Most ecommerce businesses process an online transaction, ship out the product, and move on to the next order. While efficient, this approach cheapens the purchase process and doesn’t take full advantage of the opportunity to wow customers. As such, it may be time to go back to the proverbial drawing board and reimagine what deliveries could look like.
Enhancing the Delivery Experience for Customers
The traditional process of purchasing a physical product has remained the same for centuries. A customer has a need, he goes to the store, picks out a product, takes it to the register, purchases the product, and goes home with the product. There’s little, if any, delay between when a customer purchase a product and when he gets to use or consume the product. If he so desires, he can buy the product and use it before leaving the store.
Now fast forward to 2019 and observe how ecommerce has disrupted this prototypical purchase experience. In today’s world, a customer has a need, goes online, finds a product, clicks the purchase button, and then has to wait for the product to arrive at his doorstep. And even with improved supply chains that allow for same-day, next-day, or two-day shipping, there’s still a delay. You can’t purchase a physical product and simultaneously hold it in your hands.
With fast and efficient shipping, this may not seem like a big deal. However, it removes some of the control that businesses have over the initial interaction between the customer and the product. No longer does this touchpoint occur in the store where company representatives can directly influence the interaction. Instead, it happens all over the world at doorsteps, porches, driveways, apartment lobbies, post offices, and package lockers.
For businesses, it’s time to reclaim this lost component of the customer experience. It’s time to embrace the evolution of the purchase process and place emphasis on the delivery experience. While there will always be elements outside of your control, adopting a more proactive approach will allow you to embrace this phase of the customer experience and put your fingerprints all over it.
As always, the exact customer experience you deliver to each of your customers will vary rather dramatically from the customer experience each of your competitors’ creates, but here are some overarching principles that you may find helpful in your pursuit of wowing customers upon delivery:
1. Keep Customers Informed
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You’ve been in a situation where you’ve ordered something online that you were really excited about. You were so excited that you continually checked your inbox for shipping updates and kept refreshing the tracking number to see where the item was. Your customers are doing this, too. Are you controlling this part of the process in a positive manner?
Keep customers as informed as you possibly can about their delivery. This does a couple of things. First off, it helps them see where the product is so that they can plan accordingly. Secondly, it gets them excited. By helping them stay abreast of when the product is shipped, where it is, and when it’ll be delivered, you’re cultivating anticipation and keeping your product at the forefront of your customer’s mind.
2. Consider the Unboxing Experience
The trend of unboxing videos published is unparalleled. It’s one of the fastest growing user-generated content categories on YouTube. (To date, users have watched nearly 3 billion minutes of unboxing videos.) This goes to show how important the experience of cutting the shipping tape and opening the box really is to customers.
Your packaging should be designed with this experience in mind. From how the product is positioned within the packaging to the smell customers are greeted with upon opening the box, every little detail matters.
3. Include Bonuses the Customer Isn’t Expecting
It’s always nice to exceed expectations. You can do this by including bonuses that the customer wasn’t expecting. For example, you can provide a printed booklet featuring informative content about the product. Or maybe you’re launching a new product next month and you want to include a free sample. Coupons and discount codes for future purchases are also useful. Use your creativity!
4. Insert a Handwritten Note
In a world of generic marketing and automated shopping experiences, customers love it when brands take the time to personalize their interactions. Including a handwritten thank you note is a great way to show your customers that you care.
Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Shine
As steep as the competition is in today’s online world, you can’t afford to miss out on opportunities to wow your customers and deepen your relationship with them. Every single element of how you interact with your customers matters. From the moment they’re exposed to your brand until long after they finish using your products, you must be intently focused on cultivating a powerful and positive experience.
The delivery stage of the customer experience isn’t something that’s written about in textbooks or discussed in motivational keynote speeches – but it should be! Moving forward, it’s the online businesses that are able to leverage this critical touchpoint that will develop powerful customer relationships.