When shoppers buy a product today, they're far more likely to be influenced by the experience than solely by the price or product features. Whether walking into a Sonos listening boutique to shop for speakers, “trying on” makeup through Sephora’s mobile app or heading into a Nike store to test out shoes in virtual reality, shopping today is about a lot more than simply what consumers are buying. This is a drastic shift from decades past, and is forcing retailers to reimagine how to earn the loyalty of their customers.
Post-purchase is one of the most important, and often overlooked, opportunities to engage with customers. The data proves it: of the top-five factors that impact how satisfied consumers are when they shop online — delivery, package condition, customer service, price and site navigation — three are part of the post-purchase experience, according to the Narvar Post-Purchase Benchmark 2017. The time between making a purchase and receiving the package is the new moment of truth in retail.
Connecting After the Buy
From the moment consumers click buy, they begin to anticipate receiving their purchase. During this period, retailers need to prioritize transparency and communication about package status. When shoppers are kept updated, their trust for a brand grows. This holds true even when a package is delayed or encounters an issue. Shoppers care more about having an accurate estimate of delivery date than they do about fast shipping. The data backs this up: when we communicate status during the delivery window, customer satisfaction levels increase.
Excitement is especially high when shoppers purchase from luxury brands, because they’re not only making a significant financial investment, but also an emotional one. Anticipation for their purchase is even greater, and they track their packages more often. When they buy from high-end retailers, consumers track 17 percent more frequently and are 43 more likely to opt in for delivery notifications.
During the post-purchase period, consumers are also more likely to be receptive to additional communications from a brand. Retailers that have dedicated tracking pages for customers see a clickthrough rate on those pages that’s three times the performance of marketing emails. Brands like Urban Decay have even seen an increase in orders when consumers interact with these branded pages, as they often end up buying additional product. In fact, Urban Decay found that those who use the branded tracking page to monitor delivery of their order make additional purchases at a rate of 31 percent higher than the average customer — while they’re still waiting for their previous purchase to arrive!
Convenience is Critical
The rate of technological advancement today is incredible, and retailers are starting to engage with shoppers through emerging methods like augmented reality, virtual reality, voice commands and more. The only problem? There's often a disconnect between retailers’ digital investments and what shoppers want most. Above all else, shoppers want experiences that make their lives easier and more convenient, as the IBM Institute for Business Value recently confirmed.
After customers click buy, this convenience is paramount. This is a moment when they're normally excited about their new purchase, but if they need to put in extra effort simply to check on the status of delivery, their positive sentiment can quickly dissipate. This extends to the returns process as well. Returning a product can often be a frustrating experience with multiple “where is my refund” calls and confusion on exact return policies. When returns are convenient, however, customers are more likely to come back in the future.
As we continue to innovate across every stage of the customer shopping journey, we must connect with shoppers emotionally by ensuring they feel cared for and delivering a consistent, reliable experience. In order to be successful in building customer loyalty, retailers cannot ignore the opportunity to engage with them during the new moment of truth post-purchase.
Amit Sharma is the CEO of Narvar, a company that helps retailers deliver premium post-purchase experiences.