Shipping can be one of the most stressful parts of an online transaction. The customer has already paid for a product, but does not actually have it in hand. The retailer, devoted to customer service wants to ensure their products makes it promptly to the buyer!
There are some commonsense steps a retailer can take to at least help the customer feel more comfortable with the process. Here are some simple ways to improve a customer’s shipping experience.
1. Provide an Estimated Delivery Date
At checkout, some 60 percent of online shoppers want to see either an estimated delivery date or — better yet — a guaranteed delivery date for each available shipping option, according to a comScore report.
Although it may seem like showing an estimated shipping date would be commonsense, this is still a feature that many online stores are missing.
Without delivery dates, the customer cannot really make a good decision on the final purchase of the product, especially if getting the product delivered by a certain date is a must. If she has a limited budget that would exclude the overnight option, she might just decide to shop elsewhere or pick a less expensive item.
2. Send out a Shipping Notification
Shipping notification emails are typically no big deal when they arrive. When a customer receives one, he might just glance at it and delete it. Maybe he will let it linger in his inbox or a folder in case something happens. But for the most part it gets little attention. But if that shipping notification email doesn’t show up at all, that customer may call the retailer, believing something has gone wrong.
3. Offer SMS Updates
Text messages — which are more formally known as SMS — are incredibly popular. On a typical day American mobile phone users will collectively send and receive more than 6 billion of them, according to Forrester. What’s more certain customer segments prefer SMS to email.
Infrastructure-as-a-service companies like Twilio make it relatively easy to send shoppers SMS order and shipping notifications. It is little more than commonsense to give shoppers the option to receive SMS notifications too. This is especially thoughtful considering that roughly 11 percent of ecommerce sales come from mobile devices.
4. Provide Many Shipping Options
“Online shoppers have a range of time they are willing to wait for the delivery of their orders,” explained comScore in its Online Shopping Customer Experience Study. “Retailers that offer a range of delivery time options allow themselves to appeal to a wider range of customers. While 48 percent of customers stated that they are not willing to wait more than five days for most of their purchases, 23 percent said they would be willing to wait eight days or more.”
5. Streamline Processing
Despite the comScore study on tolerable shipping times, faster is still better.
Try to streamline order fulfillment, minimizing the time between when an order is placed and when that order is shipped. There are typically a couple of common bottlenecks.
Make sure that those who do the packing are notified immediately when an order is placed. In small retail businesses where employees have more than one job to do, consider using SMS or even an automated phone call to notify the packer.
Streamline the packing process too. For example, have plenty of box sizes, easy packing materials, and easy-to-use tape dispensers, so that the physical task of packing goes more quickly.
Even label-specific printers can help to improve speed.
6. Offer Reliable, Helpful Online Tracking Information
Three quarters of online shoppers said that order-tracking information was an important service, again according to comScore.
Let customers have plenty of options for package tracking, including on-site tracking, links to the carrier’s site for tracking, and the ability to track orders from mobile devices.
7. Offer Some Form of Free Shipping
Free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions — 58% have added items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping and 83% are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery if shipping is free. More than one-half of online shoppers said they want to see the total purchase cost early in the checkout process, and the majority prefer seeing the expected arrival date rather than the number of days it will take for the product to arrive, according to comscore.com
About United Delivery Service:
For more than four decades, UDS has forged relationships with companies that demand reliability, honesty and consistency day in and day out. Working with leading businesses in pharmaceutical, payroll and other high-profile markets, we maintain a standard of excellence in our people, technology and services.
We strive to partner with progressive companies and to provide a high level delivery solution that will meet or exceed your customers’ highest expectations. UDS has tailored its solutions to specific industry requirements, ranging from pharmaceutical to floral and Residential to B2B. Our operation, as well as our software, can scale to handle the needs of small and large businesses alike. Call us today 630.930.5201!