rates.
Steps to a Seamless Customer Shipping Experience
Give your customers different delivery solutions
Since the omnichannel strategy has been a critical approach in delivering a more seamless shopping experience, your customers should also have a variety of delivery solutions at their disposal. They should have a choice on how their purchased products should be delivered to them. Perhaps it’s more convenient for them to pick it up from the store.
Ruling out the need to have a package delivered not only gives customers what they want, but they also help you reduce delivery costs by having customers go to the store themselves and get their items. Make sure all your delivery options are available on your website, which includes shipping to a specific store, pick up in-store, and ship to home address, among others. The whole point of e-commerce is providing a format where a customer can have a convenient buying experience.
Manage their expectations by giving clear shipping and return policies
Many retail businesses have a variety of conditions when classifying a product as a return. This lengthy and complicated return policy discourages customers from shopping with you. Customers don’t want to risk not being able to return the merchandise if they missed a tiny detail from your exceptions.
The best way to deal with this is to have an open return policy. This will give you the opportunity to retain more customers and deliver a more pleasing shopping experience despite having to spend potentially more on returns. You wouldn’t want to send customers to the competition, would you?
When it comes to your deliveries, it is crucial to be clear with your fulfilment times. Your customers should be able to inquire about whether you ship from multiple locations, within what specific time frame and what speeds of shipment you offer, among other options. These critical pieces of information may be the key to helping your customers decide to shop with you.
Allow different payment options
Running an e-commerce business is all about convenience, so you should be able to offer options that favour your customers and give you an edge over your competitors. Many online shoppers tend to abandon their carts at the checkout page once they find out there aren’t enough payment options available. Covering all bases including credit card, cash on delivery and PayPal payments can convince shoppers to make that initial purchase.
Apart from giving you a competitive advantage, you’ll be able to access new markets that lead to higher revenues. And if your business is associated with globally or locally trusted payment brands and institutions, you can foster loyalty among your buying customers.
Always give customers information even before they ask
As with all forms of business dealings, communication is vital in successfully closing deals. Back when e-commerce was still a young industry, what usually happened during the shipping process is that you’d send the package and stop communication until it arrived at the recipient’s location. This doesn’t have to be the case with today’s shipping process.
The best case scenario should involve giving clear shipping options, in which case notification emails are sent after the package is shipped, with tracking numbers giving your customers a way to know the current situation of their item. If you are clear with how you are handling their package, they will know what’s happening at all times and this will relieve feelings of uncertainty involved with the whereabouts of their package
Personalise your package and show your brand
Boxes with your brand’s logo printed on the sides can instantly tell customers the package is from your company. Once they receive it, it will create a memorable point in their shopping experience, more so when you do everything right from the time they ordered the product until they received it. When you’ve managed to deliver a successful experience, you definitely want your brand’s theme to be an image they remember.
Ship to your customers as fast as possible
The most important goal in shipping is to make sure a package arrives safe and on time or even earlier if possible, so you must deliver as quickly as possible. With the exponential growth of e-commerce, companies are offering same-day shipping to stay in the competition. The key is choosing the right courier that meets your customers’ needs.
But despite your efforts, there will be times when something goes wrong, and your best efforts don’t quite make it. This is the reason why you should always under-promise and over-deliver, to keep the customer experience as pleasant as possible. It is also worth noting that allowing a little buffer gives you room to manage your customers’ expectations.
Give your customers the option to track in real time
Allowing your customers to be in the know with regards to their shipped items is a privilege that they deserve, so you should provide a way for them to track their packages in real time. This will give you the opportunity to communicate with them from the beginning of their buyer’s journey until the time they receive the products.
Providing a tracking number assigned by your courier company once their item is shipped is common practice nowadays. They can enter this number into the courier company’s website to find out the live status of their shipment.
Ideally, you should be giving your customers a reason to come back and purchase more products from your store for your business to grow. This is where incentives come in. Include materials relevant to your store in packing items that need to be shipped such as promotions, upcoming events, exclusive offers or even coupons that could be redeemed on their next purchase.
Incentives like these show that your brand is willing to go above-and-beyond to improve the experience and keep customers happy, which is great for both loyalty and advocacy.
Ask for feedback
Regular feedback from customers allows you to know if they are happy and satisfied with your service. This can easily be gathered through emails, surveys, cold calls and online reviews. All the information you will get from them is valuable in helping you improve not only your delivery of outstanding customer experience but also the efficiency of your overall business practices as well.
Encouraging feedback also shows that you value your customers’ opinions. In the age of customer-centric marketing, brands need to involve their customers in shaping the business. Remember that your primary goal is to solve their problems and fulfil their needs, not get their money.
Creating a seamless customer shipping experience is at the top of the list of goals when running an e-commerce business. Establishing this with each customer can be done through a clear and transparent line of communication where your customers are aware of how their items are handled in each stage of the shipping process.
For a more effective execution of steps to reach this level of customer experience, the final piece of the puzzle needed is to partner with a reliable shipping company that will handle all your deliveries on time. This would unquestionably fortify your process of putting outstanding customer experience first in running your business, eventually leading to sustainable growth in the e-commerce industry.
Need a delivery partner? Let the expert team at GoPeople handle all your delivery needs!
Jake Smith works as the National Sales Manager for Go People. He’s excited about the prospect of e-commerce, and how Go People can deliver the courier service of the future to businesses all around Australia. His ultimate dream is to meet the one and only Ronnie Coleman.