I recently joined Triquestra as a business analyst after spending four years with a shipping automation software company.
As we’re all seeing, the ability to give shoppers a range of pick-up and delivery options is now a big part of a successful customer experience, and I wanted to share my top tips for a good fulfilment strategy. You need to start at the beginning to keep customers happy through to the very end of their sales transaction.
1: STOCK: Inform your customers about stock levels
How disappointed would you be if you discovered that the pair of shoes you badly needed for your race this weekend couldn’t be delivered for three weeks because the stock was unavailable?
Set your customer expectations by providing accurate stock levels on your website during the browsing process so they can see right away what’s available and what has to be ordered.
2: SHIPPING COSTS: Be sure you’re getting the best rate
Shipping can be complicated, with costs varying according to the destination, the weight and the size of the packages you need to deliver. You want to make sure that you are using the best courier in every situation: Who’s best for international packages, is it the same company for national and bulky packages, what about deliveries in the same city?
To choose the best couriers for yourself and your customers, define simple rules within your retail system to select a carrier according to the weight or destination of the package. Or integrate a shipping platform that can determine the best carrier automatically.
Another solution is to let your customers select the best option by listing all your courier services and their prices during the checkout process. Then your customer can decide between the cheapest service or choose to pay extra for premium or express service. We know some customers value convenience over price.
3: FULFILMENT SPEED: Don’t let an order backlog grow
Ensure you are using the best processes and tools to run your dispatch centre. Packing slips and a barcode scanner are a must, and you also need to test your operation to make sure it matches the volume of orders you need to fulfil.
Consider fulfilling orders from your stores to reduce shipping costs and allow your customers pick up their orders themselves.
4: COMMUNICATION: Keep your customers in the loop
Make sure you inform and update your customers about their deliveries.
Send proactive delivery information by text or email at every stage.
Let customers track their orders through your website, instead of a courier company’s website. Then customers will have constant contact with your brand and can see details of their purchase as well as its delivery journey.
5: RETURNS: Offer returns to win customer trust
Most major online retailers offer free returns. While returns are often seen as an additional expense, they can actually drive revenue, increase profit, improve customer experience and boost your brand’s reputation. Please see our recent article on why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy.