The arrival of a brand-new purchase is often the most exciting time for customers. And from a retailer’s perspective, the final act of the customer journey is the most important touchpoint for influencing satisfaction and loyalty.
If this goes wrong, then this satisfaction can quickly turn ugly, potentially putting customers off future purchases. Data has shown that roughly 50% of customers would switch to a new brand after just one bad experience. It’s a fine line to tread between walking the happy path and the unhappy path.
For retailers, the happy path generally takes the route: ‘dispatched > in transit > out for delivery > delivered’. That’s the perfect scenario. But, as we all know, it doesn’t always pan out this way. So when a parcel delivery goes down the unhappy path, how can retailers turn the experience into a positive outcome? And what other strategies, tools and actions can they use to create a post-purchase experience that will keep shoppers coming back for more?
Here we explore five initiatives being taken by some of the most innovative, leading retailers.
The happy path and the unhappy path
How can brands avoid the unhappy path? More often than not, it is out of their hands. Traffic, bad weather, fleet breakdowns or strikes can be unexpected and unavoidable. This is why the most important part of an unhappy path situation is active communication. Regular and proactive communication while inconveniences are occurring is a sure-fire way to make sure the customer is satisfied. Delivery status comms are of course important for the happy path, but when parcel journeys veer off-course, that’s when keeping customers in the loop is paramount. If the customer doesn’t know what is happening, they’re at a loss. Inevitably, this will drive dissatisfaction, and a loss in loyalty, in the post-purchase experience.
It is a bad situation turned into a better outcome. In fact, 87% of consumers would trust a brand more if they had communicated the status of the delivery more effectively.
Proactive WISMO reduction
It’s this proactivity that puts the power to reduce costly WISMO in your hands. We often hear from retailers that the first time they know there’s a problem with the shipment is when the customer contacts them. This has a big knock-on effect, creating significantly more effort for the contact service team to solve the problem – with potential refunds – due to failed delivery promises, and time-consuming admin tasks.
It’s why managing expectations and proactive communications are so key. This can include spotting problems before they happen so that you can relay reasons and apologies to customers and show how you will deal with the problem. As a result, customers don’t need to ring up contact centres and can self-serve their WISMO enquiries through your comms and tracking services.
Building brand loyalty
You’ve spent a lot of money getting your customer to buy from your website and then you’re handing over shipping to a third party – suddenly, all of the comms are now out of your hands. This is why brands need to make the switch to a branded communication experience. In fact, more than 85% of customers want to experience proactive communication and contact from a business.
Achieving a consistent and branded journey is vital for building brand affinity and loyalty, for both the happy and unhappy path. Rather than having customers go to various carrier websites, you can create a joined-up journey where the control of what you’re communicating, including any upsell opportunities, lies with you. That means every piece of copy and creative content that a customer comes across can be tailored to your brand.
It’s all about delivering a fully immersive branded experience for your customers to stand out from the crowd.
Upselling in post-purchase
On average, delivery post-purchase communications have an open rate of around 70% alongside a high click through rate. That’s a very good rate. It shows there is vast potential for upsell and conversion opportunities.
Any links in emails, for example, can take customers to branded content on tracking pages, product launches, and your website. You can also personalise the content and tailor the journey to different customer groups who are more likely to buy certain products, helping to drive additional revenue. This can take the form of displaying specific campaign launches, promos, or discounts.
If you are currently carrying out a seasonal campaign, for instance, this strategy enables you to ensure that this is delivered consistently throughout the pre and post purchase journey. As you have full control over your content, you can push whatever areas of the business you wish.
Delivery dashboard insight
Using a delivery dashboard can be a game changer. If a customer service agent is on a WISMO case, they can easily search the dashboard for shipping records, pull all of the information and update the customer accordingly. This includes shipment status, such as ‘damaged’ or ‘missing’, so that they can be proactive with comms.
This also serves the carrier ops team, who can monitor carriers carefully and use insights to reduce failures and ensure deliveries are arriving on time. It’s often the way that customers spot problems before retailers, as they can see how geographical, traffic or local weather events, for instance, will affect deliveries. If the dashboard has this insight, retailers can quickly express awareness of the situation to customers and manage expectations. It allows for both proactive and quick reactive comms.
This is all possible through having a single source of insight for all delivery statuses.
The five-star experience
Whether the delivery is on the happy or, especially, the unhappy path, communication is everything. It’s about being proactive and speedily reactive with communication, consistent with your brand content and innovative in your approach to managing the experience. By taking on these five initiatives, you can begin to formulate a five-star post purchase experience that places the customer at the heart of the journey. Now, that’s the path you want to take.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Greenall, VP of Product, Sorted Group
Dan Greenall is the VP of Product at Sorted Group. He has over 15 years B2C and B2B marketing experience, 10 of which have been spent leading B2B marketing teams in VC backed start-ups and high growth technology businesses such as Daisy Group and AccessPay. Dan has proven success in building and developing teams, and implementing and optimising programmes that drive revenue growth. His expertise lies in B2B Technology and SaaS marketing as well as new product launches.