Welcome back to Retail (R)Evolution 2018! We’re kicking off our two-day digital commerce thought leadership event here in Orlando, Florida, with Lila Snyder, Executive Vice President and President of Commerce Services at Pitney Bowes, who delivered the show’s keynote address on what it’s really all about: The customer experience.
The 3 biggest business challenges facing retailers and brands today
1. Building meaningful relationships with your customers
Amazon, Google, Facebook and Netflix are all examples of digital companies that have fostered a great personalized experience with their customers. But, they’re in the minority; 89 percent of customers today are frustrated that they don’t get this same consistent cross-channel experience elsewhere.
Consumers want personalization, which prompts retailers to invest into an array of personalization outlets, including: CRM (79 percent), customer data management (71 percent), customer analytics (66 percent), OMS (54 percent) and call centers (45 percent). And, it pays off. In fact, retailers are seeing as much as 30 percent more in conversions from successfully executed digital personalization efforts.
2. Reach more customers, from anywhere to everywhere
That means going global and reaching consumers that have an affiliation with your brand regardless of where they’re located.
Today, 56 percent of retailers already operate cross-border, and see an average order value that is 17 percent higher from international customers over domestic ones. Cross-border ecommerce as a whole is growing quickly and is expected to rise by 13 percent between 2017 and 2021. China and India are spearheading that movement as the world’s fastest-growing marketplaces; at least half of their online purchases are made through marketplaces.
With cross-border demand rapidly picking up steam, marketing and demand gen is poised to the single biggest challenge facing retailers’ cross-border expansion efforts.
3. Champion your brand in every moment from purchase to purchase
What matters most to customers regarding fulfillment is that it’s fast and free. And, if they had to pick just one of those, 86 percent of consumers really just want free.
Rising shipping costs make it difficult to deliver on that, though. Difficult, but not impossible. The path to free, faster shipping lies through seamless technology, knowing each carrier’s strengths and how they relate to your business goals, defining clear business rules on carrier selection – and finding a great partner who can deliver on all three of these.
This is our mission at Pitney Bowes: to create global platforms and services that strengthen your customer relationships and champion your brand in those moments from purchase to purchase.
Don’t let anyone come in between you and your customers
Consumers want free returns just like they want free shipping. For some retailers, returns can be a profit center (amounting to $2-5 per return), but at the same time, 70 percent of consumers say they will buy from a brand again if their money has been returned within 24 hours.
What’s your position on returns? Is it part of an experience to make the consumer come back? Or are returns a profit center for your business? Whichever you go with, it’s important to take a stand on one or the other and stick with it.
Whichever direction you go in, don’t overlook tracking. The customer wants to know when they’ll get their money, but all too often retailers do not provide tracking as part of the return experience. Make sure you’re taking control of this process and owning tracking communications. Not only does this provide more visibility to the customer, creating a more personalized and satisfying experience for them, it can also be used as part of the cross-sell shopping experience to drive more sales.
Returns don’t have to be so hard. Don’t treat tracking as utility, treat it as another opportunity to engage. Nothing should come in between you and your customers.
In the competitive world of global ecommerce, it’s important to know where the industry is heading and how others retailers are reacting. Take the Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Assessment to see how you stack up with your competitors – the survey offers a side-by-side comparison between your answers and those of your peers.
Then, dive into the results from one of the biggest global ecommerce research reports of its kind. The Pitney Bowes 2017 Global Ecommerce Report surveyed more than 1,200 retailers and 12,000 consumers around the world, outlining both retailer and consumer perspectives on the global ecommerce landscape. Download the report to learn how these trends provide key growth opportunities.