Getting your customer through the checkout process is only half the battle. If you can’t deliver when you say you will, it’s a waste of time to perfect your onsite user experience. Frustrated customers won’t shop with you again after a bad delivery experience.
Today’s shoppers expect transparent, quick and accurate delivery of their eCommerce products. In this article, learn more about rising consumer expectations for eCommerce delivery and what merchants can do to keep their delivery promises to retain more customers.
Consumer Expectations for Delivery Continue to Rise
Consumers are putting more pressure on merchants to improve their delivery promises. One of the most frustrating experiences for online shoppers is receiving an online order late or the wrong item. To avoid this, consumers seek out merchants who can meet the delivery times they guarantee.
96% of consumers said a positive delivery experience would encourage them to shop with a retailer again.
So, what contributes to a positive delivery experience? Here are a few of the most important areas to consider:
- Delivery speed: same-day, next-day, two-day and more
- Delivery options: doorstep delivery, pickup in store and more
- Delivery transparency: shipping status notifications
- Delivery cost: free standard delivery
While delivery speed, options, transparency and cost have always been important to customers, expectations for each of those services continue to rise as online shopping continues to increase. Consider the following.
According to the 2018 AlixPartners Home-Delivery Shopping Survey, the maximum number of days people are willing to way for an item to be delivered in exchange for free shipping has decreased from 5.5 days in 2012 to 4.1 in 2018. Also, a December 2017 survey by L2 said that 77% of brands are offering free shipping. It’s now become the norm.
Merchants have been scrambling to meet customer demands for delivery times and free or low-cost shipping, while dealing with rising shipping costs. Many are trying to improve their last-mile delivery solutions to overcome their biggest shipping challenges.
Are consumer demands of merchants unrealistic though? We don’t think so if you put the right processes in place to rise and meet them.
How to Keep Your eCommerce Delivery Promises to Customers
Meeting customer eCommerce delivery expectations might seem overwhelming. And while it’s a complicated process, you must keep this in mind:
A consumer might be more willing to wait a few days if they’re confident that their order will arrive when the merchant says it will, according to experts like Oracle and Convey.
What does that mean? Focus on providing delivery dates that you know you can guarantee. Work on making promises that you can keep!
If you’re struggling with keeping your delivery promises, here’s how you can start building trust with your customers and make good on your delivery dates:
Survey your Customers
Always look for customer feedback on where you’re falling short. Customers will be more than happy to tell you what shipping options, times, and prices they’re looking for. Let your customers help guide your decisions going forward on how to improve your delivery strategy.
Invest in New Fulfillment Technology
Merchants often fall short of making good on promises because they’re a) using old technology or b) haven’t started using technology yet. If you’re falling behind on order fulfillment because of your current processes, then change it! Now is the time to invest and improve your fulfillment strategy.
Software to consider using or upgrading is shipping, logistics or 3PL services, or back-end systems like an ERP for order management.
Integrate Your eCommerce Platform and Order Management Systems
Unfortunately, adding more software systems can complicate your business in the long-run.
For example, if you’re using an ERP to process orders, you must enter all your eCommerce orders into that ERP. With high order volumes, this can take companies several hours to do manually, causing delays in shipping times. You’re also prone to make mistakes like entering the wrong shipping address or SKU item. No matter the mistake, you’re going to deal with a frustrated customer on the other end.
When using multiple systems, it’s best practice to integrate them so you can automate the transactions between them. Integration providers like nChannel ensure the following for your business:
- Speed up order processing to ensure faster fulfillment
- Eliminate manual data entry that can cause data errors and slow down processes
- Provide customers with order status as items are shipped
- Fulfill from multiple locations based on inventory status or shipping costs
- Integrate directly with suppliers
- Proactively monitor your data so you can take care of any issues before your customer even knows
All these processes are key to making good on your promises to customers. You’ll ensure their order will get to them when you said it would.
Continue to Be Innovative
Remember that many merchants are struggling to meet customer expectations for delivery. However, keep working to find innovative ways to lower your costs and guarantee your delivery dates. Doing so will help you build trust among your customers and turn them into loyal shoppers, while keeping the competition at bay!
About the Author:
Jillian Hufford is a Marketing Analyst for nChannel, provider of the simplest integration software to automate multichannel processes. Using both her writing and analytic skills, she assists the Marketing and Sales teams. Jillian performs competitor market research, provides analysis of key sales metrics, and writes informative posts on multichannel commerce trends. She holds a BA in Marketing from Otterbein University.