How to Create a Positive Delivery ExperienceBy James Barnes, September 2nd 2020
In this article, we explain how important creating a positive delivery experience is for your ecommerce business and your customers, and how you can improve the delivery experience for you both.
The Importance of Delivery for Online Sellers
Extension Of Your Brand
You've worked hard to build your brand and a good reputation, and continue to do so. A courier becomes an extension of your brand when you hand over your deliveries and the control that comes with them. Do not waste all of your hard work by working with a courier that continually damages your reputation.
Your First Physical Interaction With Your Customer
Your customer will only see the delivery driver for a few moments, but it's important that they make the right impression. It might be the only human interaction your customer has with your store.
You don't want to be remembered for having a grumpy delivery driver or the business that uses the courier that chucks their parcel over the fence or leaves it in the general waste dustbin!
Chance for Repeat Custom
If you meet and try to exceed your customers' expectations throughout the buying and delivery stages, it will help boost customer loyalty. For example, you might exceed expectations by showing your customers items that match the one they've just added to their basket, and then go on to provide delivery updates and deliver on time.
Remember, it's much cheaper to retain customers than find new ones!
68% of UK shoppers would shop with a retailer again following a positive delivery experience.
— Ecommerce Delivery Consumer Research Report
The Importance of Delivery for Your Customers
Provide Good Customer Satisfaction
There are many opportunities in the buying cycle to provide your customers with a great experience; they all contribute to their overall satisfaction with your business. The delivery of their products also plays a big role in their satisfaction with your business.
They Finally See The Product!
At delivery, your customer finally gets to see the product they've purchased so they're probably looking forward to it arriving. They're double checking their order confirmation to confirm the dispatch times, checking the tracking and eventually, they see your product! Don't disappoint them with a parcel that's not up to scratch.
How Can You Improve Your Delivery Experience?
Work smarter, not harder, by automating tasks. Perhaps you check several marketplaces for orders, go onto create labels for shipping and then update the buyers with important information – this is very time consuming!
Tools like postcode look-up will increase your accuracy and marketplace automations get information to your customers quicker than you can manually. The automation of several tasks will let you spend time on other parts of your business that can't yet be automated.
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Have a Contingency Plan
Changes happen in the ecommerce industry, and sometimes quickly. Couriers go on strike, some can let you down during key events, and others sometimes fail to pick up your orders (even when you're on a schedule).
It's important to have a contingency plan if anything like this does happen. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket by relying on one courier. This way you will have options to fall back on to if needed, ultimately ensuring you meet your customers' expectations.
Pick a Delivery Partner You Can Have a Relationship With
One costly mistake you can make for your business is working with the wrong courier or delivery platform, but it's equally difficult to choose one too. There are a lot of things you need to research before working with somebody, but one of the most important things you need to ask yourself is "Can I build a relationship with them?" Here are 4 other factors to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform.
How Can You Improve Delivery for Your Customers?
Give Delivery Choice
We all – yes, you included – have become accustomed to seeing many delivery choices and it's shaping our expectations. Amazon Prime could be a culprit for this, with those of us that do use it probably expecting to see a Next Day delivery option, and it's continually evolving.
If you aren't providing multiple delivery options, you could be missing out on potential customers. Free shipping is a great option if you can offer it, even if it's an economy service, but there are other options available that you need to explore including, Flat Rate Shipping and Real-Time Rates.
Provide Comprehensive Parcel Tracking
If your customers are looking forward to their delivery they'll want to know where it is on its journey, and it's so important you're able to provide this information with comprehensive tracking.
Give your reputation an extra boost by using a delivery service that goes the extra mile and gives SMS delivery slot notifications.
Offer Support When Delivery Goes Wrong
Things go wrong in this industry, but how these issues are handled is the most important part. You need to offer support, and work with a delivery partner that can help you support your customers.
Dealing with issues proactively – sometimes even before the customer notices there is an issue – should be the goal here. Minimising the chances for disappointment and also, managing their expectations. Positive, emotional engagement will give you the best chance of repeat business and loyal customers.
Be Upfront and Transparent
Keeping your customers informed costs you nothing, and it goes a long way in terms of gaining their respect. You should contact your customers and be honest about why their parcel is delayed, and what you have done to resolve it. Reasonable people will understand and you can still give them a positive experience out of a negative situation.
Your Delivery Timeline
Set expectations right from the begining of your customers' journey and meet these. This could be having key information on product and FAQ pages or simply having your contact details on your online store. This way, your customers will know you're easy to contact should they need you.
Your packaging ensures that your products arrive in good shape. If you use the wrong packaging or you don't follow guidelines, you risk them arriving damaged which will impact on your customers' satisfaction and your reputation.
Did you know that you should be able to drop your parcel from waist height and the products inside should remain intact to meet the industry standard?
Once you have chosen the best boxes and protective materials for your product(s), have them available – this way you can get your items sent as soon as somebody has placed an order.
Don't forget that packaging gives you the opportunity to impress your customers, and perhaps they'll make an unboxing video! There are brands that definitely stand out in our minds including Apple and Samsung that provide that luxury feel when it comes to packaging and unboxing.
Packaging inserts can help boost your brand awareness and customer loyalty. With a guaranteed open rate, you can request social media shares and reviews and also cross sell your other products.
Take some time to work out which delivery services best suit your products. By matching packaging and shipping services to your products, you’ll be ready to dispatch your items quicker, and it’ll be a smoother process.
Working with several couriers can be difficult to juggle, but there are delivery platforms out there to make it easier for you. Despatch Bay is partnered with several couriers, bringing all of the delivery services online retailers need under one roof; plus much more including marketplace and courier integrations and support.
How To Find the Right Delivery Partner
It's important that you research who you're going to work with. Online is a good place to start, feedback is constantly updated but word of mouth is good too!
You need to decide on the most important things for your business when looking for a courier. Cost is not the most important! If you choose the cheapest courier it will probably cost you more long term.
- Time chasing the courier asking where your parcel is
- Lost parcels and long winded claims process
- Most importantly, it will cost you your reputation
You should consider:
- Can they help you by automating any of your tasks?
- Can you have an assigned support person or account manager?
- Do you have a choice of delivery services?
Now you have the information, you need to think about your delivery and the experience it provides both your business and customers.
To summarise, the courier is an extension of your brand, the delivery is your first physical interaction with your customers and there's an opportunity to encourage repeat custom. Whilst, your customers expect a good experience following on from their buying experience, see their product for the first time and finally, build an impression of your company.
You can now go ahead and research ecommerce platforms you can build a relationship with to automate some of your tasks and have a contingency plan (to touch upon some key points) so you can spend time improving your business' and customers' delivery experience. Let us know what improvements you see!
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