You recently started an online business, you’ve received your first 100 purchases. You are over the moon. Now the tricky part is to start packing and getting them delivered in time, and the money is all yours for the keeping. That’s the end of it, right? Well… not entirely. There’s still the part of shipping which accounts for the final part of the process. More often than not, shipping is often overlooked and neglected by many businesses. And if that is the case, you may want to rethink your mindset towards shipping. Here are 10 ways you can work on to provide your customers with a more favorable shipping experience.
Allow us to repeat that again. Never. Ever. Drop. An. Expensive. Shipping. Price. On. Your. Customers. Without. Reason. Okay, shipping prices are a part and parcel of online purchase, and it’s only fair that the people who deliver goods to us are paid too, but unless you’re living halfway across the globe and purchasing an item that’s on the other end of the globe, there is simply no reason for you to charge ridiculous shipping prices. In fact, no one likes to spend a fortune getting an item, only to be slapped with an enormous amount of shipping cost, not unless it is well justified. If you’re going to charge for shipping, be upfront about it.
If expensive shipping costs are unavoidable, it’s best to inform your customers about the shipping costs beforehand, or allow your customers to calculate their shipping costs. This way, they can decide if they would like to proceed further. Transparency shows that you’re acknowledging their concerns, and it will help soften the blow when it comes to paying up. The good news is most shipping cost calculators can be implemented easily into your online store, so there isn’t a reason for you to skimp out on that. Or, you could follow in the footsteps of Amazon and list the range of the shipping costs to give your customers a better idea. That works too. Again, it’s all about being honest.
No matter the cost of the item, it’s always a good idea to ensure the items are well-insured before being delivered to your customers. No one likes to receive an item that has been damaged in-transit, or have their items pried open for inspection. Many country customs have the tendency to open up boxes and packages to check for the item content, though many will not pry open unnecessarily unless it is a highly questionable item. The other concern on hand is the mishandling of the package, which is a highly prevalent issue in logistics. Even if your packages are handled with the utmost care, sometimes factors that are out of control will subject the item to some unintended wear and tear, so having the item well protected is incredibly important, Lastly, ensuring that your items are well protected will also go a long way in preventing refunds or exchanges, which can sour the experience for both buyers and sellers.
Nothing is scarier than an item that is lost in-transit. Most times, items that have gone missing in-transit usually lack a tracking number, which is why thefts are so common with them. Even if a refund or a compensation were offered in place, it would never truly make up for the experience of the lost item. Worse, it’ll leave your customers with a bitter taste in their mouth. Hence, investing in a software that allows you to track the movement of your shipment wherever and whenever is very important. With near real-time updates on shipment, you and your customer can rest better knowing its current progress.
Many businesses think spending time and money on personalized packaging is a waste of resources. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Having a personalized packaging helps your product stand out from the rest and it leaves your buyers with a good impression of your brand. After all, it’s the little grace notes that count.
People looove freebies. And it doesn’t take an expensive freebie to make your customers happy. Sometimes, some sellers even throw in a sample kit from one of their products along with the customer’s bought item. No one would ever refuse a freebie and it’s like free promotion or advertising for your other products. You get to promote the other products in your business, and customers are left feeling happy.
Customer service isn’t just answering queries and troubleshooting issues with competency. It’s also about having timely communication and going the extra mile with your service. Some ecommerce businesses take it upon themselves to personally update their customers on their parcel or shipment, even before the item has been shipped. For example, the seller would take pictures of the parcel to show how the item has been packed, the box that it would arrive in, the slip containing the tracking numbers and the recipient’s address, even requesting for a gentle reminder from the customer to respond once they have received their items. All these are massive brownie points to a business, and they go a long way in ensuring further patronage in the near future.
Asking for feedback is a way to tell that a business takes itself seriously and that they sincerely hope to provide far better services in the near future by improving on their shortcomings. Usually once the customer has received their items, businesses would send them an email along with an e-feedback form to request for input. One of the items that is listed on the form will concern a customer’s satisfaction towards the shipping or delivery experience. Make use of that feedback if the general consensus regarding your shipping is poor.
Much like brand packaging and freebies, personalized letters or notes are a great way to leave a good impression about your brand. When customers receive a personal note from you, they tend to feel appreciated and acknowledged. In short, personalization is incredibly powerful, as it creates a positive association to the brand.
Some folks wouldn’t mind spending extra for expedited shipping services, especially if they’re eager to have the item in their hands as soon as possible. Much like surprise shipping costs, the trick here is to maintain absolute transparency when it comes to charging for expedited shipping. Put it out in the clear that you’re offering expedited shipping, along with its cost, and if people want it, they’ll go for it.
At the end of the day, shipping experience is all about the little touches here and there. Unlike most other aspects of logistics that are focused on the big picture, shipping is all about the attention to detail and how well it is translated across. Go the extra mile for your customers, and you can be sure they’ll do the same.