Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Delivery Experience
By Brandi Smith, Marketing Director
As recently as just a couple of years ago, the term “delivery experience” was little more than an industry buzzword, often prefaced by “the Amazon effect” or “the ecommerce boom.” However, delivery experience has rapidly become a strategic focal point for many companies, particularly with the current global crisis. Virtually every industry has been impacted, which has amplified delivery experience expectations by consumers.
Retailers and shippers in particular are working overtime to pivot their operations to keep families supplied with essential goods. Many brands that once used an omnichannel model had to shift their focus to be exclusively ecommerce and delivery, which can be very complex. While we patiently await and gradually return to “normal,” many brands realize that will translate into a “new normal.” A realization has come to light that now is the time to innovate and expand to capture market share. And as consumers adopt different behaviors and appreciate the benefits of new delivery options, they will expect brands to continue to meet their expectations in the ordering and post-purchase shipping and delivery experience.
Customer expectations are rapidly evolving in this realm. They expect a positive, consistent, transparent, and frictionless delivery experience, and companies that fail to meet these expectations risk losing customer loyalty and ultimately revenue. Yet brands continue to use a one-size-fits-all approach rather than evolving their options to meet these new and evolving expectations.
So how do you differentiate in a competitive marketplace through your delivery experience? Here are our top ten tips:
1. Re-assess your shipping strategy
Are the shipping options provided to your customers meeting their expectations, such as delivery time and cost, and putting your company in a competitive advantage? If the answer is no, it’s time to determine what changes are critical to improving the delivery experience and develop an implementation plan to address your customers’ needs. Delivery options — from choice of carrier to greener options — matter to consumers and influence their buying decisions, according to a recent consumer study by Metapack. The study found that, more than half of shoppers in the United States said they chose to purchase goods from one retailer over another specifically because of expanded delivery options.
2. Provide succinct, simply stated shipping options
Your delivery experience begins well before a package is shipped, let alone delivered. Shipping options should be simple, clean, and easy to understand, whether presented as static content on a Shipping/FAQ page or dynamically displayed on your product delivery process (PDP). Clearly stating available options will avoid customer confusion, frustration and potential cart abandonment. Whether you offer a flat rate by shipping option or free with a threshold (or both), make sure the options are simply presented in a table or graphic that is easy to understand.
3. Clearly communicate an estimated delivery date (EDD)
Do you still provide the standard 5 to 7-day delivery window and estimated delivery date in checkout to your customers? Gasp! This is no longer sufficient for consumers. Providing an EDD to customer’s delivery address has become table stages. When your customers checkout, provide the EDD in the line with delivery options so the customer has a clear understanding of when their order will arrive as seen in the example below:
4. Insert a handwritten note
Ina world of generic marketing and automated shopping experiences, customers love it when a brand takes the time to personalize their interactions. Including a handwritten thank you note for their purchase is a great way to show customers that you care and appreciate their doing business with you.
5. Offer a sustainable delivery option for purpose driven consumers
Sustainability is one of the largest concerns amongst consumers today, and interestingly, products with?sustainability claims generally outperform the growth rate of total products in their respective categories. It’s no longer a distant cousin of business. As outlined in our recent blog, Three Ways to Deepen Customer Loyalty with a Sustainability Focused Brand Purpose, nearly two-thirds (63%)?of consumers indicate that they prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs. Consumers are demanding it from their favorite brands. Even when sustainability isn't a personal priority, the psychology of using a purchase to do good is attractive to many consumers. Working with a courier that has a strong sustainability initiative, like ShipperBee, can sweeten the incentive for customers to choose your brand over another.
6. Choose a delivery partner that offers real-time GPS-enabled tracking
What kind of experience do you think customers have when they see “Label created, not yet in system” when clicking on the link in their ship confirmation email? (Hint: It’s probably a frustrating one). Your post-purchase delivery experience should allow your customers to track their packages every step of the way with real-time GPS-enabled tracking that pinpoints their parcel’s exact destination at any time during the shipping process.
7. Consider the unboxing experience
The unboxing experience has been an explosive trend. It’s actually one of the fastest growing user-generated content categories on YouTube. (To date, users have watched?nearly 3 billion minutes?of unboxing videos.) This goes to show how important the experience of cutting the shipping tape and opening the box really is to customers. Your packaging should be designed with this experience in mind. From how the product is positioned within the packaging to the smell customers are greeted with upon opening the box, every little detail matters.
8. Evaluate shipping costs and budget accordingly for planned changes
It’s important to monitor and evaluate your shipping cost per unit or shipping cost as a percentage of revenue to ensure that you’re getting the best rates that allow you to increase your margins while delivering a positive delivery experience. If shipping costs are too high, now is the time to re-negotiate your parcel agreements, as well as engage prospective carriers, to affect the bottom line with a net positive outcome.
9. Explore alternatives to the larger carriers
Shippers must think outside the box to fully assess carrier delivery options. Collectively, regional couriers remain an under-utilized asset in the e-commerce delivery space. While it may not be easy to break away from the revenue and volume commitments often required from the larger guys, remaining “locked in” to one of these carriers simply limits your options. Engage with alternate regional couriers and, if needed, leverage third-party consultants to assist with evaluating options, assessing contracts and rates, and selecting delivery partners that align to your shipping strategy.
10. Include bonuses the customer isn’t expecting
It’s always nice to exceed expectations. You can do this by including bonuses that the customer wasn’t expecting. For example, you can?provide a printed booklet?featuring informative content about the product they have ordered. Or maybe you’re launching a new product next month and you want to include a free sample. Coupons and discount codes for future purchases are also useful. You are only limited by your imagination, so use your creativity!