How to Drive CX With Shipping
The 24/7 nature of online shopping is both good and bad. On one hand, as retailers, you reap the rewards of incoming revenue around the clock — from anyone, anywhere, anytime, unfettered by opening and closing times. On the other hand, when orders escalate at peak periods, you need to fulfill and ship them out in a consistent, timely manner or risk the ire of already fickle customers. To ensure that you’re positioned to grow alongside a burgeoning online shopping population (estimated to grow to 30.6 percent of the world’s population by 2018), an ability to deliver the best end-to-end customer experience will be the competitive advantage you need.
Customer experience, or CX, is hardly a new term. However, it has recently stepped into the spotlight as a barometer of what's considered best-in-class in commerce. With shipping being one of the most contentious and common online customer touchpoints, failing here is bad for business: 67 percent of consumers cite bad experiences as reason for churn. For The Delivery Advantage, an e-book that Temando recently published, we created a CX-friendly shipping strategy checklist that puts customers at the heart of each activity. One of the areas we recommend retailers review are "shipping options." Here’s a closer look:
Why Are Shipping Options Important?
Shipping options provide shoppers with choice — one of the top three reasons, alongside convenience and price, why consumers shop online. Having options also lowers the chances for cart abandonment as it removes a barrier to purchase. Shoppers can choose the speed and cost of delivery according to their needs. Last but not least, shipping options help to spread operational costs more evenly, preventing rising cost bases from getting out of control and eating into profit margins.
What Shipping Options Are Available Now?
Savvy retailers are collaborating with carriers to bring shoppers a wide array of shipping options, aside from "standard" and "express" delivery. For instance, smaller retailers are getting creative by dispatching hyperlocal (one hour to three hours) services of on-demand delivery startups like UberRUSH and Deliv in metropolitan areas to compete with the same-day shipping prowess of Wal-Mart and Amazon.com. Click-and-collect is another popular option, with a third of American shoppers choosing it during the holidays last year. Other options covered in The Delivery Advantage are "super saver," "after hours" and "weekend" delivery.
Which Shipping Options Will Work for Us?
Deciding on which shipping options to include can be overwhelming, but with the right customer data, it can be easy. Work backwards by asking yourself what’s important to your target market: Are they busy executives with high disposable incomes? Trendy Gen Zers hunting for the best deals to complete a party look? Are they working families who go for home brands to save a few dollars? Sure, there will be pressure to offer "free shipping" (here’s a tip) as it’s so prevalent, so make sure you introduce a minimum spend threshold that’s reasonable for both your customer and you. You may be surprised to learn that shoppers don’t expect shipping to always be free; 38 percent of shoppers that we polled last year were willing to pay a premium for a delivery option of their choice.
While not all retailers aim to be the next Amazon, incorporating sustainable practices that increase customer satisfaction is something every retailer can get behind.
Carl Hartmann is the CEO and co-founder of Temando, an intelligent shipping platform that helps retailers manage the fulfillment process from the shopping cart through to delivery.