The Importance of E-commerce Shipping and 3 Ways to Use it to Deliver a Better Customer Experience

Brandi Smith, Marketing Director

COVID-19 has led to dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour when it comes to their online purchases. According to McKinsey, there was an increase in e-commerce deliveries where online order volumes for the past ten years were delivered in just 8 weeks. Customer experience played a significant role in a brand’s success prior to the pandemic, but it has heightened exponentially with this increase in online order volumes and consumer expectations around product delivery being quick, efficient and on time with what seems to be a key driver and challenge with peak volumes all year long for couriers. And with online retailers having fewer opportunities than brick and mortar stores to provide personal customer service, delivery can be used as one way to demonstrate customer service offline.

If you’re looking to improve your customer service and boost your business, paying attention to your delivery process is key. Experience is everything for the digitally empowered customer and delivering online goods from factory to front door is an integral part of the sales experience. Getting that delivery function right means frictionless online sales that will ultimately result in a solid, loyal customer base. But what exactly is a good delivery experience?

A good delivery experience is contextual. It differs from individual to individual as their preferences and region in which the delivery is taking place will differ. The keys to securing a shopper that doesn’t abandon their cart, however, continue to be convenience, speed and price. And the proof is in the pudding. According to Digital 360 Commerce’s 2020 Edition Click, Ship and Return Report, 60% of consumers said that as a result of being an Amazon Prime member, if the price for a product is the same on two websites, they will purchase from the retailer that ships faster. A further 58% of shoppers said that they expect more products to be shipped for free at other, non-Amazon retailers. It has become an evolving battleground for retailers thanks to mass merchants Amazon, Walmart and Target with fast and free same day or next day delivery options. In turn, it puts pressure on delivery providers and can severely impact customer experience.

So, how can you improve your delivery service as an e-commerce brand and in turn improve your customer experience to create loyal, brand advocates? Here are three ways:

1. Offer a variety of delivery options

If you don’t already offer a variety of delivery options, it’s time to start. By offering diversity in your delivery options you give your customers the freedom to choose their preferred choice. This allows them to get their products in the timeframe they want and in return increases customer satisfaction in the process.

There are several reasons that multiple shipping options appeal to consumers:

  • Some customers don’t necessarily need an expedited same or next-day shipping service. Offering a slower shipping option may be suitable, especially for those more environmentally conscious consumers. Not sure how eco-friendly shipping is possible? Check out our Eco-friendly Shipping: The New Way That’s Better for the Planet blog.
  • Some customers prefer using a particular courier based on their location, personal preference or simply because of a bad experience with another courier.
  • Premium shipping can appeal to those that need their order right away, wait until the last minute with no other options or those who purchase high value items.

2. Choose the right courier(s)

When it comes to your delivery experience and evaluating couriers, there are a few factors to consider. While price always has a tendency to come into play, you need to consider reliability, tracking capabilities and any potential hidden costs that can catch you off guard when your monthly shipping invoice comes in (not to mention the reconciliation hassles!) When deciding on which couriers to work with, consider the following:

  • Smaller regional versus large hub-and-spoke couriers. Regional couriers, like ShipperBee, are typically more cost effective. We offer simple transparent pricing, which is lower than traditional hub-and-spoke couriers because we don’t have hidden fees or fuel, volume and peak surcharges.
  • Delivery times. Some customers want fast delivery options, while some are willing to wait. By offering a range of solutions with different delivery times, you’ll have a better chance of satisfying the masses.
  • Package tracking capabilities. Selecting a courier with good tracking not only keeps customers in the know at every step of the delivery process, but also keeps customer service calls and requests to a minimum. ShipperBee offers real-time GPS-enabled tracking which allows you and your customer to pinpoint their parcel’s exact destination at any time during the delivery process. This leads to the next point…

3. Go above and beyond with proof of delivery

In addition to providing reliable package tracking capabilities, like ShipperBee’s real-time GPS-enabled tracking, it’s important to select and work with a courier that offers reliable proof of delivery. Commonly used today is text messaging when the customer provides a mobile phone option to receive such messages. When texting isn’t an available option, you’ll want to select a courier that offers additional safeguards, especially as porch pirates become more and more common. ShipperBee as an example, rings the customer doorbell in an attempt to get a virtual signature from the recipient. Our drivers also take photo proof of confirmation of the address and house so you and your customer can see the date and time stamp of delivery and the exact destination the parcel was delivered to.

According to ECN, 55% of consumers indicate that they won’t re-order from a website that had troubles with their parcel delivery, so it’s worth exploring different couriers and taking a customer-centric approach to your shipping process. In the end, you can exceed customer expectations when it comes to delivering value, creating brand trust and retaining a loyal customer base.

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