If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you know that your relationship with your customer begins the minute they walk into your store and is ongoing from that point forward. It doesn’t matter how delicious the food is, a bad experience with staff or watching a cockroach skuttle across the floor can sour a relationship with a restaurant. The same goes for eCommerce management. That’s why it’s so important to consider the customer’s post-purchase experience and why it needs to be nurtured, starting at checkout.
Establishing a good relationship with customers after payment is important for building trust and loyalty. Studies show that only 20% of consumers are likely to purchase from a retailer again after a negative delivery experience. Building a stronger relationship begins at check out. In this blog post, we’ll explore a few easy ways to uplift this relationship, like including accurate delivery lead times, being transparent about fees, keeping the customer updated on tracking, and staying in touch with email.
The name of the game in relationship building is transparency. Being upfront from the getgo will have a big payoff down the road.
Building a thorough shipping policy and sharing it with your customers will allow them to trust in your business and, in turn, will encourage them to return to your business time and time again. Your shipping policy should include guidance on the following to be certain that you’re really covering your bases: delivery lead time (more on that later), handling expectations, tracking protocols (also more on that later), tax costs, insurance coverage and return policies.
Returns are perhaps of equal importance to customers and retailers. Customers often don’t want to be locked into a purchase they can’t get out of and retailers want to cover their bases to avoid the expensive and time-consuming chargeback process. Here are some important tenants you’ll want to include in your return policy to keep your customers happy:
Delivery lead time is the period between when an order is placed and delivered. In some cases, this time is needed to actually produce the product. In others, it’s needed for sourcing. Regardless, it’s essential to let the customer know how long the production and packing will take in addition to how long an item will take to ship. It’s also wise for sellers to add an additional day or two to the tentative delivery date provided to customers, allowing for wiggle room should anything problematic come up like a stock outage, issues with the weather that delay shipping, or disruption in the supply chain.
The ideal post-purchase experience is when a package arrives on or before the tentative delivery date. The worst kind of experience being when a package’s delivery is severely delayed — after all, no one wants to be left in the dark about something they’re likely eagerly anticipating, especially if they paid for expedited shipping.
No one likes a surprise — not even a presumably good one, like a package at their doorstep. But if you already have established a thorough shipping policy, there should be no surprises when it comes to delivery timeframes. Indeed, package tracking is the expectation and easiest way to keep buyers happy.
Tracking has become such an integral part of fulfilling eCommerce orders in 2012, eBay’s policy actually that retailers offer tracking information on 90% of shipments in order to be considered a top-rated seller. Whether the shipment is being sent by FedEx, USPS, UPS, or Easyship, setting up tracking is pivotal for delivering superior service for your customers.
Whether you are shipping internationally or domestically, here are some of the benefits in the retailer-customer relationship that come with offering package tracking services:
Typically, retailers offer customers the option to choose between standard and express shipping. As the name suggests, the latter will arrive quickly, but it does come with a higher cost to compensate for the speed. The higher cost of shipping usually comes with insurance, extra communication, and four additional delivery attempts. Customers should be aware of the perks come with the services they’re paying for from the get-go.
Now that you’re offering tracking, make sure customers can access the tracking updates seamlessly. After all, it’s all about keeping the customer happy and in the know. As we previously mentioned, sending customers a branded email directing them to a dedicated tracking page on your website gives them a certain peace of mind.
You’ll notice our emphasis on the opportunity for branding. While couriers offer their own tracking pages, keeping it in-house allows you to control the visuals and messaging. Keeping customers on your own website increases the likelihood of them clicking around and making additional purchases.
Plus, as any marketer or business owner is well-aware, your email database is an important part of your sales strategy. Tracking emails may just be the start of your email marketing life cycle, encouraging customers to make purchases in the future — maybe even incentivizing them with discounts or raffles in the future.
This is a big one to keep in mind if you’re shipping internationally. For international shipping, there are two categories of hidden shipping fees you’re likely to encounter. Here, we’ll describe them in digestible terms and offer a solution for how to transparently list them.
Shipping charges are calculated based on the pickup location, the delivery destination, and the delivery hours. There are four categories of shipping fees to be aware of:
Handling fees are applied depending on the contents of a package and its dimensions. Couriers don’t want to handle cumbersome packages that contain hazardous materials.
When shipping internationally, either the sender or the recipient will have to pay for taxes and duties. The amount and payer varies depending on the destination. This can be a complex aspect of international shipping, and mistakes in terms of invoice declaration may cause your shipment to get stuck in customs. Below, we briefly describe the international import duties you can choose between:
To recap: All of this should be outlined in your company’s shipping policy, so nothing comes as a surprise to the customer. As far as shipping and handling goes, using flat rate options is a great way to standardize package sizes and materials.
If you choose to go with DDU, it may seem like a surprise fee down the line — and can be even more confusing if a package is held up at customs. It’s best to be communicative about what DDU is, why it is being charged, and how much it will cost as early as possible. That said, working with DDP allows for a more seamless shipping process. There are fewer hidden costs and it inherently lends itself to a slimmer chance of a parcel being stuck in customs due to unpaid fees. Easyship’s easy-to-use rules feature allows you to set a condition that automatically pre-selects DDP or DDU (it’s your choice!) for international shipping.
Communication is key. The worst thing you can do is go radio silent on your customers after they’ve spent their hard-earned money at your store.
Transactional emails, like tracking emails, have an average open rate of 48% — which is pretty high compared to non-transactional emails. Though that may be attributed to the 88% of online shoppers who say they track their orders, according to a 2015 report on the state of eCommerce. Your emails should alert the customer at the following touchpoints:
It’s a win-win to serve customers with the information they’re seeking while also keeping your business top of mind with branded emails that feature your logo and social media links. Easyship allows you to create beautiful, branded transactional communications.
Everyone wants their voice to be heard. And, luckily, in our digital world there are ample opportunities to elevate customer voices and validate their experiences, both in one-on-one settings and publicly.
Introducing a live chat option on your eCommerce website will help you directly communicate with your customers, whether potential or after they’ve completed a transaction. This is an effective way to boost sales or clear up any issues. Recent studies show that real-time communication on chats can lead to an increase in conversions by 38%.
Asking for customer product reviews is another way to nurture the post-purchase relationship. You can also ask for customer reviews via surveys and offer incentives, like generous discounts and gift cards. Hey, no one’s judging you for it!
If you’ve been searching for ways to offer a more transparent delivery service to your customers, communication is the foundation. The above strategies — package tracking, customer validation and transactional emails — stand tall on a sturdy foundation of transparency.
Easyship partners with the leading couriers to offer over 250+ shipping solutions. Easyship also allows you to create custom branded tracking pages and emails, providing your customers with a holistic, branded experience.