Online retailers should pay more attention to these six CX tricks.
If you want to get a piece of the huge e-commerce pie, you can't just rely on top products, innovative strength, and great delivery. A holistic customer experience (CX) is the be-all and end-all of successful online retailing in 2021 and beyond. A central aspect here is that shipping and returns must be a unified whole in order to inspire customers.
A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Seven Senders shows how important delivery processes are for the customer experience: according to the survey, 40 percent of European online customers who had a bad experience with a webshop would order elsewhere next time because the "online shop is responsible for delivery".
Good post-purchase customer experience also ensures higher "customer lifetime value" and a better repurchase rate, with seamless returns being an important driver.
“40 percent of European online customers who had a bad experience with a webshop would order elsewhere next time because the online shop was responsible for delivery. (YouGov survey commissioned by Seven Senders, 2021)”
It also minimizes customer support calls and the associated costs. So how can the shipping experience - especially when it comes to international operations - be optimized?
According to the UPS survey, 41 percent of the factors that determine purchases online are made up of four factors: delivery time, returns solution, pick-up/drop-off (PUDO), and the number of delivery options. We have compiled six top tips based on this. In order to address and retain customers in the best possible way and thus secure competitive advantages, you should pay more attention to the following points:
1. Work with the right national carriers
Webshops, retailers, and brands are increasingly faced with the challenge of offering their international customers an all-around optimal service. Regardless of the country, shops are dependent on carriers that meet the different national requirements of their customers.
In France, for example, it is customary to pick up parcels at the pick-up point, or many Italians like to pay cash on delivery. Shop operators who work closely with local service providers can actively shape their customers' shipping experience and thus improve the overall customer experience.
The challenge: There are more than 100 shipping service providers in Europe and each of them has its own specialization, for example in terms of sustainability or particularly flexible delivery options.
In order to maintain an overview, act more flexibly and strategically and thus improve the customer experience, it makes sense to use a platform that offers easy access to the various local specialists. With such a platform, to which retailers only have to connect once instead of to each individual local carrier, retailers save a lot of time, effort, and costs.
Direct injection, i.e. the direct feeding of parcels from the own warehouse into the hubs and local networks, speeds up shipping processes immensely, and fast deliveries please the customers. So instead of choosing a large international shipping service provider due to a lack of alternatives, a carrier network is recommended.
This means you can always choose the nationally best, most accurate, and cheapest shipping partner. And in difficult situations - such as when hubs have to close due to the Corona pandemic or carriers are overloaded - you can quickly choose a logistics alternative with the help of the carrier network. Without network support, connecting to a new carrier takes a lot of time and effort, which can also have a negative impact on the customer experience.
“41 percent of online shopping purchase decision factors are made up of the four factors of delivery time, returns solution, pick-up/drop-off (PUDO), and the number of delivery options.
(UPS, Pulse of the Online Shopper )”
2. Note different payment methods
Another important aspect of a good customer experience is to provide customers with a variety of delivery and payment options so that they can choose the one that suits them.
Here, too, there are national peculiarities to consider in international online trade that you should address with your offer. An example for Italy shows that the conversion rate can be increased by up to 44 percent if the shop offers Italian customers cash on delivery. French customers, on the other hand, prefer to pay by credit or debit card.
The fact that 58 percent favor bank transfer on account as a payment method should also be taken into account. When selecting a carrier, you should therefore make sure that it enables the payment methods for shops that are desired in the respective country.
3. Deliver quickly and reliably
Speed is high on your customers' wish list, because who wants to wait weeks for their parcel? In e-commerce, next-day deliveries and the like are important to-dos on the agenda. By connecting to a central delivery platform, ordered parcels can be delivered from the warehouse the next day.
Such a solution and a large network of last-mile carriers can streamline and significantly accelerate shipping processes. This direct injection into the local delivery network can save you up to 35 percent in delivery time - even when returning goods.
If there are questions about the order, the delivery, or the shipping status, it makes sense to have a tool with which all information of the entire shipping process can be displayed in detail and clearly at a glance. This improves your ability to provide information to your customers, and customers who feel well informed are immediately a little more satisfied.
4. Keep customers informed throughout the shipping process
The last mile is a crucial stage of the customer journey. Therefore, you should make sure to always stay in touch with your customers during the shipping process and coordinate service providers so that the delivery experience is on par with the shopping experience.
This includes meaningful and clear tracking pages and delivery notifications in the shop design to inform customers about the current shipping status of a package.
If these customer touchpoints are designed like your shop, it strengthens the brand experience, improves the customer experience, and opens up upselling potential. It has been shown that automatic notifications to customers reduce customer service requests by up to 26 percent.
This includes, for example, an initial personal message confirming the order. Track & trace functions provide information on the current location of a package.
A return confirmation and notifications about the progress of a return are also advisable because the customer wants to know when he or she will be refunded the purchase amount. Such information increases customer satisfaction, strengthens loyalty, minimizes customer service efforts, and increases the chance of repeat purchases.
5. Offer a simple and hassle-free returns process
Even if you probably want as few returns as possible, experience shows that the success of many shops is also linked to how uncomplicated customers can return their goods if necessary. Germans are considered to be particularly fond of returns. So if you want to make customers happy, you need a clear returns strategy.
This includes that return information must be clearly formulated and understandable for everyone. From the moment a customer has decided against a product, he or she must know exactly what to do. Essential here is the returns label, which your customer should be able to access easily.
Dashboards and reports that are precisely tailored to your deliveries and returns help to make processes plannable, to make decisions quickly, and to create transparency - also towards the customer.
In addition, when it comes to returns, it is again extremely important to work with the right carriers in each country. For example, the carrier that offers the most drop-off points in the respective country is recommended.
6. Rely on a central delivery partner
In order to become more flexible and responsive and thus strengthen the customer experience, it is advisable to trust an experienced shipping partner that offers several delivery agents per country, manages all logistics processes, and bundles shipping volumes. E-tailers, who have only one contact person, benefit from less effort and more support from one source.