How to Create the Perfect Shipping Experience.
In the first series of this article, we introduced customer experience and why you should care about it. We also gave an overview of the customer experience touchpoints for DTC brands.
In this article, we shall examine the first of those post-purchase touchpoints.
You’ve built enough confidence in your prospect, and they’ve taken a leap of faith by handing you their credit card to bill in hope that you’ll fulfil your own part of the bargain.
So, what next? Of course, ship the order out to the customer.
Shipping, therefore, is one of the most critical aspects of the customer experience after an order has been placed.
There are two parts of the shipping process that are often confused with one another:
- Shipping to the customer (or delivery)
We’ll delve into these in greater detail later.
But first, it is essential to underscore an aspect of the shipping that can make or mar the entire shipping experience – speed!
Yes, speed of delivery!
It is so critical that it could determine how efficiently your website converts visitors to paying customers and whether those who buy once will come back for a second purchase.
The statistics below highlight the expected delivery time for customers shopping in the European market:
This table shows that:
- 62% of customers in the European market expect to receive their order within 2-3 days.
- 90% expect it to arrive within 1-5 days.
- Only 60% of customers can wait longer than 4 days for their order.
- 31% cannot wait beyond 3 days.
This data shows that if your brand cannot deliver orders to customers within 2-3 days, or a maximum of 4 days, your customer experience will suffer.
You’ll not only lose customers on the front end who should have converted but did not do so because of the long shipping time. But you also may be unable to retain most of those who have converted for a considerable time.
If your brand is not radically different from the competition that can deliver orders faster, it is only a matter of time before your customers jump ship.
Customer expectation of fast delivery in North America is even less forgiving.
Below is the worldwide average of expected delivery times in 2021:
The data above shows that even though average delivery expectations vary by region & country, it is generally less than 3 days.
What does this mean?
In today’s digital economy, you need fast and reliable delivery to turn customers into raving loyal fans of your brand.
Anything short of this is a recipe for a high churn rate. If the competition has a better shipping experience for the same product line, it is only a matter of time before they switch over from your brand.
So, what aspects of shipping impact CX?
What aspects of shipping do customers consider most important? The statistics below give us some insight:
From the table, we see that:
- Cost of delivery is important to about 90% of customers.
- Speed of delivery is important to 80% of customers
This means customers come online to shop with huge expectations about speed and cost. By and large, they want FREE shipping and fast delivery.
In fact, in the United States, about 60% of customers are willing to pay extra to get same-day delivery.
In today’s online world, shipping speed has become the norm, set by market leaders such as Amazon.
This means that to compete in today’s fast-paced economy, your shipping experience should be top-notch. A vital component of that experience is a fast and reliable shipping experience. This is key to creating happy customers who will become fans of your brand.
In a report titled, “Outstanding Customer Experiences from Order to Delivery Keep 61% of Shoppers Loyal, New Research Finds”, Metapack published the following statistics base on a 2018 research:
On SPEED of delivery:
- The top barriers to cross-border shopping are expensive delivery (45%), slow delivery (28%) and having to pay for delivery (25%)
- 70% of online consumers are prepared to pay extra to ensure speed and convenience, such as a one-hour, same day or Sunday delivery
On FREE delivery:
- 82% of US shoppers had purchased more goods to take advantage of free delivery.
- 81% of Canadian and French shoppers and 80% of UK shoppers said free delivery would incentivise them to buy more online during peak sales such as Black Friday.
- 75% of consumers have purchased more items to take advantage of a minimum-spend free delivery option.
- 49% of shoppers would prioritise shopping with one online provider over another if it offered a loyalty programme featuring free next-day delivery
On positive experience etc:
- 61% of consumers say a positive delivery experience incentivises them to shop with an eCommerce retailer again
- 44% of consumers are tempted to try out new delivery options to take advantage of collection from a local pick-up point.
The above data clearly shows shipping and delivery trends that have been pretty consistent since 2018, and even more so now:
- Shoppers now prioritise the following in their shopping experience:
- Outright free delivery or minimum-spend free delivery
- Fast delivery
Collection from a local pick-up point because they want their order now.
- Ability to select delivery options or even carriers.
Does your brand offer any or all of the above? If not, your risk being put out of business by your competitor who does.
What should you do next? Take stock of your shipping process.
- How fast do you deliver orders to customers?
- What’s the most prolonged period a customer has had to wait to receive their order?
Two types of shipping
Earlier, we mentioned the two parts of the shipping process: fulfilment and shipping to the customer.
There are two types of shipping:
- In-house shipping
- Outsourced shipping
In in-house shipping, you own all touch points with the customer, there is a lot of flexibility, and it gives you room for customization and personalization.
But it also has serious disadvantages. It distracts from your core business, so you have less time to devote to it.
Outsourced shipping allows you to focus on the things that bring value to the business and save time. It is also scalable. Its disadvantages are also severe. You have less flexibility and little room for customization.
Creating an amazing customer experience through a perfect shipping experience requires a delicate balance of fulfilment options.
On the one hand, you want to be able to offer fast, free shipping and have complete control over the process so you can ensure a seamless customer experience.
On the other hand, you also need to be able to scale quickly and efficiently without breaking the bank.
The good news is that there are fulfilment options out there that can give you the best of both worlds. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a fulfilment solution for your business:
- In-house shipping vs outsourced shipping: What’s the right fit for your business?
- Flexibility and scalability: Can the fulfilment solution grow with your business?
- Cost: How much will the fulfilment solution cost you in the long run?
- Customer experience: How will the fulfilment solution impact your customer’s shipping experience?
Weighing all of these factors will help you choose the right fulfilment solution for your business and ensure that you’re providing an amazing customer experience from start to finish.
There are 4 steps involved in the shipping process that you should always look to optimize:
- Packing preparation
- Speed of delivery by carrier
Taking some time to optimize each of these steps for speed and efficiency is critical to creating that perfect shipping experience.
Do you need help with auditing your customer experience? Or, are you looking to convert more of your visitors to paying customers, and one-time customers to loyal brand advocates?
Feel free to reach out to us HERE.