Many eCommerce retailers today understand that the delivery experience is a major contributing factor to the overall customer experience. In fact, new research conducted by eCommerce last-mile delivery platform, FarEye, found that 85% of U.S. consumers will not shop with a brand again after having had a poor delivery experience. This realization has caused savvy retailers to focus their attention on offering top-tier delivery service.
A great delivery experience encapsulates key moments for the consumer both pre- and post-purchase, and is not limited to the singular moment a package lands on a customer’s doorstep. The experience for the consumer starts long before that and continues even beyond the initial unboxing. But what is actually involved in providing a great experience? We’ve identified 4 ways retailers can level up in this area and keep customers coming back.
Free & Fast Shipping
Many retailers would agree that the delivery experience actually starts when the consumer begins their shopping journey on the retailer’s website. Research has even shown that the delivery experience is actually a critical factor in purchase intention. A survey from FarEye found that almost nine in 10 (88%) respondents will abandon their online shopping cart if delivery terms aren’t up to their standards, such as slow delivery or high costs.
62% of shoppers expect their orders to arrive in less than 3 business days when choosing free shipping.
Today’s consumers want shipping that’s free and fast, and they’re willing to go elsewhere if they visit an eCommerce business that doesn’t meet their delivery expectations. Recent research from X Delivery and the Retail Management Institute of Santa Clara University sheds light on specifically what consumers want: 62% of shoppers now expect their orders to arrive in less than 3 business days when choosing free shipping.
These days, proactive customer communication is table stakes in the eCommerce industry. When a customer places an order on a retailer’s website, they expect to receive regular email communication on key milestones such as order confirmed, shipped, and delivered (as well as potential delays). As a bonus, some retailers now offer text or WhatsApp messages in addition to email notifications so customers can receive updates on-the-go.
These types of transactional messages build trust, giving customers the reassurance and peace of mind that their orders will be successfully fulfilled. Proactive communication can also prevent customers from submitting inbound support tickets asking about the status of their orders, which saves your support team from answering high volumes of repetitive questions.
A thoughtful unboxing experience has the potential to boost customer satisfaction and long-term brand loyalty. For premium brands, packaging is not just an afterthought—it can be as important as the product itself. Apple, one of the most renowned retailers of our time, has nailed the unboxing experience down to a tee, dedicating entire teams to packaging design alone. Attractive, functional, and durable, Apple’s packaging gives customers an exciting sensory experience before they even get their hands on the actual product.
Well-designed, personalized inserts with the customer’s name or recommended products can also add to the ‘wow’ factor of unboxing an order, making customers feel special and creating a memorable experience.
Stand Out with Packaging Solutions by Kenco
In a fiercely competitive eCommerce market, Kenco provides the fulfillment and logistics support savvy merchants need to get noticed and be remembered by customers. Easily add customized inserts to each shipment, giving your customers an experience that’s unforgettable.
As an added bonus, premium packaging can also play a role in your company’s marketing strategy, with social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, as well as YouTube, hosting millions of unboxing videos. These videos show consumers simply opening their packages for items like apparel, toys, luxury goods, and more, as they discuss their experience on camera. The trend has become immensely popular over the years—on TikTok, the hashtag #unboxing has been viewed 45.4 billion times.
Easy & Convenient Returns
The average rate of returns for online purchases was 20.8% in 2021, up from 18.1% the year prior, according to research from National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail. Returns are an inevitable reality for retailers—especially online merchants because customers aren’t able to see, touch, or try on an item in person. The reasons for submitting a return can vary, including customers receiving a damaged or incorrect product, fit and sizing issues, receiving an item not as pictured, and more. Similar to their expectations around free and fast shipping, consumers expect retailers to have generous and convenient returns policies and procedures.
Forecasting returns is more difficult than forecasting sales, which can make it almost impossible to factor into planning. However, with solutions like predictive analytics, you can get better insight into consumer returns behavior, identifying patterns on the items that are more likely to be returned from multiple orders.
Upholding delivery standards as your business grows
As your business grows, certain aspects of your delivery operations will need to evolve to keep pace with increasing demand. For example, while you might have sent handwritten notes out to your first 100 customers, this activity will be harder to maintain when you hit 5,000 customers and beyond. With growth comes necessary trade-offs, but it certainly doesn’t mean your customer’s delivery experience has to suffer.
Read our newest eBook, Delivering the WOW! Factor, to find out how you can scale delivery operations and maintain a high quality of service as your business reaches new milestones. In the eBook, we cover key topics and areas of improvement, like inventory optimization, distributed order management, returns management, and delivery partner communications. Download it here.