Thanks to always-on social media and search engines, customers have both knowledge and control. Because of this, they are comfortable switching suppliers – sometimes several times. Convenience is paramount – they don’t need to wait around all day for an unspecified delivery time, so they won’t. They are happy to engage, sharing their love of particular brands – but only if those brands offer what they want, where they want it, when they want it. Above all, today’s consumers want a brand experience.
If you are selling products online, then your delivery and returns processes are absolutely integral to your customers’ brand experience – they are at the ‘sharp end’ of your customers’ engagement with your company. Get them right, and you will build brand loyalty rapidly. Get them wrong, and you risk a reputational disaster.
Vidya Murali, Head of Corporate at MetaPack, providers of eCommerce delivery management software, and a key Maginus partner, recently presented “How to Improve Delivery Experience for Customers” at our User Conference. Drawing on research conducted by MetaPack and the IMRG, Vidya examined the key delivery and returns factors to consider.
96% of those surveyed as part of the IMRG and MetaPack research said that a ‘positive delivery experience would encourage them to shop with a retailer again’. But, what is a positive delivery experience?
Customer Convenience Comes First
A significant majority of respondents – 80% - want a specified time slot when they order goods online, with 82% saying that tracking their order is important to them. It’s not surprising that these qualities, which offer customers visibility and control, are considered important. Customers quite fairly don’t want to spend the entire day waiting at home for your delivery when another retailer will give them a two hour window.
More Choice = More Customers
Just over 40% of respondents (and more than 50% of the 18-38 age bracket) claimed to have abandoned online shopping baskets when presented with poor delivery options, while 66% of respondents said they have gone on to choose an alternative business with more delivery choices.
Offering a variety of delivery options can be a useful way for retailers to upsell premium products and services; nearly 50% of respondents overall said that they have paid more for goods in order to get better delivery options. Meanwhile 35% of all respondents and nearly half of 18-38-year-olds would pay more for premium delivery, making ‘VIP membership’ schemes that incorporate premium delivery services a clear value-add differentiator.
Returns aren’t just for faulty products
The returns process is an absolutely critical component of the overall delivery service. Over 70% of respondents said that they look at the returns policy before parting with their money, while over 40% said that poor returns policies had prevented them from shopping with specific retailers.
Just over 30% of UK consumers say that they order multiple goods online, with the intention of returning some of them – this figure jumps to about 45% in the crucial 18-38 age bracket. Little surprise, then, that 81% of UK consumers say that they would shop more with a retailer that made the returns process easier. Forward-thinking online retailers therefore need to ensure that their returns policy and processes are smooth, fair and easy to understand.
To offer this seamless blend of convenience and choice across the full delivery and returns lifecycle, it is essential for online retailers to incorporate automation technologies. Tight delivery timeslots and super-efficient returns processes make warehouse management and logistics both far faster-paced and complex; if these are still dominated by manual processes then errors will quickly creep in. Delivering that positive brand experience isn’t just about clever branding and chatty social media accounts – it goes all the way back to the warehouse.
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To find out more about MetaPack visit their website: www.metapack.com.