The 2016 holiday season demonstrated how a steep increase in eCommerce orders can lead to retailers and carriers scrambling to fulfill orders to delight shoppers. Over the course of the season, 11% of shoppers experienced an issue. The week before Christmas, that number nearly doubled as 1 in 5 shoppers received their package late.
While the holiday season is certainly when the most attention is paid to the delivery experience, at any given time approximately 10 percent of packages will be in some form of distress. The fact that a shipment is in distress is mostly unknown to both the retailer and customer. That’s multiple-millions of shipments, per day, that are leading to poor customer experiences and churn for the retailer year round.
Retailers need to take back control over the delivery to ensure they are protecting their brand from the inevitable issues that will occur when shipping goods to customers. Below are five steps retailers can take to improve the delivery to keep shoppers happy:
1. Set expectations early and understand what might make them change.
Know what is going on in the carrier network. 47% of negative feedback that occurs when no issue is flagged is due to missed expectations. If you are experiencing lower than normal on-time rates make an effort to communicate pre-purchase that current shipping estimates may be longer than normal.Furthermore, understand that the estimated delivery date shared on a tracking page will reset a shopper’s expectation and can result in disappointment if the estimated arrival date is missed even if it is still within the window communicated pre-purchase.
2. Give shoppers choice.
Two-thirds of consumers will choose to shop with a retailer based on the availability of delivery options. The first step to meeting this need is to building a network of local, regional and national carriers capable of different modes of delivery. Second is being able to dynamically optimize how to take advantage of this network in a way that is both beneficial to shoppers and makes business sense for the retailer.
3. Communicate regularly.
Shoppers will forgive most issues in transit. What they won’t forgive? Having to find out about them long after the fact. In fact, 47% of shoppers will not order from a retailer again due to a lack of visibility into delivery. Retailers need to communicate what is happening in real-time and in language shoppers can actually understand in order to keep shoppers happy.
4. Use the best data.
If your tracking page is merely a branded version of the carriers’ page you are missing the data required to communicate effectively with the customer. Deeper integration beyond the tracking API is required to truly understand what is going on, how this changes over time, and what actions can be taken to improve the experience. Furthermore, ensure your customer service representatives have all the carrier, customer and order data readily available for all in-transit shipments to ensure speedy call resolution.
5. Be proactive.
If a shipment is already in transit the most important thing retailers can do is keep shoppers as up to date as possible about the progress. In fact, 75% of shoppers want proactive communication about their shipments. Retailers should be prepared to offer solutions without a customer having to ask for it. An example of this would be expediting a package or offering a refund of shipping costs if delays seem inevitable.
Want to learn more about how we are helping our customers overcome delivery challenges? Learn more about our platform.