(This post was originally published on July 6, 2017. We’ve updated it for accuracy and completeness.)
Can your customers rely on your shipping policies? How often do you miss a date or ship the wrong item?
A negative shipping experience can have an irreparable impact on your relationship with customers. 84% of consumers say that they won’t return to a brand after just one poor delivery experience.
All it takes is one mistakes to erode your brand image and customer loyalty. These mistakes add up and affect your bottom line too.
If there’s one business area to focus on next, consider making it your eCommerce delivery strategy. Statistics show that a good shipping experience is more important than ever for customer retention.
Merchants Now Compete Mainly on Customer Experience
Today’s consumers choose who to buy from based on their overall customer experience. Having the lowest price or best product no longer guarantees you a sale. Consumers thoroughly research and compare products and retailers beforehand. And, don’t think they won’t compare shipping services too.
According to the NRF, 65% of consumers say they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts. Further, 39% expect two-day shipping to be free. And, if you don’t offer it, consumers will shop somewhere else. 29% of consumers have backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.
There’s no denying that shipping services play a major role in whether a customer decides to buy. Do you know if your eCommerce delivery strategy is satisfying your customers? Well, there’s a good chance you have some areas to improve on!
Reailers Aren’t Meeting Customer Expectations for eCommerce Delivery
Retailers are falling short on meeting customer’s expectations. In many cases, shoppers are turning to online marketplaces to make their purchases.
According to the UPS Pulse of the Shopper, the top two reasons that consumers decide to buy from a marketplace are better prices and free and discounted shipping rates.
What Customers Want from eCommerce Delivery
When it comes to shipping, customers want affordable prices, flexible shipping options, and fast delivery. Take a look at these stats to see what consumers want.
- 45% of U.S. consumers expect that orders placed by 1 PM to 4 PM are eligible for next-day delivery.
- 52% of U.S. consumers are interested in shipping to alternate location with extended hours for reduced fees.
- The maximum number of days people are willing to wait for an item to be delivered in exchange for free shipping has decreased from 5.5 days in 2012 to 4.1 in 2018.
- Almost 2 in 3 people have used Buy Online, Pick-Up In Store programs. Their main reasons for doing so are to avoid shipping fees, immediacy and convenience.
But, to meet these expectations, you must find an affordable way to improve your fulfillment operations. This takes time and investment and you likely have many areas that need improvement.
How To Improve eCommerce Delivery: Consider Using a 3PL
Proper fulfillment takes the organization of all the people, process, and technology needed to deliver an online order to a customer. This includes everything from your online checkout process, payment provider, and order management system, to how you pick, pack, and ship items.
When looking at your current processes, start at the beginning. Make your online checkout pages shorter and easier to fill out. As stated above, make sure expected delivery dates and options are displayed. Then, use a trustworthy payment provider that is secure. Your customers should be confident when they check out.
Now comes the part where you actually pick, pack, and ship the orders to customers. A lot can go wrong from the time an order is placed and then shipped. Many merchants struggle with this part of the process. It’s during this process that many of these types of exceptions can happen that result in delayed deliveries.
11% of all shipments experience some sort of delivery distress, or exceptions. The bulk of them result from shipping delays. Also, 7% of issues are just from bad addresses.
To overcome these challenges, many retailers turn to 3rd-party fulfillment providers, also known as 3PLs (third-party logistics) or pick and pack fulfillment services.
Not familiar with the term 3PL? See what a 3PL is and why they’re important to retailers.
Unless you’re Amazon, you probably don’t specialize in supply chain management or logistics. And, you most likely don’t have the resources to do so either. Instead, you can outsource your fulfillment to another company who does.
3PLs specialize in a certain area of supply chain management. They can handle all your fulfillment needs. To understand how 3PLs or fulfillment services can help you, check out these other articles: