There are many ways in which a business may establish and sustain customer loyalty. Many businesses attack it from the perspective of churn rates and discounts, but few think about using shipping, delivery, and packaging as way to gain customer loyalty.
We’ve put together 5 strategies that any e-commerce business can use to increase the loyalty of their customer base.
Send Personalized Messages
Some businesses add personalized letters from the founders directly in their shipments. This model is most used by smaller businesses where the message comes across as more sincere, and removes the barrier between the consumer and the business.
Subsidize Shipping Costs
Research suggests that consumers are more likely to buy a more expensive item of the same quality if it has a free shipping option. This is an especially useful tactic in price-sensitive industries where shipping costs can make or break a sale. To determine how sensitive a target demographic is to shipping expenses, businesses can split-test various promotions throughout the year, adjusted for the natural fluctuation from seasonal demand.
One way to make free shipping happen while still keeping costs low is to use a service such as Shippo to compare shipping rates across different carriers and service levels.
Provide Free Sampler Items
Exceeding customer expectations (even if they were low to begin with) will always earn more loyalty, even if the business meets “very high expectations”. A simple way to exceed expectations is to throw in a few low cost items to a customer’s orders to surprise and delight them. Moreover, it’s also an easy way to introduce new product lines that had not yet been released or considered by that customer yet.
Package Your Brand
When it comes to packaging, many businesses focus on the most cost effective solution. However, it may not be the most advantageous tactic for businesses who are establishing a premium brand. Having a well thought-out unpackaging experience and using luxurious shipping material can dramatically increase the quality perception of a premium brand.
Request Consumer Feedback
Some businesses opt to request customer feedback within their shipments. It’s a great way to show customers that they are eager to hear about concerns and willing to improve. Requesting customer feedback, and taking action to solve them can significantly improve the quality of service as well as increase customer loyalty. It’s a great way to provide customers a private channel in which to express their concerns.
These five points are by no means the only things that can be done do to delight customers with shipping. Utilizing shipping platforms like Shippo to compare shipping rates, print shipping labels (and return labels), as well as getting tracking information to provide great service can go a long way.
Remember: shipping is no longer just an operational task.
We hope that these ideas can help businesses utilize their opportunity to connect with customers in a more personal way.
Chase Hughes is a founding partner of Pro Business Plans, a service that helps startups create business plans for debt and equity capital. Chase has seven years of executive level experience in the investment banking and management consulting industry. He previously started a business intelligence company, Kaizen Solutions, that sold to a foreign acquirer in 2013.
Shippo is a multi-carrier API and web app that helps retailers, marketplaces and platforms connect to a global network of carriers. Businesses use Shippo to get real-time rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages and facilitate returns. Shippo provides the tools to help businesses succeed through shipping.