Getting the delivery process right is one of the most important challenges facing e-commerce store managers today. Customers expectations are high and competition is fierce. With Amazon leading the way in rapid and effective delivery, the pressure has never been greater on online retailers to offer a smooth and efficient delivery process. While competing with Amazon may be difficult, it is still possible to deliver an excellent delivery experience for your clients.
What are your customer’s expectations prior to placing the order?
Once the order is placed, your customer wants their item as quickly as possible. However, if you don’t follow key user experience guidance when it comes to delivery, you won’t even get the order in the first place. Consumers expect clear and visible delivery information without having to hunt for it or face unexpected delivery charges at the checkout. An econsultancy survey found that 74% of respondents have abandoned a basket due to high delivery charges. They also want to know how easy it will be to return items. This is more applicable in industries such as fashion that face the highest returns due to people either ordering an item in multiple sizes or the individual purchase not fitting their needs when they tried it on.
Further to this, there should be a free delivery option. The previously mentioned econsultancy survey also found 58% of respondents suggesting that they would choose free or discounted shipping as the main way to improve the experience. Free delivery is also a very effective method for increasing the average order value. A report from RJ Metrics states that 40% of online shoppers will spend more to meet the free delivery threshold.
Click and collect is also growing in popularity. It works very well if you have a large network of stores, however, if you don’t, there are third-party providers such as Doddle that enable you to offer something close to the real thing.
What are your customer’s expectations once the order has been placed?
Once you have won the order, there are still further expectations from the customer including:
Clear confirmation emails and texts – Customers expect to receive regular updates throughout the process as to the status of their order. You must ensure that they are not only receiving confirmation of the order, but also when the order has been shipped.
Easy to use tracking information – Once the order has been shipped, they expect to receive a tracking number enabling them to check the status of the delivery.
One hour timeslot – A growing number of couriers provide the facility to email and text the customer with a one hour delivery window on the day of delivery. The survey by Metapack found that 80% of respondents expected this feature.
Multi channel pro-active support – It needs to be easy for a customer to contact you with a question about their order using their desired method. This includes a non-premium rate telephone number, email, live chat and even having an extensive FAQ section for delivery. Generally, the customer does not want to have to deal with the courier, so if they contact with an issue, they want to know that you will communicate with the courier on their behalf.
What is the impact of getting it wrong?
The impact of getting the delivery process wrong can be huge. The previously mentioned survey by Metapack found that 45% of consumers would be unlikely to purchase from the same retailer again following a poor delivery experience. Further to this, they also found that 40% of consumers that had a poor delivery experience would broadcast this on social media. This can have a further negative impact as 56% of consumers said that bad reviews of delivery on social media would influence who they shop with.
How can you get it right?
There are many things that you can do to get it right. And if you do get it right, that can pay off well. Metapack also found that 96% of consumers who experienced a positive delivery experience would be likely to shop with that retailer again.
The first thing to do is to review the above points when it comes to customer’s expectations for delivery. How do they compare to what you are currently offering? If you find gaps, then these need fixing first.
Even with the best process in place, you will still encounter issues, but how you deal with these can have a deciding effect on your customer’s impression of the experience. For example, if a customer has paid extra for next day delivery, but the courier misses that deadline. The simplest thing to do here is to refund the delivery charge without quibble. Further to this, you could send a handwritten note and a discount code for their next order. If there was an issue with a delivery that did not encompass a delivery charge, then the note and discount card should suffice.
Bare in mind, that this should not be a common occurrence and if it is turning into one, then it is time to review your delivery partner and see if there is a more reliable provider.