Every touchpoint along your customers’ e-commerce journey presents an opportunity to not only meet, but exceed their expectations. And while there are plenty of obvious ways to stand out — with strategic promos, for instance, or creative marketing campaigns — one often-neglected opportunity can be found in an essential portion of that journey: your shipping and fulfillment experience.
Here are a few tips to help you build and implement a shipping strategy that surprises and delights throughout the e-commerce journey:
To help encourage more purchases on your site:
- Be upfront and transparent about what customers should expect: 41% of consumers say a delivery estimate is important to see. Meet these expectations by including clear language about what your shipping process looks like and which options are available — and making sure the messaging is front and center.
- Offer free shipping across the board or over a certain threshold: Not all merchants can offer free and fast shipping, but as long as you’re clear about the stipulations (that free shipping comes with a few extra days tacked on, for example, or is only available after a certain price point), it’s still very much a selling point.
- Let your customers choose the best option for their needs: 80% of consumers care about seeing shipping cost at checkout, and 72% choose according to speed or cost. If some people prefer free, while others prefer fast, offering multiple options at checkout opens the door for everyone to choose the shipping cost and time that work best for them.
To ensure a customer-friendly delivery experience:
- Get your orders out the door quickly: It’s a good rule of thumb to fulfill your orders the same day they’re placed — otherwise, you put your delivery timelines, pre-communicated shipping promises, and customer satisfaction at risk.
- Provide a personalized or unique brand experience: A great way to make a memorable impression is to include a unique, personalized touch to the delivery experience. Adding a handwritten note, for example, or branded sticker to your packaging can really help you stand out and shine in your customers’ minds.
- Keep customers in the loop at every step of the way: Today’s consumers want to know when their packages get picked up, are en route, and land on their doorsteps. Communicate with them at every stage to avoid confusion and inspire trust.
To continue driving loyalty long after the unboxing:
- Offer hassle-free returns and exchanges: E-commerce returns can be stressful for consumers — simplify the process and keep customers at ease by providing a clear policy up-front, and offering return labels for use if needed.
- Listen to your customers: One easy way to find out what’s working and what’s not is simple: just ask! Gather feedback from your customers and iterate on your strategy to improve their experience.
- Learn, optimize, and grow: Keep an eye on e-commerce performance at every step of the way to gauge where you can build in more efficiencies and tweak tactics to inspire customer loyalty and drive more sales!
For more expert tips on how to surprise and delight with a seamless end-to-end shipping experience, be sure to watch our on-demand webinar co-presented with Square, E-Commerce Shipping Strategy 101: Scaling Operations, Prepping for Peak & More.