Did you know that the typical ecommerce store generates 43% of its revenue from repeat purchases? And according to Marketing Insider Group, repeat customers are twice as likely to place an item in their cart, have lower bounce rates, and convert nearly twice as much as new customers. It’s clear that customer loyalty is key to ecommerce success.
A top-notch customer experience is critical to building trust and loyalty, and loyal customers will become an invaluable source of not only sales but word-of-mouth marketing, too.
Shipping and last-mile delivery play a huge role in the customer experience: 60% of online shoppers have chosen between competitors based on convenience of delivery options. Are you living up to your customers’ expectations?
3 fulfillment tips to improve customer loyalty
Here are three tips for meeting customers’ growing expectations for ecommerce shipping and keep them coming back to shop time and time again.
1. Be transparent
Transparency is vital in ecommerce, so make sure that you provide clear delivery date estimates and tracking information to your customers.
If you choose to outsource fulfillment to a tech-enabled third-party logistics (3PL) provider, you can access a complete view of each order — from the moment it’s placed online to the moment it is delivered to your customer’s doorstep.
You can automatically send them tracking info, and if customers ask you questions, you can confidently answer them from anywhere using the most up-to-date information. This helps ensure greater precision, transparency, and consistency in service.
You should also maintain transparency around your returns policy, as 66% of shoppers review a retailer’s returns policy before buying. Make sure that there are no hidden fees associated with returns, and make it clear whether or not customers will be responsible for return shipping costs.
[Related article: How to Create a Great Online Returns Experience]
2. Meet expectations around shipping costs and speed
A Forrester study shows that 44% of online shoppers who abandon their carts do so because of shipping and handling costs. And with big-box ecommerce companies offering two-day shipping and free shipping options, customers expect fast and affordable delivery at the click of a button.
One way to make sure the shipping options you offer meet your customers’ expectations is to work with a fulfillment provider that allows you to split your inventory across locations.
Instead of having to ship all orders from one central location, you save time and money by shipping from the fulfillment center closest to your customer. If your customers are located throughout the country, you can reduce the shipping zones your packages are sent to by distributing your inventory across fulfillment centers.
Once you have affordable and two-day shipping options in place, make sure you let your customers know by marketing your shipping offerings. This can include running ads to promote free shipping, adding a banner with shipping promotions to your ecommerce website, and sending free shipping offers to your customer email list.
“We understand that whatever Amazon does, we also need to do or we are going to lose business. The cost of offering free 2-day shipping through ShipBob is more than covered and offset by all of the additional orders and revenue we’ve gotten as a result.”
Founder of My Calm Blanket
3. Showcase your brand
Oftentimes, receiving a package is the first in-person experience a customer has with your brand, so your packaging should make an impression. According to Dotcom Distribution, 52% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from an online merchant that delivers premium packaging, and 40% of consumers would share an image of a delivery via social media if it came in a unique package.
By including your branded colors, logo, imagery, and/or positioning in all elements of your business, you can create a consistent, cohesive brand experience. Custom-printed boxes that appeal to your customer base can enhance brand awareness and leave a lasting impression on your customers.
If you outsource shipping, make sure to choose an ecommerce fulfillment provider that allows you to use custom boxes and inserts to make your packages really stand out.
For small ecommerce businesses, custom packaging can be cost-prohibitive — and that’s okay! In that case, make sure that the boxes and tape used by your retail fulfillment provider are unbranded, rather than broadcasting a carrier or marketplace’s logo or brand.
Acquiring new customers costs more than retaining the ones you currently have, so it’s important to create a great experience for shoppers. A strong shipping strategy can keep your company top-of-mind for customers long after an order is placed.
If you’re looking to take your fulfillment to the next level, consider ShipBob. ShipBob empowers ecommerce businesses of all sizes with a network of fulfillment centers across the US and the tools and insights you need to maintain control over inventory tracking and stock levels, orders, and shipments.