Ecommerce Delivery and How it Relates to the Customer Experience

By Bobbie Ttooulis, Executive Director at Global Freight Solutions (GFS) 

In 2020, eCommerce is big business for retailers. The Covid19 pandemic that has meant people have been spending more time at home has only served to accelerate the growth of this industry, especially for categories like electrical, sports equipment, gardening, pet food and kids’ toys. As the number of digital consumers grows, their expectations grow too. Retailers must meet these expectations, giving their customers a convenient and easy journey. If they don’t, customers can easily switch to a competitor online. However, customer experience doesn’t just begin and end on your website. Delivery and returns are a key factor for a positive customer journey, building customer loyalty, and growing your sales.

How Does Ecommerce Delivery Affect Sales

From the moment a customer lands on your website, eCommerce delivery starts to affect your sales. The very nature of online shopping is built on convenience for the customer, and the need for convenience extends to delivery too. Customers want control over how and when they get their parcels. Offering delivery options, from click and collect locations, day and time selection and different price points means the customer can choose what fits around their lives and how much they are willing to pay for convenience. Giving your customers choice is vital for growing your businesses as customers tend to abandon a purchase when there is a lack of convenient delivery options. Before your customers even press the buy button, the kind of delivery experience you offer matters and could be the difference between a sale or a cart abandonment.

After the sale is secured, the delivery process continues to be important in building customer loyalty. Research seems to suggest that many customers would buy again from a retailer if they had a good delivery experience. Although making sure the parcels arrive on time is part of this, communication is the key. Whether its via pre-delivery notifications or having the ability to track their parcel in real-time. As well as regular notifications, warning customers of any delays mean they aren’t left chasing down their parcel. Even if it’s doesn’t arrive exactly when they want, keeping customers aware of any developments or delays helps customers feel like they have had a good experience. The added bonus for the retailer is less time spent dealing with customer service queries.

In order to give customers a choice and ensure seamless customer experience, retailers need to build relationships with multiple carriers. One carrier can’t offer all the different services that retailers need. Not only that but working with multiple carriers enables retailers to switch who they use based on capacity and reduce delays for the customer. Multi-carrier strategies can result in more operational management, balancing different contracts, pickup times and services. Partnering with a specialised multi-carrier business can take the operational burden from retailers, handing over the management of delivery and communication to a partner with the expertise.

Don’t Neglect Returns in the Pursuit of Perfect Delivery

When assessing the customer delivery experience, many retailers focus on getting outbound delivery exactly right. However, a seamless customer journey must involve returns too. Just as delivery options can affect a sale, so too can returns be the difference between a purchase or going elsewhere. Retailers need to ensure they have a high-quality returns system, with a simple service for customers and multiple options. Returns must not be seen as a separate part of the customer journey, but as a full circle delivery and returns experience.

When it comes to communication, retailers must ensure the lines stay open during returns. Providing confirmation that their returns parcel has been received, or communicating when they will receive their refund come into play. With returns growing, and many customers over buying specifically to see the items first, this is a vital area for retailers to improve their offering.

Getting Delivery and Returns Right

Perfecting the last-mile delivery experience isn’t easy. You need to provide more options, a seamless delivery, simple returns and all while ensuring constant communication. However, it’s never been more important to get this right and businesses must focus on their strategy and find the right delivery partner. With more customers buying online, and more retailers taking to the internet to sell their products, competition is fierce. Delivery and returns can’t just be an afterthought – it is vital to building customer loyalty, secure sales and grow your business.

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