Physical space in a shop offers the customer an experience therefore an ecommerce company needs to establish a strong post-purchase experience. This can be created utilising several areas such as fast and affordable shipping.
Post-purchase experience heavily relies on the fulfilment operation an ecommerce business currently has in place. The first physical interaction a customer has with your brand is the delivery of their order. First impressions are important, and you want to leave a strong, positive one from the get go in order to encourage repeat business.
In this article you can expect to learn what fulfilment experience is and how to optimise your supply chain to enhance the customer experience.
What is the fulfilment experience
The fulfilment experience is all about the picking, packing, and shipping process. A positive fulfilment experience is a result of orders being shipped efficiently and accurately, vice versa for a negative fulfilment experience.
The customer relies on successful ecommerce fulfilment, they have no part in the process leading up to the delivery of their product. So, it is crucial a fulfilment warehouse keeps an efficient supply chain as it can affect the one piece of physical contact the customer has with your business. The unboxing stage should always be pleasant for a customer, and this is what will drive brand loyalty.
Here are some order fulfilment stages that influence a customer’s experience:
The buyer’s journey is not over when the customer clicks purchase and then pays. The pre-purchase stage is heavily focused on by many brands as on face it is what draws the customer to the brand in the first place. The post-purchase stage is sometimes neglected as a result of this. This is a common misconception when in fact it is the post-purchase stage that hooks the customer.
It all starts with a clear communication process for customers. Starting with order confirmation after purchase. It is important to provide any updates on shipping times, if necessary, as soon as possible.
Order confirmation can be sent several ways. The most commonly used form of communication in this instance is short email confirmations or a text message.
Shipping details and tracking
Once a product is fulfilled and shipped, customer's appreciate an update on when their order is expected to arrive. It is important for last-mile delivery services (or carriers) are as efficient as your own picking and packing processes. A carrier would be responsible for updating the whereabouts of the final stages of the delivery, providing updates, and sometimes giving customers the ability to actively track their order. This plays a vital role in the customer experience, sharing when the order will arrive and whether to expect delays or not.
Nowadays carriers such as DHL, DPD, and UPS offer different levels of service based on the needs of the customer. With the ability to drive, ship, and fly orders anywhere around the world.
Along with a strong relationship with carriers, a third-party logistics provider may have several warehouses set up in different regions around the world, speeding up delivery. With all fulfilment centres having their own strong relationship with local carriers and sometimes being able to negotiate cheaper shipping rates.
A 3PL partner enables an ecommerce business to provide fast, efficient delivery for all customers, wherever they are, that doesn’t eat away at profit margins.
The unboxing experience
Mentioned previously, the unboxing experience is the first real-life interaction the customer has with your business. Make this experience stand out from the rest.
Firstly, delivery speed and accuracy is crucial. Anything added after this will be completely overshadowed by a late or inaccurate delivery. However, if deliveries have been consistent then it is time to focus on other elements that may make this interaction more memorable. Customised packaging and personalisation can be implemented, GET CREATIVE!
The object here is to delight your customers. Not only will customers be excited to shop from you again, but there is also a better chance that they share your brand on social media and with friends.
Online brands that invest in a solid returns process see a 12% increase in customer satisfaction. Returns are always going to crop up occasionally. Even if you have the most accurate processes, a customer may not like the product on arrival, or it isn’t the right fit for them. Returns are not a lost sale though. See the returns process as another opportunity to give your customer another good experience.
When replacing products, a customer will appreciate the newly replaced one arriving just days later, keep the returns process consistent with the speed of the original delivery.
A well-trained customer service team will also create a good experience for customers. Having them connect directly to customers, get feedback, and process returns and exchanges quickly. Feedback is important for an insight into what is driving returns.
Customer satisfaction and the fulfilment experience
In this day and age fast shipping is expected from any ecommerce business. Without the option for same day, next day, or 2 day shipping you are essentially lowering your chances of receiving orders. In the world where Amazon sells virtually everything and has speedy shipping, this needs to be one of the main elements in your business. Implementing free shipping is also another variable to consider as this to has become common practice for many ecommerce brands. You can cleverly increase your average order value by utilising free shipping. By setting a spend range that rewards free shipping, this also reduces cart abandonment rate.
To simplify, establishing a flexible and efficient shipping strategy that meets customers' expectations plays a huge role in fulfilment.
How to create a fulfilment experience customers will remember
There are several ways to optimise a customer's fulfilment experience. This can be done with order accuracy and rememberable packaging, but to succeed a robust fulfilment infrastructure and technology is required, especially if you want to stay competitive with the vast amount of fulfilment centres.
Ways ecommerce businesses can enhance their fulfilment experience is by joining a 3PL like OnLogistics where technology, expertise, and all-round support is provided. A combination of expertise and technology, paired with a dedicated team, your fulfilment operations can significantly improve. Utilising a 3PL also alleviates the laboursome work you may be doing yourself, giving you more time to focus on other areas of the business-like marketing the brand.
Offer a quick, flexible, and affordable shipping
It is common knowledge that quick shipping is an essential part of any successful ecommerce business. With the recent pandemic ecommerce stores saw a boom so the market is no short of competition.
However, it is not always about speedy shipping. As mentioned, it is common knowledge and therefore every ecommerce store aims for the fastest shipping times. Introducing flexible shipping options can set you apart from other stores. Including options in the shipping procedure allows customers to plan around the shipping times. If your store sells valuable goods a customer may feel more comfortable accepting the delivery themselves instead of leaving it with a neighbour or hidden at the front of the house. Flexible shipping options can facilitate this, giving customers an exact date for delivery ensuring they are present when it arrives.
OnLogistics has the capacity to ship on demand. Whether that be next day or some days in advance. No matter where you are, OnLogistics has operations in some of the largest geographical markets around the world, with footholds in the UK, EU, USA, and parts of Eastern Asia.
Free shipping is also an expectation for customers. Offering shipping incentives is a major component to your ecommerce marketing strategy. Implementing a quick and efficient fulfilment operation allows you to offer affordable shipping incentives like free shipping by setting a spend threshold.
Introduce branded/custom packaging
As previously mentioned, the first physical point of contact your customers have with your brand is the delivery.
That is why many DTC brands invest in custom packaging. Branded custom packaging helps build brand recognition. By creating a joyful experience during a customers unboxing of their order, increased brand loyalty can occur. This pleasant experience can prompt word-of-mouth and social media shares further promoting your brand.
OnLogistics has standard packaging ready to use, this can always be substituted with packaging of your own design. Our dedicated team is well prepared for any custom packaging you may require. We can also help you find the right packaging for your products.
Improve customer communication
It is inevitable that an ecommerce supply chain experiences issues. From carrier delays, warehouse or manufacturing shutdowns, and external/environmental issues. Even the strongest fulfilment provider can be negatively impacted from events completely out of their control.
To ease customers once these issues, arise, implement a system that gives the customer complete transparency of where their order is and when they can expect it. Simply sending tracking information regularly or being punctual with email replies can go a long way.
This can be made easier by utilising technology that gives you full transparency. OnLogistics integrated system allows you to track orders that have left the warehouse as well as filter through all distributed orders to a single item, enabling you to keep your customers up to date on their orders when necessary.
Creating fulfilment experience at scale
58% of customers won’t make another purchase from an online brand once they have experienced poor customer service. To create an experience a customer will never forget, and maybe openly discuss with friends, you need the infrastructure, technology, and support to create a reliable, accurate, and consistent fulfilment experience.
OnLogistics can offer expertise within the field as well as up-to-date technology that integrates directly into your ecommerce store, giving you complete transparency with data analytics and order tracking, and built-in order and inventory tracking. All this spread across our growing network of fulfilment sites around the world.