Don’t fall down on the last mile of selling online.
The importance of keeping a personal touch, packaging your goods well and, most importantly, of choosing a good delivery service to complete the online buying experience.
Selling online is as much about personal service and good customer relations as face-to-face shopping. If not more so. The friendly welcome of a bricks and mortar shopping experience must be translated well to your ecommerce website. You have probably spent hours on honing your ecommerce website with inviting imagery displayed well in suitable categories. Your site has easy to view pricing. The checkout experience is a simple one, with a seamless focus on making shopping online with you a positive experience. And once that purchase is completed, it is vital that the care does not end until the customer has their delivery and issued you a well earned five star review.
The buyer should receive a well-crafted order, a confirmation email and clear delivery details. The way you pack, deliver, and follow up each order has a very strong bearing on repeat purchases. Repeat purchases matter. If the experience is a good one, a buyer will come back. Customers who make a second purchase with a brand spend three times as much as they did on their first purchase and 53% of second time buyers, go on to purchase a third time. From the first tentative searches of your website to the repeat purchases, customer retention must be a focus. Keeping the buyer happy from first key click to opening their delivered product is the key!
Wrapping, parcelling, and packaging your goods
It makes sense. Spend time and a little thought into how you will package your orders. Do not be tempted to skimp on bubble wrap, packaging or suitable boxes and envelopes to keep the goods safe on their journey. This is an opportunity for customer care and brand promotion. Print or write a wee note or a personalised delivery docket to include with the purchase. It’s the little personal touches that make all the difference.
Choosing the Right Courier/Delivery Service
Entrusting your product to the right delivery service is crucial to successfully completing the last mile of selling online. This is the one stage of the selling journey where you place your reputation, your goods, and your customer satisfaction in the hands of a third party. Make sure they are trusted and reliable. Over the past year or so, as online shopping has become a necessity and delivery services have never been busier, a chasm appeared between the delivery companies that rose to the challenge and those that muddled along.
The disparity between one company and another has never been more evident. Choosing the most cost effective yet trustworthy delivery partner is essential. A good online tracking system within that courier service should play a big part in your choice of courier. The customer does not blame the messenger for late and tardy deliveries. They blame you.
A good tracking system is crucial. We now know that a customer will click some 6 to 8 times, to check on the delivery status of their order. There is nothing more infuriating than seeing no information, or incorrect information on your order. Once they know that their purchase is on the way, they are confident and reassured in your brand.
It is reasonable to pay a courier or delivery service a fair price to bring your item undamaged from one place to another. If the courier service is too cheap, warning bells should ring. Some delivery services hold on to parcels till they have a volume to be received in an area. Your parcel can sit in a holding warehouse. This needs to be avoided. Older more established couriers offer bulk deals and there are many options to consider before deciding on your courier. An Post will deliver tracked items for as little as €9 per Kg and offer many alternatives to the frequent seller.
Common sense dictates that if a delivery service is ‘too cheap’ there are red flags that they operate on the premise that all will go well for most of their deliveries, but will let you down with good tracking, problem solving and the general logistics. There also may be ethical considerations, where contracted drivers are not paid enough for the task in hand and therefore will not represent your brand well in the world.
Speed and Accuracy
A reasonable delivery time within Ireland is 3 to 5 days. Most couriers and the An Post system will usually deliver within this time frame. Text messages from couriers to customers can avoid the parcel going missing, being left in the wheelie bin, or circling the city in a van for days.
There are many other ways to Improve a Customer’s Post-Purchase Delivery Experience.
Lost and Damaged Items
Maintain a customer focussed policy for damaged or lost items. A photograph of the damaged item can ensure that a refund is warranted. The absence of an acceptance signature or proof of delivery will make tracing mislaid or mis delivered items very difficult. Your choice of courier will negate or reduce the need for claims of lost goods.
The last mile of selling online is not entirely in your hands so make sure that you employ a trusted delivery partner and do all you can to get those repeat orders from your satisfied customers.