Company representatives continually look for effective ways to boost customer loyalty. There’s no universally successful way to go about it, but research shows improving the shipping strategy associated with purchases is an excellent starting point. Here is a look at how industry professionals can start making improvements.
Prioritize an Excellent Delivery Experience and Provide Upfront Details
Getting products delivered without hassles is a big deal for most people. Plus, consumers don’t like delivery-related surprises when browsing for products. Those are some of the main takeaways associated with a recent study.
The results showed 85% of customers would stop doing business with retailers following poor delivery experiences. Relatedly, 88% of shoppers may change their minds about the purchase if they discover undesirable aspects associated with deliveries. Those could include taking too long to get the items or it costing too much to ship them.
Various things could impact how people feel about their decision to have items delivered. However, certain aspects could improve overall satisfaction, including:
- Letting people select the desired delivery date.
- Offering a choice of couriers and shipping speeds.
- Giving shoppers a shipping discount for choosing slower options.
- Providing shipping updates by text or email.
It’s also helpful if companies provide as much information as possible about shipping costs and speeds. If a person orders immediately, what’s the item’s estimated delivery day or date range? What are the shipping costs associated with the consumer’s location? Can someone pay more to get the item faster? Are there any extra fees due to an item’s bulkiness? Are there any aspects like personalization that may add to shipping times?
Giving customers the specifics about those things helps people make informed decisions about when to purchase and whether to buy an item.
Create a Multipronged Shipping Strategy
Some company representatives make mistakes when revamping a shipping strategy because they try to focus too much on one aspect. Yes, getting products to customers on time matters — but that achievement is less impressive if the items arrive damaged.
If a package has the proper edge protection, that feature can minimize damage and returns, thereby increasing repeat purchases and customer satisfaction. There’s also a surprising connection between social media selfies and reduced returns. A study found that 61% of people believed fashion retailers could reduce return rates and keep customers happier by including more images and videos of everyday people wearing the garments rather than models.
If the shipping strategy includes boxes featuring social media handles and prompts for people to share pictures of their purchases, it could mean future return rates go down. It’s also worth remembering what’s within and outside a retailer’s control. One industry expert said five million packages go undelivered per day due to a lack of storage space for them. That could mean items get held up once they leave stores or distribution centers.
Even so, retailers can help things turn out in their favor by working alongside couriers with proven track records of delivering packages as expected. Building out a strategy for shipping might also mean putting more control into the hands of purchasers by letting them follow an item once it ships. Doing so could reduce the number of calls and emails customer service agents must deal with as people try to find package statuses.
Understand Most Customers Will Pay More for Faster Shipping
People in today’s society often want their goods as quickly as possible. If a company’s logistics team can meet that need, they’re offering a perk people will usually pay more for to get. A 2021 study showed that 59% of people used one or two-day shipping at least monthly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The same research revealed that 65% of respondents would pay more to get more reliable and faster shipping. However, they won’t know how well a company’s shipping strategy works if they are a new consumer. Providing statistics to set their expectations can help.
A banner that says “96% of orders get delivered within three business days” or something similar helps build confidence. Later, if the company gets the goods to a shopper within the stated time frame, that success significantly boosts customer loyalty.
Another option is to provide a guarantee for those who decide they want to pay for faster shipping. Such a promise indicates company leaders are so willing to stand behind their shipping times that they’ll make promises about them.
Keep Shipping Times Reasonable to Boost Customer Loyalty
Improving a shipping strategy could also mean focusing on the items that typically take the longest to reach consumers. A Columbia Business School study examined the connection between shipping arrival times and customer demand.
One finding was that a one-day shipping option increased desire for the item by an average of 1.98%. However, demand decreased significantly when estimates indicated receiving the package would take longer than three to four days. That suggests one way to boost customer loyalty is to keep shipping timeframes relatively short.
The study’s data centered on six months’ worth of price quotes and shipping estimate data from an e-commerce website specializing in lab supplies. One of the main takeaways was it was most beneficial for sellers to investigate how increasing the efficiency of products taking the longest to deliver could impact how customers feel towards the company.
When deliveries come reasonably quickly due to a company’s highly functional shipping strategy, customers are likely to believe they arrived in a reasonable timeframe. However, they’ll be even more impressed if items that were formerly slower to ship reach them faster.
Take Feedback Seriously When Finding Ways to Boost Customer Loyalty
Industry professionals should remember they can improve customer loyalty by welcoming feedback and listening carefully to what people bring up in their comments. Sometimes, efforts to enhance a shipping strategy fall short in ways company leaders don’t expect. That doesn’t mean they’re total failures, but specific changes may require ongoing tweaks to enhance them.
In any case, people should view shipping strategies as continually evolving to keep up with customer preferences and company capabilities. When consumers feel retailers meet or exceed expectations regarding shipping, they could be more likely to shop with them again and be more forgiving if items don’t arrive promptly every time.
Emily Newton is an industrial writer who specializes in covering how technology is disrupting industrial sectors. She’s also the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized where she covers innovations in industry, construction and more.