Taking special care to show your customers just how much you appreciate their business is a top priority all year round, but the holidays offer a unique opportunity to stand out from the rest of the retail crowd.
One way to make a memorable impression is with a festive unboxing experience, adding creative brand elements to your packaging or personalizing each order with a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note. But you don’t have to wait until the package arrives — in fact, there are multiple touchpoints along the fulfillment journey where you can work to grow customer love and trust:
- Offer multiple shipping options: No two customers are alike, and that means you should be equipped to meet a variety of consumer preferences and needs. Some people prefer free, while others prefer fast — by offering multiple options at checkout that meet a variety of preferences, you open the door for more customers to choose the shipping cost and time that work best for them.
- Set shipping and delivery expectations upfront: Include clear language about what your shipping process looks like and what options are available — and make sure the messaging is front and center. For example, while not all merchants can offer free and fast shipping, as long as you’re clear about the stipulations (e.g., free shipping comes with a few extra days tacked on, or is only available after a certain threshold), it’s still very much a selling point.
- Shipping insurance: Offering the chance to insure a package, especially for those containing higher-value orders, will give your customers much-needed peace of mind at check-out and throughout the delivery process. Shipping solutions such as Shippo allow you to easily add third-party shipping insurance to any qualified order while purchasing the label, which makes it incredibly easy to protect valuable shipments during this busiest time of year.
- Order tracking and updates: Consumers visit an order tracking page, on average, 3.5 times per order. It’s clear today’s online shoppers want to be kept in-the-know at every step, from package pick-up, to movement en route, and upon arrival on the doorstep. Communicate with them consistently to avoid confusion, frustration, or worse. You’ll keep them at ease by not only providing access to tracking information, but offering proactive updates through email, SMS, or other popular communication channels. You can even use your order tracking experience to further engage with your customers. With Shippo’s tracking feature, for instance, you can recommend products, promote sales, and highlight upcoming events. You can also clearly communicate important information such as your return policy (but more on that later).
When all is said and done, the best way to gauge your customer experience throughout the full journey is simple — just ask! You can gather feedback via CSAT surveys, review sites, social media, or even just a simple email requesting a response about how you did. However you decide to gather and analyze the data, this practice not only helps you make informed decisions about how to improve your offerings next holiday season, it also provides more immediate fulfillment strategy insights for the new year, and shows your customers that you care about and their experiences and opinions – both good and bad.
Depending on your approach, your e-commerce experience over the holidays can make or break a consumer’s relationship with your brand. Essentially, today’s shoppers want a) choice and b) clear communication — hit both targets by allowing them to decide which fulfillment options are best for their individual needs, and keeping them in the loop every step of the way to inspire confidence in your brand.
For more tips to help you stay on top of peak season operations – including how to ship packages at peak efficiency, manage inventory as it ebbs and flows, and get ahead of returns – be sure to download our full How to Prep for Peak Season Shipping Guide & Checklist.