Adapting to the changing landscape of borderless ecommerce and consumer demands 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 four tips to improve the shipping experience for your customers and for your bottom line.
If you’re looking for a simple, online, and free platform, Pitney Bowes offers SendPro™ Online, which lets you more ship parcels from your personal computer with your own carriers, or with our discount shipping rates.
- 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 for end-to-end parcel visibility. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, consumers have changed their views of what’s considered important or a priority when it comes to their shipping needs, including delivery timeframes and packaging, for example.
The word patience may be overstating consumer’s real sentiments; resigned or pragmatic might be more appropriate. Our research shows that 43 per cent of consumers admit to checking delivery tracking more often now versus before the pandemic. And, more than one in three say tracking packages has become annoying, sharing in their own words that stress and anxiety can be brought on by uncertain delivery dates, unclear package status, and inaccessible tracking information. Product packaging is one of the simplest brand-driven experiences to control. The box, the tape or ribbon used, and the care that’s given to packaging and presentation, all matter 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 for consumers. It can also provide a strong competitive edge and a customer experience that is memorable for the right reasons.
- 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 sooner, 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 requests per parcel, that’s a captive audience. However, most companies leave it to the carrier instead to share information, send messages with their own branding, and often ask customers to sign up for an account so they can market to them directly.
- 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 tend to be more upfront about returns, knowing that offering easy returns and managing them well gives them a standout differentiator from their competitors. The priority on returns should be speed: how quickly can a business get that consumer their money back so they can shop again?
- Embrace technology for a streamlined shipping and shopping experience
Shipping is a complex process. New technologies have transformed, simplified, and accelerated the sending process. The latest automated, all-in-one shipping and mailing platforms are built on innovative Software-as-a-Service engines and connected through the Internet of Things.
When retailers consider these four key elements, they can create a seamless experience for the customer while simultaneously positioning the business better for the exponential rise in parcel shipping volume. Relying on legacy manual systems puts the business at a disadvantage as it is costly, 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.
Back to The Way Forward content