The Importance of the Post-Purchase Experience
Online shoppers are increasingly focusing on the buying experience to decide how they feel about brands. They no longer judge a product merely on its quality.
Experiences are relatable and can be shared on social media. This makes it imperative that brands provide their customers with positive, memorable buying experiences.
If you are a retail shipper, working on the experience you provide your customers after checkout can yield your business rich dividends in the form of repeat purchases. Also, it pays to remember that it costs way more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Here are meaningful steps you can take to ensure that your customers have a top-notch post-purchase experience and keep buying from your business.
It costs way more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So retain your customers by providing great service.
1. Heighten the anticipation of delivery by sending customers product-usage tips while they wait
When a customer buys from your site, there is a natural anticipation that they experience. They wish to unbox the product and hold it in hand before usage.
For most people, there is a particular pleasure in unboxing a brand new product. The sights and smells associated with the process can be both memorable and powerful.
You can use this to your advantage. Heighten the anticipation in the customer’s mind by sending them informational emails while they wait. In these emails, explain any unique features of the product and also specific ways to best use it. These emails can also be used to cross-sell some of your other products.
2. Create a branded tracking page with cross-sell opportunities
Another measure you could take to make a positive impression on the minds of your customers is to provide them product tracking information on a customized site that contains the branding of your business. This site would serve as an alternative to the tracking page of your shipping carrier.
The tracking information provided by your shipping carrier can be populated on the site when the tracking number of a particular order is entered.
Apart from providing product tracking information, this site could also be used to cross-sell some of your other products to these customers. This of course should be done subtly. If executed correctly, this strategy can prove to be profitable.
3. Track parcels in real time and inform customers of impending delays before the fact
As a business that ships regularly, one of the best steps you could take is to track the parcels of your customers in real time and keep them updated in case of delays. If you hear of shipping delays from your customers, then you’re probably not doing everything in your power to avoid them.
Using a service like Pulse from LateShipment.com can help you with tracking all your shipments. Pulse uses an intelligent algorithm to predict delays and over 50 other shipping failures across shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, CanadaPost, Purolator, and more. Once any issue is identified, you will be in a position to take measures to manage the issue like inform the customer of the changed delivery timeline or send them another parcel via a priority service type.
4. Compensate your customers for delays
Let’s face it. Sometimes, delays are inevitable. At such times, the prudent thing to do is often to compensate the customer in some way or another to ensure that their business stays with you and does not move to a competitor. This might cost you monetarily in the short term but might be a clincher in the long run. After all, the cost of retaining an existing customer is quite small compared to the cost of acquiring a new one.
Some of the things you could do by way of compensating your customers is sending them a personalized note apologising for the delay in delivery along with discount codes for future purchases, promising them free products along with future purchases, or adding bonus points to their account on your site.
If you don’t work proactively to compensate customers for poor delivery experiences, you face the risk of losing them forever or having a negative review written about your product on social media.
Perception is key here, and approached from this perspective, the act of compensating serves not only as damage control, but also as a PR opportunity for your business.
5. Provide return shipping labels & bear the cost of return shipping
Another thing you could do to add to a customer’s post-purchase experience is to provide them with the option of sending back a product that does not satisfy them. To this end, send a return shipping label along with the product.
If the customer chooses to return the product, make sure to either refund the cost of return shipping or send them discount coupons for future purchases on your site.
Now here are some bonus tips for you to do still more to ace your post-purchase game.
1. Treat the last mile shipping experience as an integral part of the brand experience you provide
Most retail shippers often make a mistake that costs them heavily. They don’t focus on the last-mile experience they provide their customers.
These businesses all too often function on the assumption that their shipping carriers will take care of the last mile. This is dangerous because shipping carriers are not always on time as they claim. A bad post-purchase experience can ruin things for you while having little impact on your shipping carrier. This is because your customers identify your brand and not your carrier with the delivery experience.
The large corporations by-and-large understand this and work hard to ensure they don’t lose existing customers due to the poor service of their carriers.
2. Actively engage with buyers on social channels
Another thing successful businesses do is to be active on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. These are often the places where people come to ask for suggestions from others or vent their ire over poor service quality. Being active on these channels gives you the opportunity to be proactive in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
Social media channels are also great for expedited customer support. If your support team is able to revert to queries and concerns on these channels quickly, that will add to the perception of your brand.
3. Have a loyalty program in place to value repeat shoppers
There is a reason why many businesses make the effort to reward their customers for shopping with them: it works.
People love to be rewarded for their shopping habits and are grateful to retailers who give them benefits for repeat shopping.
Oftentimes, and especially when product prices across brands are uniform, the strength of the loyalty program you offer your customers can clinch you repeat business. Make your loyalty program better than that of your competitors, and you have taken a decisive step to retaining your customers.
It also helps to remind customers of the loyalty points they’ve accrued while sending them emails and SMSes.
The fact is, there is more power than ever before in the hands of the shipper. No longer must you resign yourself to disappointment if your shipping carrier messes up at their end. There are, as you have seen by now, many things you can do at your end to ace your last mile regardless of some factors being out of your control.
So go out and clinch that last mile for your business!