Product Fulfillment - A chance to secure a lifelong buyer or expensive time waster?
This week I have been doing some intensive ecommerce research.
Yep that's right I have been shopping up a storm online! all in the name of understanding the art of product fulfillment.
One of the great joys and unexpected bonuses of shopping online is that it is a little like getting a present, a present for yourself, (or maybe others).
Part of this is created by the experience a customer has with you after the initial transaction online. This contributes in no small measure to making sure that they come back and shop with you online!
Each time I purchase from a new online e-tailer, I take particular notice of the following key processes that add to the overall 'online shopping' experience.
1. Packing notification
2. Shipping Notification - A tracking advice as to what stage my order is up to in the delivery process
3. Beautifully and Carefully wrapped items. You may think that sounds a little girly, but I will elaborate on that further below.
4. A little thank you note for my purchase
5. Simple and clear instructions on how to return any of my items if I need to.
How these 5 things are done or not done are deal breakers for me.
A key way to keep your customers coming back and shopping in the future is determine by how well you fulfill their order.
So what am I looking for?
Send a notice of despatch
Advise them of their tracking numbers - I love how easy Australia Post make this for online retailers.
Pack my items well
This is truly the sign of a savvy etailer.
Someone who does not see taking the care to pack items as part of the hook to bring me back to your online store is going to loose me over time. Remember I can buy what you sell from anyone, so stand out and take care with wrapping.
I am huge fan of how Birdsnest never fail to wow me with my purchases, whether for me or someone else, I always feel like it is a present and they are genuinely excited by me purchasing again from them.
I had a bad experience last year of an upmarket etailer that I was purchasing from for the very first time. It was no Birdsnest experience, let me tell you! My expensive silk dress was jammed into a very small package, there was no thank you for buying (as I was a first time purchaser) and I had to struggle to read the VERY small print to see what I needed to do to send it back!
Personalise the purchase
If you want me to buy from you again, it is easy to acknowledge me in some way, especially with a first time purchase. Today data collection processes make this very EASY to do and can be automated, so make me feel welcome if you want me to come back.
Finally, don't make it hard for me to send items back when they don't fit. Today I had to send back some items to Dotti for my daughter and it was so easy to do this. All the documentation and instructions I needed was clearly in my package. Plus some handy information regarding future discounts for me now that I am part of the Dotti nation.
These are small steps, but if you build them into the process of shipping your items, they can add thousands to your bottom line over the year.
So don't think of the after sale shipping process as a time drain and cost.
This is how you can provide the WOW factor for customers and ensure that they come back to you time and again.