What does your customer want from you?
Ecommerce has been experiencing great growth and with a saturated market, keeping your customers happy is vital. New stores are popping up regularly but the ones who succeed usually start with keeping their customers coming back. You might need to adjust your operations strategy to align with what the customers needs. Online stores are trying to compete with retail stores by offering shopping convenience. This is done by offering affordable products with better service. This way the consumer’s experience is flawless and enjoyable.
Same day delivery
Being able to deliver to your customers the same day would be first prize. With many shopping options available to the consumer, you have to stand out from the rest and delivering their orders the same day is a great way to do that. This type of fast paced service is usually expensive but it is getting cheaper because of the high demand. Many florists are going this route. Give the opportunity to some customers at a premium yet affordable price.
This would mostly work in cities and suburban areas where deliveries are done on a regular basis. Delivering to the more rural areas are not always possible within a day. The good thing is customers in these areas usually understand the infrastructure around their postal and courier services. A survey done of shoppers stated that 49% of consumers said they will be more willing to shop online with a same delivery option. Unfortunately only around 15% of shops offer same day delivery. Being in that small margin of shops will be a great selling point and keep your customers coming back.
Next day delivery
As an online shopper, I am never disappointed with receiving my order the next day. This is still better than what many shops offer. Do not make this an option on your store if you are not sure that it can be done. Make sure your logistics partner is reliable and ready to deliver on this promise. I usually get frustrated when my expected date of delivery changes. Sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances you cannot deliver the next day, but at all cost try to avoid any delays. Build a relationship with your shipping company. Usually if you can find one individual within your delivery team to communicate with, you have a better chance of doing that. Nothing is worse than charging extra and not delivering on the service.
We live in a fast paced world and patience is not one of society’s strong points these days. The sooner you can get my order at my doorstep, the happier I am going to be. Delivering a good service will improve your NPS (Net Promoter Score). Be on top of the comments on your social media platforms.In line with that, I would be more like to come back to your store. Give your customers a positive experience and it will work in favor of retention rates / customer satisfaction as well as the overall perception of the store (also, word of mouth!)
Customers enjoy flexibility and the same goes for when to receive their orders. Your customer might be away on vacation and wants delivery to be on a specific date and a suggested time in the day - Redmart is currently doing this is Singapore.
There are many shipping options available and it might be challenging to decide which ones to offer to your clients. Having a flexible option where the customers choose will take the pressure off you. If you can deliver on the selected day, the consumer has no reason to complain. Delivery address options are a must. Make sure your shipping address can be edited with every order. When registering one may enter your home address which is fine for every day deliveries. If I want one specific order to be sent to a different address, I would like to have that option.
Free shipping option
Offering free shipping to your customers can serve you well. Many people will simply buy an additional item just to qualify for free shipping. There are two options to make available on your website, minimum basket threshold or no minimum basket. It really depends on what your business can afford financially. This is not a sly way of generating more sales. Customers will rather spend more money on things they can actually enjoy than throwing it at shipping costs. Generally conversation rate will increase as well as the average basket size. There is ways to do this without losing out on profit. You need to do your sums and see what the minimum threshold should be. Many times the consumer will add costly items to a cart so your profits remain stable. Of course no one shoe fits all but there are potential customers out there who only shop where free shipping is offered. It is a big USP and should be utilized. Some websites provide lists of shops that offer this. Do not lose out on this opportunity by excluding it from your options.
Updated tracking plugins
Have a system in place that automatically updates tracking information. If you have a logging system, make sure your employees are able to track the parcel and update it online. I am a compulsive tracker, especially if I am really excited about my package. Of course I don’t go online every 2 minutes but I check the tracking system at least twice a day. Seeing your order move is great assurance that you have gone with the right company. There are people out there who are still a bit weary of online shopping. We divulge our credit card information online and need to know that we can trust the process. Being able to keep track of your order in real-time eases some of those doubts.
We all have busy lives and cannot wait around for a package to be delivered indefinitely. Knowing when your order is on route to be delivered allows in organising your day better. There is no guessing game in online shopping and if you want to be a trusted company, you have to build that trust with up to date plugins like track and trace.
More than 1 delivery attempt
There are companies out there who will only attempt to deliver your package once. We don’t sit in our houses all day and might just miss our delivery by going to the store. Knowing there will be more than one delivery attempt gives great piece of mind. Consumers do not like paying for shipping and having to pay twice because no one was home is outrages. Try to make a deal with your shipping company to at least try a few times. Usually it is not very flexible. You can check out on Easyship per courier to see what they usually offer. There are a lot of shady companies who will promise you the world but have you beg to stay in line with what you promise your customers. Easyship solves this problem by giving full market visibility. Find a company that helps you grow your business and not be the cause of its failure. Your motto should be to get the orders to your customers in a good condition. Always deliver. I suppose there are exceptions where your shipping company has tried a few times and cannot get hold of someone to sign. This does not happen often though so besides the odd circumstances, always deliver.
Clear return policy
Before you start shipping your products, make sure you have a returns and refunds policy in place. This should be available to your buyers on every order. A solid policy can give the customer clarity and protect your business. This could cause a lot of time wasted discussing the policy when a problem occurs. Customers are more inclined to shop at a retailer who does not make it too difficult to return goods. One store that comes to mind is Zalando. Having a clear exchange policy can also show the consumer that you believe in your product and stand by it. If the customer is unhappy with the product, would you really want to lose this client or exchange the product? Handling the return or exchange of a product professionally will help build stronger relationships. The customer knows that you can be trusted and therefore are more likely to return. Giving this kind of surety to a consumer is very important. Unlike walk-in stores, customers don’t have the opportunity to see and feel the products. This is why the money-back guarantee is still popular today. I don’t want to cross my fingers when opening a package because I am not sure what the return policy is. If I know that you will exchange my product if I am dissatisfied, it makes for a happier customer who is excited to open the box. There is of course also times when the packaging department makes a mistake. Perhaps the wrong size was sent or the products does not match the description on the website. This is no fault of the customers and therefore the customer should be able to return to the exchange policy and follow the steps. You do not want to be bashed on social media by unhappy clients.
Your customers are the solid foundation upon which your success stands. Keep them happy and you will always have returning clients. Research successful ecommerce websites and look at their reviews. This will give you some indication of what keep the business reaching new heights. Adopt the same habits and see how it changes your customer satisfaction. I have a feeling it’s going to be positive.