Customer Expectations Are High When It Comes to Delivery

While we’re well past the eCommerce olden days when customers purchase an item on eBay and cross their fingers that delivery would take 2-3 weeks, ordering online remains an emotional process.

The ways in which you communicate about shipping, and deliver on those promises, is a huge part of how your customers perceive your brand. Until an item is in your customer’s hands, their interaction with you has only been in the realm of the theoretical.

Because of this, it’s absolutely essential you know what your customers expect when it comes to shipping and delivery.

In this second part of our series on eCommerce delivery expectations (You can read part 1 here), let’s dive into best practices for delivery and the customer experience.

Between Checkout and Delivery

A Pitney Bowes study found that 56% of shoppers feel let down by the post-purchase experience during the holidays. That’s definity more than should be expected.

The most common let down was the shipment arriving late, but other areas of aggravation included address problems, packages lost in the mail, and inaccurate tracking.

While the holidays are a particularly difficult stress test for eCommerce deliveries, customers are frustrated by these issues year round.

Communicate every step of the way

Once they’ve clicked “buy now,” your customers’ waiting game begins. Will my order get here on time for my occasion, or even arrive in general? And will I be home to sign?

Customers want online sellers to mitigate that stress with strong communication. Let your customers know you received their order, when it was dispatched, and when it’s expected to arrive.

What online merchants can do:

Offer scheduled pickup or delivery. Shoppers are increasingly expecting this option because of the security and convenience it provides.

Provide full visibility with tracking. Good tracking is updated in real-time as the package moves through the carrier’s network. Allow customers to choose what medium they want to be communicated through, such as text or email. This can give the customer confidence that their package has not only left your warehouse, but that it’s moving in the right direction.

Allow your customers to choose how they would like to be contacted. Maybe they’re eagerly awaiting their package and prefer the immediacy of a text message to email. Or maybe they don’t text and expect a call when it comes time to install their new barstools. These touchpoints take the stress and emotion out of waiting for an online delivery.

Be proactive when handling problems occur. Handling a customer problem gracefully can turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.  Make it easy to reach your customer service team if problems should arrive, and empower your team to resolve issues as quickly as possible.

Post Delivery

More and more, your customer’s order process isn’t quite over when your package hits their doorstep, office, or pickup location.

White Glove Installation

Customers not only increasingly want their online orders fast and/or free, they want their item carried into their house and set up for them. This is especially true now that more people are ordering bulky items like furniture online.

What online merchants can do:

Work with shipping partners who offer services like white glove installation. Be sure to vet your shipping partner thoroughly. A bad experience with installers will often reflect on your brand rather than the 3rd party service you worked with.

Easy Return Options

Not every item arrives as expected. Or maybe your customer already found the perfect pair of cashmere-lined gloves and wants to send yours back.

More and more, online buyers are treating shopping online as “shopping around.” KPMG’s survey also found that 40% of customers were more likely to buy from online retailers who had easy return policies.

What online merchants can do:

Be clear and upfront about your returns policy. Your customer should be able to figure out how to return their item from your website.

Make your return instructions clear. Provide return instructions or a shipping label right in the package. And if the return was due to a mistake on your part, like a product defect or faulty packaging, be prepared to make it right with the customer.

Check out this great post from Bigcommerce about writing a customer-friendly returns policy.

Knowing what your customers want, while also effectively handling your shipping strategy can be a timely and costly affair. But don’t worry, ShipperHQ is here to help you deliver the shipping options your customers expect.

Get started by signing up for a free 30-day trial of ShipperHQ.