The Important E-Commerce Best Practices Many Retailers Forget
How’s your brand’s post-purchase experience doing? If you’re not entirely sure, you may be putting your reputation at risk. According to Pitney Bowes, 60 percent of millennials share their negative post-purchase experience with others.
Traditionally, retailers have focused on the pre-purchase experience, so you’d be forgiven for fixing your energy on that. Brands actively craft the perfect conditions for a consumer to choose their products, and in the age of brick-and-mortar shopping this was fine. But the rise of e-commerce, fueled by significant internet penetration and advanced logistics networks, has made the post-purchase experience just as important.
Thanks to the "Amazon Effect," acceptable is no longer, well, acceptable. You’ve got to exceed expectations by putting the customer first. The best way to do that is by making the post-purchase experience as convenient and positive as possible. Here’s how you can accomplish that.
Use Predictive Analytics to Deliver the Personalized Experiences Consumers Seek
Did you know that 62 percent of shoppers expect brands to send them personalized offers based on their prior purchases? Or that 80 percent of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from companies with personalized experiences? A plug-and-play marketing automation system that throws a customer’s name after the word “hi” isn't enough. In fact, only 8 percent of consumers say they would engage with a brand that used their first name. Consumers want relevant experiences, not blanket marketing. Nevertheless, retailers aren’t making personalization a focus area. Only 7 percent of organizations cited it as their top priority.
One of the big reasons is that companies worry they don’t have the in-house talent to mine their data for gold. Fortunately, there’s technology that allows companies to benefit from predictive analytics without a huge analytics team. This technology can help brands deliver properly targeted offers, consolidate feedback from thousands of customer satisfaction surveys to generate profitable insights, and discover new revenue-generating opportunities.
Keep Your Customers in the Loop With Tracking IDs
Once a customer has made a purchase, they want confirmation that it’s on its way.
Here’s some food for thought. Remember the last time you ordered something from Amazon? You likely received all of the following after checking out:
- email confirmation that the order has been received/your receipt;
- email confirmation that the order has been shipped, as well as the option to track the package; and
- email confirmation that the order has been delivered.
The post-purchase experience is given as much reverence as the pre-purchase experience. Amazon doesn’t take it for granted that you’re a customer. It wants you to be confident in the knowledge that your order is on its way, so reliability is never a question when people are making future purchase decisions.
All retailers can accomplish this level of brand trust and reliability by giving their customers access to real-time information about their packages. What’s more, retailers also save time and money since fewer customers are calling in with questions about their deliveries.
Curate a Customer-Centric Experience With PUDO Networks
Customer-centric experiences win, but right now pre-purchase customer experiences get all the attention. Websites have user-friendly designs. Checkout pages have multiple payment options. Increasingly, brands are absorbing at least a fraction of the cost of shipping through fixed rates or promos to reduce cart abandonment rates.
However, all of these efforts aren't balanced out on the other side of the equation. Retailers aren’t spending enough time asking how customer-centric their post-purchase experience is. Or, more specifically, how convenient it is.
As far as delivering goods go, dropping off a purchase right on the customer’s doorstep is pretty convenient. But often the customer isn’t home, and what if they want to return the package? Contrary to popular belief, returns themselves don’t turn customers off. It’s the experience of returning a product that does.
Today, retailers can use designated pick-up, drop-off (PUDO) spots to facilitate both deliveries and returns. PUDO locations can be located in high-traffic areas, including train stations, grocery stores, and other third-party retailers.
In fact, postal operators in countries around the world have embraced this trend so they can be better partners with retailers, and help bridge the current gaps in overall customer experience. Today, 91 percent of posts have self-service kiosks or plan to introduce them at some point in the future.
It’s worth investing in the end-to-end customer experience. By focusing on using data and new technology to create customer-centric experiences, brands can reach their full potential.
Wayne Haubner is chief technology officer at Escher, the global leader transforming postal operators and couriers.
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Wayne Haubner is Chief Technology Officer at Escher, the global leader transforming postal operators and couriers.
Wayne is a pioneering technology executive and change agent who has a track record for driving enduring results through leadership, agility and continuous innovation. Wayne has a proven track record of building world-class customer-centric engineering organizations by fostering a culture of data-driven continuous improvement and collaboration.