Guest post: How to drive sales and increase customer loyalty with an outstanding delivery experience

“Warehouse and shipping logistics is the key to being an amazing long-term consumer brand if you have a physical product.

Not email copy.
Not website design.
Not Instagram ads.

Logistics.

The shipping / receiving / return process is a critical part of the customer experience.”

Mike Volpe – HubSpot co-founder

Fulfilment and shipping have long been the sole remit of the warehouse team. They’re viewed as an essential and wholly operational part of running an ecommerce business. Where before only giant retailers could offer delivery speed and price that got customers talking, technology improvements and courier innovations have now made it possible for retailers of all sizes to extend a top-level delivery experience to their customers.

As this trend grows, a carefully tailored delivery experience has become one of the primary differentiators that prospective customers look at, and an incredibly lucrative strategy for driving customer loyalty.

We’ve reached out to Michael Lennon, Success Manager at Zenstores, for some insight into how businesses can utilise a Shipping Experience platform to achieve this.

Assess whether shipping is working for you, not against you

Every day businesses contact me with variations on the same theme. In some way, shape or form, the logistics side of their operation is faltering, and this is preventing them from capitalising on the full sales potential of their brand.

This could be because the technology they are currently working with doesn’t enable them to provide a delivery experience that inspires repeat business, or it could be that the lack of delivery options at their storefront is actively turning customers away before they ever click the all-important “buy” button. With this in mind, I usually recommend starting with two approaches when assessing how improvements to shipping can help.

Initially, I will suggest reaching out to colleagues in customer support as they should have the best understanding of the difficulties shipping is causing. This makes sure that any changes you make are driven by the needs of your customers and contribute to remedying the existing issues that crop up day in and day out.

Customers also love letting you know what services you don’t offer, so you should always be looking at your Customer Support archive as an invaluable resource for planning your roadmap.

Then, turn to your Dispatch team. No one can offer more insight into the issues currently plaguing the logistics side of your operation than the people packing and shipping orders all day.

  • Are warehouse locations assigned to your products so the picking team can collect them quickly?

 

  • Are all of your sales channels and couriers integrated through a single Shipping Experience platform or are the dispatch team having to log into several platforms individually?

 

  • Are there any seemingly small issues that recur often enough that waste hours of time every week?

 

Utilising fulfilment and logistics to convert and retain more customers

Now that you have made sense of the issues that are preventing your fulfilment team from working at maximum capacity it’s time to apply your research to increase conversion and customer retention.

Price is important but increasingly convenience is winning out

66% of shoppers have bought goods from one retailer instead of another because they preferred the delivery services available to them”.

Flexibility is key to catering to diverse customer expectations, and although, for simplicity’s sake, most retailers only offer two types of shipping – Standard (usually free with a minimum spend) and an Expedited service – there are a host of other options available to help you stand out from the crowd and ensure customers are choosing to buy from you.

Most of all, ship on time, every time

Having an item arrive on time is the number one thing people say would make them a repeat customer of a brand.

Keep shipping at the forefront pre and post-purchase

ensuring that customers know where orders are after purchase is incredibly important. It is also the case that 50% of shoppers say they have failed to check-out because of a lack of options at the final stage of their order.

So, if you’re only offering limited shipping options there is a good chance customers are filling their carts and then turning away at the final hurdle. To minimise the chance of this happening, take stock of how clearly you’re communicating delivery options before checkout. The actual speed or cost of receiving an order shouldn’t be a last-minute surprise.

Utilise a range of shipping providers and couriers to make sure you are attentive to not only the most frugal members of your customer base, but also the individuals eager to pay more for a premium delivery experience.

Simply bringing one more courier into the fold will give you access to a range of new shipping options which should immediately translate into better conversion rates. Plus, by being able to use different shipping providers for specific sales, you could also be looking at some serious savings.

With research showing that “96% of shoppers say that they would be encouraged to shop with a retailer again if they had a positive delivery experience”, the stakes are certainly high, but with the right approach and investment in a customer-driven shipping experience, this will definitely pay off!

Thanks to Michael from Zenstores for working on this post with us. If you’d like any more information about how to fulfil the shipping side of your business, drop Michael an email at michael@zenstores.com or visit the Zenstores’ website.

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