Adapting to the changing landscape of borderless ecommerce and consumer demands
Four tips for better shipping
If you’re running an online business from your home, shipping is likely an essential part of your operation. Taking the time to optimise your shipping process to make it more efficient and cost effective can pay off.
Here are a few tips to improve the shipping experience for your customers and for your bottom line.
1. Shipping is the key to a happy customer experience and customers prefer free over fast
Shipping is an important touchpoint for retailers. It is the point at which lasting impressions are formed. The rise in parcel volumes provides the perfect opportunity to improve interactions with customers. Customers like choice so it’s key to give them a variety of delivery options, costs and timings and end-to-end parcel visibility.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, consumers have changed their views of what’s considered.
The word patience may be overstating consumer’s real sentiments. Resigned or pragmatic might be more appropriate. In a related set of findings, 43% of consumers admit to checking delivery tracking more often now versus before the pandemic. And more than 1 in 3 say tracking packages has become annoying—sharing in their own words the stress and anxiety brought on by uncertain delivery dates, unclear package status, and inaccessible tracking information.
Product and packaging is one of the simplest brand driven experiences to control. The box, the tape or ribbon used, the care that’s given to packaging and presentation, this all matters to build a relationship with the customer and to create a positive brand experience.
Integrating shipping as part of the customer journey can extend the brand experience. It can provide a strong competitive edge and a customer experience that is memorable – for the right reasons.
2. Real-time tracking offers opportunities to engage with customers
Consumers crave a lot of information while they are waiting for their packages. In fact, at Pitney Bowes, we see eight tracking requests on average for every parcel shipped. Assuming most parcels arrive within three days or less, that means consumers are checking multiple times per day. And, that doesn’t even count all the information they receive from the merchant via email or SMS.
Tracking should be seen as an opportunity to engage and cross-sell. With eight tracking request per parcel, that’s a captive audience. Instead, most companies leave it to the carrier to share information, sending messages with their own branding, often asking customers to sign up for an account so they can market to them directly.
3. Returns should be hassle-free for the customer and for the business
Businesses need to be clear about their returns policy; it shouldn’t be hidden in the ‘Terms and Conditions’. Successful online retailers are upfront about returns, knowing that offering easy returns and managing them well gives them a standout differentiator.
The priority on returns should be speed: how quickly can a business get that consumer their money back so they can shop again.
4. Embrace technology for a streamlined shipping and shopping experience
Shipping is complex. New technologies have transformed, simplified and accelerated the sending process. Automated all-in-one shipping and mailing platforms, such as the Pitney Bowes SendPro™+, are built on innovative SaaS engines and connected through the IoT. If you’re looking for a simple, online platform, consider SendPro™ Online, the new shipping platform where you can send parcels from your computer, and even integrate eCommerce stores like eBay, Shopify and WooCommerce.
Integrating apps and APIs and often accessible through tablets, desktops and mobiles, these Wi-Fi-enabled technologies simplify sending. Fully scalable and with automatic updates built in, they make life easy for any business preparing for growth.
For example, Pitney Bowes SendPro+ comes with Sendle and Shippit; this gives customers the ability to choose between five different couriers, so they can pick the delivery time and pricing that suits their needs.
These next-generation shipping technologies have opened the benefits of automation to small businesses, making it accessible, affordable and scalable. Automating a manual shipping processes is a great way to help the business cope with the surge in parcel volumes. Eliminating those tasks that would be time-consuming by hand such as weighing, measuring and tracking, it frees up employees’ time and boosts productivity, so organisations can better manage budgets and forecast resources.
When retailers consider these four key things, they can create a seamless experience for the customer and it positions them well for the exponential rise in parcel shipping volume. Relying on legacy manual systems puts the business at a disadvantage, is costly and labour-intensive and negatively impacts the customer experience. Conversely, streamlined shipping demonstrates the brand’s professionalism and commitment to delivering a transparent, connected customer experience.