Today, many online purchases are not completed because of poor delivery options. Giving consumers the ability to influence deliveries by choosing the location or time is part of the solution for e-retailers looking to strengthen their consumer relationships.
Tomorrow’s winners will be the retail businesses who best understand and customize the entire delivery chain to meet customers’ wishes.
Six steps to success
1. Simplify and clarify the delivery options
Clarifying when, how and where the delivery will take place from the very start helps the customer feel secure about the purchase. For a returning customer, the latest delivery option can be preselected at check-out. This builds loyalty, demonstrates knowledge about the customer and can increase conversion. For new or incidental customers, the ability to choose the delivery method can make or break the decision to buy.
2. Offer either: precision, speed or budget
The delivery experience should match the pre-purchase experience. Consumers are always weighing speed, precision and cost. For most consumers, a purchase is not so urgent that it’s worth paying more for fast delivery. However, many consumers would prefer to specify a precise delivery time or place, or fit it into their routine in a certain way. Retail businesses can no longer say an order will be delivered within three to five days. Customers don’t accept that.
3. Offer the option to choose the delivery location
Consumers want deliveries to fit into their daily lives. Retail businesses should therefore be able to offer freedom of choice and variety when it comes to delivery points. Being able to choose a suitable delivery location for every purchase creates more satisfied customers.
4. Be flexible and communicate with the customer
The customer is always right! This concept includes control over the delivery – from being able to choose the delivery method to tracking the product and understanding what is needed to receive the delivery. There is much to be gained by figuring out the customer’s preferences as early in the process as possible. How does the customer want to be contacted and notified – via e-mail, text message, a notification in their mailbox? It’s important to make it easy for the customer to choose an option.
5. Make it easy to modify the delivery
Successful companies should offer the option to change the delivery option later, for example by having someone else collect the parcel or changing the delivery location from a partner outlet near the customer’s home to one near their workplace. Being able to influence the delivery even after check-out is crucial for logistics to function and thus contributes to an even stronger relationship between the consumer and company.
6. Create smart returns solutions
Consumer patience can quickly run out when an item has to be returned. A requirement for a good buying experience is that the company can handle returns efficiently and conveniently. The company should offer simple solutions for returns, such as easy access to places where the item can be dropped off, clear instructions for how to handle returns and information about how a refund will take place. Having the courage to promise a time by which a refund will be paid increases the customer’s sense of security and reduces obstacles to purchasing.