Seamless Customer Experience with the Right Shipping Solution
This is a guest post from our partner Linnworks.
The customer experience your brand delivers is what keeps consumers coming back time and time again.
The sum of all interactions your customers have with your brand is their customer experience. Customer experience is deeper than searching for one product or the click of the buy button. It's the thoughts, feelings, and opinions your customers have of your brand at every stage of their buying journey.
Customers who feel positive about their interactions with your brand want to continue doing business with you. You need to be where your customers are, and the right shipping solution helps.
From product discovery across marketplaces and social platforms to your eCommerce shipping solution, every aspect of your business should strategically align to provide a positive customer experience.
Customer experience counts. According to PwC, 65% of customers in the U.S. think a positive experience with a brand is more influential to them than advertising. Customers prefer brands that offer a good customer experience because it simply makes them feel good.
Today's economy is effortless — and consumers want convenience. They want to purchase products on their terms with minimal friction and effort. They expect the customer experience to be effortless and seamless. Customers stay loyal to (and spend more money with) brands that consistently deliver on that experience.
Ecommerce trends research from Linnworks highlights that for 95% of consumers, delivery options are a crucial factor in the purchasing process. Customers expect complete transparency with delivery costs and timing. And the eCommerce shipping solution you choose is a significant contributor to the delivery experience.
A Seamless Customer Experience and Your eCommerce Shipping Solution
The shipping solution you choose directly impacts the customer experience. The right eCommerce shipping solution makes that experience seamless from beginning to end.
Below are some ways you can use your shipping solution to help you create an experience that promotes customer loyalty, differentiates you in a competitive market, and increases profit.
Offer Multiple Carrier and Shipping Options
A seamless shipping and delivery experience offer consumers multiple options for the most efficient, cost-effective shipping methods.
There are various shipping strategy options available in the order management process including expedited, free, and flat rate shipping. The key is understanding your customers' expectations and meeting them.
While some consumers are willing to pay more for faster shipping, others may want free shipping. A seamless and frictionless customer experience prioritizes the consumer choice to ship how they want.
Offering multiple shipping and delivery options is a key part of personalizing the buying experience. Personalization is the ultimate convenience — the more your customer feels your brand meets their specific needs, the better. Your eCommerce shipping solution should help determine the best carrier and most cost-effective delivery option to meet your customers' unique shipping needs.
Automate the Shipping Process
Your brand has to strike a balance between the aspects of your business that you can automate and the aspects that require a more human approach.
Even in a digital world, there are situations where human-centered business practices take precedence. For example, human interaction can enhance the customer experience by providing empathy and understanding that technology can't when a customer needs guidance through a difficult problem. For instance, a product your customer needs arrives damaged. An empathetic response from a person may prevent them from leaving a negative review on a social platform.
Consumers want things done quickly. By offering fast shipping and delivery (with minimal errors), you can meet and even exceed this expectation. Shipping and delivery are an area of the business where human interaction isn't necessary and can be done with automation.
Automation can significantly help accelerate up your workflow and, in turn, the buying process. Shipping and delivery elements, such as label creation and tracking updates, should be automated to improve speed, organization, and to reduce the risk of human error.
In addition to shipping automation, inventory management is another aspect of business that can be automated. Inventory management techniques ensure you have enough stock to meet consumer demand, but not so much that you waste valuable warehouse space and money on overstock.
Inventory management works hand in hand with your shipping solution, making sure the products listed for sale are available and ready to ship. Inventory management makes any shipping and delivery solution you choose much more effective. When products listed in stock are available and ready to ship, and they're shipped how the customer wants — that improves the customer experience.
Track Shipments in Real-Time
Real-time data is key to shipping transparency and matters in the customer experience even before a product ships. In fact, 72% of consumers have abandoned a purchase over a lack of shipping transparency before they even click the buy button, according to research from Linnworks. To prevent this from happening, provide shipping and delivery information (such as cost and expected delivery date) from your website without redirecting customers to an unknown (and therefore less trusted) site.
Additionally, few things are as disruptive to the customer experience as a shipment delivered to the wrong place. The ability to verify a delivery location is critical to ensure products make it to the right place.
Footwear company, Atoms Shoes, provides a great example of real-time tracking and address verification. Before accepting payment information, Atoms verifies the address the customer inputs. Then, before purchase, Atoms provides estimated shipping information. After purchase, customers receive a purchase confirmation email, a shipment confirmation email with a link to real-time tracking, and finally, a delivery confirmation email. This level of shipping and delivery transparency is the effortless and seamless customer experience now expected by consumers.
Use Analytics to Improve the Customer Experience
Finally, an eCommerce shipping solution should give you insight into how shipping and delivery perform. Analytics provide carrier delivery performance, shipping, and delivery accuracy, and lead time accuracy.
Analytics are essential to understanding problems with delivery. The insights you get from analytics ensure you're meeting customer demand by decreasing the time it takes to deliver your products. Think about it — if you don't know how your shipping and delivery is performing, you won't know how or where to improve your customer experience.
For example, you can compare the delivery data collected to the estimated delivery time given to customers. Then, in those cases with discrepancies, you can further analyze those shipments, determine why the delivery estimation was incorrect, and improve the overall process (which enhances the customer experience).
The Future of Customer Experience
The customer experience your brand delivers matters more than ever before. Forbes highlights that the future of customer experience is personalization, differentiation, and customer-centered business practices combined with automation.
Your eCommerce shipping solution can help the future of customer experience begin for your brand now. By providing customer shipping choice, shipping transparency, offering automation for efficiency and analyzing data to serve your customers better, you'll be ahead of the curve, creating the positive and seamless customer experience of the future.
For more insights on the customer experience, download Linnworks' latest consumer research on the effortless economy.