For the past one and half decades, e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds. Its seemingly great potential in the future has captured everyone’s imagination. However, this growing popularity has also created an intense competition among e-commerce companies. That means a comprehensive acquisition and retention strategy is the need of the hour considering how retailers are continually seeking new ways to stand out.
From initiating the interaction to making the purchase, customers expect a seamless shopping experience. They need all their pain points addressed effectively, sensibly, and consistently. In view of this, 84% of retailers say creating a consistent customer experience across channels is very important. Also according to a Kissmetrics study, 71% of customers end a business relationship due to poorly-designed customer service policies.
Therefore, an important aspect that needs to be focused on in today’s e-commerce environment is post-purchase customer experience. After clicking on “buy” button, customers essentially go through a phase of uncertainty. They are not completely sure whether the product will arrive on time or it will not get damaged. This is where retailers can create a profound trust with their customers by communicating regular updates and reassurances regarding the order and delivery status. The point is customers who feel absolutely comfortable shopping online will make repeat purchases in the future.
If you are thinking of crafting post-purchase customer experience strategies, the following tips will help you:
- Provide shoppers with relevant and personalized information
Customers who are waiting for their products to arrive are open to getting information from the retailer, especially when it is personalized. According to a report, 73% of customers are more inclined to brands that use personal information for a relevant shopping experience. Integrating personalization in e-commerce helps increase conversion rates when customers are nurtured with targeted content.
Personalization improves engagement as customers who can relate to your website will end up spending more time on it and would definitely return in the future. As per another study, 59% online shoppers believe that personalized online retail stores provide them with more interesting products. Many customers are interested in receiving information regarding attractive promotions and product recommendations. Hence personalized messages increase your reputation, as they promote meaningful interactions with every buyer.
Personalization also includes custom web development where you incorporate tools for effective data gathering in order to make better predictions on visitors’ behavior. It leads to a systemized recommendation of products that match customers’ exact preference.
- Settle their expectations before they make a purchase
With a greater scope of technology integration in today’s e-commerce landscape, customer expectations are also changing dramatically. Customers today are extremely choosy; they can go to any competitor website if your online store doesn’t fulfill their needs. Thus while they are shopping on your site, even before they click on the “buy” button, you need to set their expectations. It is important for you to display shipping and return information clearly, concisely, and conveniently. Make sure your site shows an accurate delivery date range throughout the checkout process.
Consumers expect companies will put the proper information and products where they can easily find them. Nearly half of consumers will dump their online cart if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions. Thus one of the most effective post-purchase experience strategies is “listen to your customers closely and respond quickly”.
- Communicate with them zealously
A tireless communication on your part throughout the order fulfillment process is the key. It helps you build a working camaraderie with both new and existing customers. As a matter of fact, right after the moment of checkout till the time of receiving the order, your customers are anxiously waiting for updates regarding the delivery. Thus communicating with them at every instant becomes very important. You have to keep notifying your customers at every major stage in the delivery process. These are an order confirmation, item dispatch, transit, out for delivery, and successfully delivered. Giving them regular updates across these stages will keep your customers engaged and informed.
Your customers expect some follow-up efforts to fill in their experience, so provide them with the right amount of information at right time through the channel they prefer. For example, utility customers are comfortable with notifications, B2B customers prefer periodic emails, while tech customers keep their eyes on social media for the latest updates.
- Incorporate a simplified return and refund policy
Refund policy and return process can trigger post-purchase anxiety if your customers are not properly intimated with this useful information. Being transparent, therefore, will be built trust as it shows your brand isn’t all after sales; you also understand their needs. E-commerce is based on a comprehensive logistic framework. It covers delivery, returns as well as what happens to items afterward. With growing e-commerce purchases, there’s a greater need to put in place a clear policy and easy process for returns. To effectively address this, a pre-paid return shipping can go a long way in simplifying customers’ return experience that ensures that the return is as easy as possible. In the event of any damage, allow your customers to generate a new shipping label through their account page. It will generate a goodwill with your customers.
- Offer delivery options and simplify the package tracking process
Delivery for online purchases has also come a long way since e-commerce started. Many successful marketers are offering a range of options to appeal to their customers. As a part of post-purchase customer experience, you have to use strategic shipping options to differentiate yourself from the competition and increase margins. You can surprise your shoppers on two things: free shipping and options for speed. Free shipping could be a reward for loyalty or part of sales promotion.
Fast delivery, on the other hand, is very important for many customers even though they choose the most economical route. According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ Study 2017, offering faster transit times, you can cater to the 77 percent of shoppers. Thus incorporating a shipping suite extension in your website, you can easily create, modify and control shipping methods, rules, and rates in a click.
Furthermore, package tracking during the delivery process is very important for you, so using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology can give you a big boost in this aspect. Using this technology, an RFID chip is inserted in the parcel label, then a scanner reads it and updates with EDI messages.
- Use professional packaging for brand awareness
From product safety to impressive delivery, the professional packaging is also a very important part of post-purchase customer experience. From the perspective of a memorable customer journey, the shipping package should enhance the brand experience. It should be appropriately sized and reflect the true essence of your brand. As a powerful branding element, you should take advantage of inner and outer packaging to leave a strong impression on your customers. It’s more like creating a mini-billboard that can help you share your values with your customers. Hence, when your packaging connects with your consumers at an emotional level, there are increased chances that they will come back to shop with you.
- Don’t forget to ask their genuine feedback
Asking customer feedback and acting on it can easily skyrocket your customer experience efforts. After all, every customer wants their advice to be heard and acted upon in a discreet manner. Asking their genuine feedback means you are letting your customers know that their satisfaction is your priority. You can invite them to fill-out e-mail surveys and submit product reviews or testimonials. Doing this will also help you build social proof in this process. Thus, by asking your customers to provide you with feedback, you’re communicating that you value their opinion, and you care about what they have to say. It will go a long way in generating a better customer experience.
While it is important to make first-hand interaction with new customers, working on post-purchase customer experience is just as crucial. It minimizes stress and maximizes convenience for both you and your customers. The key is to add value to every customer touch-point throughout their buying journey.