Online retailers strive for perfection: the perfect product, the perfect approach, and the perfect customer shipping experience! Not not only does the delivery experience need to go smoothly, but it also needs to leave a positive impression on the customer.
But how do you ensure a great customer shipping experience? Here are the three top tips that we’ve learned over the years.
1. Clear information about shipping times
Clear, transparent information about the estimated shipping time is a key element in ensuring customer satisfaction in terms of the shipping process. Always provide the customer with accurate information about shipping times in your online shop. To ensure the service promise is clearly communicated, make the estimated delivery date visible to the customer during the checkout – before they have completed the order process.
Clear information about shipping times has a number of advantages: providing the customer with an approximate delivery time strengthens the customer’s trust in your company, reduces the number of abandoned shopping carts, and helps to improve your process because well-informed customers return fewer items and make fewer customer service inquiries.
Include any product-specific or seasonal factors that could affect shipping, such as when certain online shop items have longer-than-average delivery times. Is the product located further away, or is it temporarily unavailable? This information strengthens customer trust, highlights your knowledge of your products and product range, and demonstrates that you care about providing the best possible shipping experience.
2. Provide multiple shipping options
Whether it’s standard shipping, time-slot delivery, pick-up at a parcel shop, or drop-off at a parcel locker: online shops should provide customers with various delivery options to meet their needs. The same applies to returns: the customer should be able to choose between different return options and organize the process in the way that best corresponds to their preferences.
You should be aware that selecting local carriers which customers in their respective regions are generally familiar with will result in greater customer satisfaction regarding delivery, thus making it a significant control variable for the shipping experience. Ideally, you would work with the most popular delivery providers in your target markets to increase customer satisfaction effectively. By working together with different carriers, you can cover multiple delivery options and offer your customers the right selection for their needs.
3. Keep customers informed of their order status
Once the customer has placed an order, total transparency and active customer communication are the decisive factors for customer satisfaction. Implement automated, personalized messages updating the customer about the status of their purchase – including, most importantly, in the event of delays.
A branded tracking page allows you to communicate with your customers about the status of their orders in a personalized manner while at the same time keeping them within your brand ecosystem instead of sending them to the provider’s external tracking page. The tracking page is part of consistent customer communication, allowing you to advertise additional products or redirect the user back to your shop. A well-designed tracking page also helps to reduce individual customer inquiries – including when it comes to returns.
Bonus tip! Pay attention to the packaging
Packaging is also part of the shipping experience. Attractive packaging design allows an online shop to communicate its brand to appeal to its target audience. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – what do they want? Including small surprises, free samples, or order vouchers has proven effective. You can also inform your customers about sales promotions and offer incentives to particularly loyal, long-standing customers with these elements.
When designing your shipping packaging, make sure that it is practical. More specifically, your customers (and delivery partners) want packaging that is not too bulky and, for example, can fit in a standard mailbox. Online retailers are switching to more sustainable packaging, increasingly using paper instead of plastic, reusable materials instead of single-use products, and biodegradable packing peanuts instead of styrofoam or plastic.