Commentary

Post Sale Consumer Communications Essential

A new study by MultiChannelMerchant, sponsored by Convey, suggests that true post-purchase experience reinvention is required as consumers buy more online, particularly larger items where tracking data is often inconsistent and spread across many freight and white glove carriers.

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Convey is a unique team of ecommerce leaders, company builders, scientists and freight transportation experts reinventing how retailers engage consumers post-purchase.

There is little that can churn a customer faster than a poor delivery experience marked by lack of real time tracking and pro-active communication, inconvenient returns and even a failure to recognize a consumer’s high lifetime value when decisioning carrier and mode, says the report.

When it comes to delivering a superior direct-to-customer experience, it is essential that the merchant, whether it’s a reseller or a brand, has the ability to follow through and support the consumer both pre- and post-sale. Once a consumer makes a purchase decision, whom they buy it from is greatly influenced by the options and expectations offered, and their experience with, the reseller or brand, says the report.

Once the purchase has been made, the information about the package is the number-one thing that the consumer is looking for. Regardless of shipping method (same day, ship-to-store, economy shipping) the customer wants to know that the package was shipped, and when he or she is going to get it. And data has shown that the customer wants to know that information before he or she decides to hit the buy button.

With customer expectations rising, merchants are turning to customer delivery for their next competitive advantage. To compete in an ecommerce space dominated by Amazon, retailers must identify and cater to what matters most to each individual customer. Part of that is being able to optimize the fulfillment and delivery experience. While one customer may prioritize fast shipping, others may be cost sensitive or desire a higher quality experience, notes the report.

Personalizing the delivery experience, says the report, can also mean sending personalized shipment updates, either through a self-service portal, SMS or email. In the event that shoppers call, conversations with customer care representatives should have the customer’s purchase history at hand.

Delivering personalized experiences means being able to adapt and potentially diversify delivery options for shoppers based on real-time data. Personalzing the delivery experience requires knowledge of the order and customer history to map to the best method of delivery.

Rob Taylor, CEO and co-founder of customer delivery experience enterprise solution, Convey, say that “… today’s top retailers recognize that to succeed, customer loyalty must be a core focus… (in) customer perception, the delivery experience is one of the most influential factors… meeting these expectations… improving the delivery experience is pivotal to… top line revenue and bottom line cost…”

In June, Convey released the findings of a consumer survey titled The Cost of Poor Delivery: Four Steps To Go from “Cost Center” To “Competitive Advantage,” highlighting how the delivery experience shapes consumers’ opinions about a retailer and the overall customer experience.

  • That survey found that 66% of commerce shoppers consider delivery a decisive factor of the shopping experience. In addition, 70.1% of consumers report they are unlikely to return after a poor delivery experience.
  • According to the survey, only 11.3% of consumers say delivery experience is a strength of retailers today. 43% of shoppers expect their delivery experience to be personalized based on their order and purchase history, with 39% expecting to receive a better experience if they’ve shopped with a retailer before.
  • The study results show that 75% of shoppers believe proactive communication is important, with 38% expecting to be notified immediately in the event of an issue. 54% of shoppers have indicated that delivery concerns are at least somewhat likely to prevent them from making large-item purchases online.
  • Cynthia Kleinbaum, the former Senior Director of Marketing at Gilt Group, reports that “…confirmation is a rare occasion when a customer wants to get an email, and open it… after that, everybody wants to know when their package has left the distribution center, and a lot of people like to get that push notification.”

The Dotcom Distribution Ecommerce Packaging Study 2016, released in September, validates Convey’s results, and finds that online shoppers also value fulfillment transparency. The study shows that shows that 47% of shoppers have chosen not to order from a retailer again because of poor order transparency or a lack of insight into the status of a package throughout the fulfillment and delivery process.

Shoppers surveyed by Dotcom Distribution said they have the most insight into order status when their order is shipped (35%) and the least insight when their order is placed (39%). However, respondents said having more information about order status when their package is in transit would make them more likely to purchase from a retailer again.

For additional information please visit Multichannelmerchant here, or Convey here.

 

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