Shopper expectations are on the rise and post-purchase experiences like delivery can make or break a brand. In 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Why the shift? Customer expectations are rising; retaining and growing loyalty is becoming more difficult.
To many, this will come in the form of various pre-purchase initiatives including things like better merchandising, site content, site personalization etc. But the delivery experience, while often overlooked as a cost center, is quite possibly the most impactful area to drive customer experience improvements. The customer is forming impressions about the brand throughout the purchase experience and these impressions are reaffirmed or destroyed by the experience they receive through the delivery process.
In fact, 40% of shoppers consider the post-purchase experience the most memorable aspect of the overall brand experience, and 79% that say it’s important that these experiences be positive. Despite the importance of these experiences, only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations! Yes, you read that correctly – only 1%!
What does this mean for retailers?
Increased customer expectations for delivery are influencing how retailers manage their logistics and supply chain operations. More than ever, supply chain and customer service goals are becoming intertwined. In fact, in 2016, 26% of executives said enhancing customer service would be the primary supply chain strategy (more than double the response from 2015).
To be competitive in today’s world, retailers must focus on the experience throughout the entire order lifecycle. Research has shown that customer-focused fulfillment can have a dramatic impact on whether a customer will stay or leave to shop with a competitor.
To transform delivery into a competitive advantage will require finding a balance between simply reducing costs and metrics that impact the customer’s experience. The key will be to focus on real-time performance data to drive fulfillment decisions that are tied to each unique customer and order but still aligned to business goals.
Stay tuned- next week we will be sharing some very exciting new research on this topic!
If you missed it, there was a whole track dedicated to the post-purchase experience at Shoptalk. Check out our twitter feed for sound bytes from the conference and how other retailers are thinking about it.