How your shipping is affecting customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty is big news in 2021. With more people selling online than ever before, and the ongoing uncertainty that COVID-19 still brings, customers want an online store they can trust and stick with for the long term.

Two huge factors consumers look at when choosing their merchant of preference are delivery speed and reliability.

Your shipping has the power to satisfy, delight, surprise, and even dazzle your customers. However, when done poorly, it also can disappoint, upset, frustrate, and anger them.

This article will cover how your shipping affects your buyer experience, why you need to offer fast deliveries, and how to ensure your fulfillment is helping customer loyalty, rather than hurting it.

Why customer loyalty is important for every eCommerce store

Before we jump into the dos and don’ts of shipping, let’s take a look at what customer loyalty means for your brand. Customer loyalty is a consumer’s willingness to buy from you again.

It’s important for a few reasons:

  1. Loyal customers are five times cheaper to sell to than new customers.
  2. Repeat customers buy more products and spend more money.
  3. Returning shoppers know about your brand, making them easier to market to.
  4. Loyal customers are happy customers, making them more likely to become brand ambassadors.

How shipping affects customer loyalty

Your buyer experience can live or die by your fulfillment. It affects your buyer experience, customer lifetime value, and your brand reputation.

1. The customer experience

The Peak-End Rule found that, in an experience, people most prominently remember their peaks and how it ended. Your product delivery is usually the last impression a customer has of your brand, giving it considerable sway over the overall customer experience and what they remember from you.

No matter how much you impress a customer during the pre-purchase stage, a late, missing, or damaged parcel will stain their entire experience.

2. Customer lifetime value

Customers crave an easy online shopping experience — it’s why one-click checkouts and Instagram Shopping drives conversions. The speed, convenience, and cost of your shipping tells customers how easy it will be buying from you again, influencing whether they do.

Showing your customers how easy it is to buy from you encourages repeat purchases, and extends their customer lifetime value in the meantime.

3. Brand differentiation

Finally, an outstanding shipping experience sets your brand apart from other retailers, making you memorable for a good reason.

Customers remember the sellers that make them feel special, valued, and rewarded, and shipping is a prime opportunity to do this.

How to boost customer loyalty with shipping

There are many eCommerce sellers who think the buyer experience ends when someone checks out. So they concentrate on new customer acquisition and getting shoppers to convert, but neglect the post-purchase experience.

The good news is many of your competitors have neglected the customer experience beyond the buy button. This means while they continue concentrating their efforts on attracting customers through SEO, Shopify designs, and social media marketing, you can win the race for customer loyalty using these four shipping tactics:

1. Ensure fast shipping

Fast shipping speeds impress customers because they make shopping online seamless and quick. They also show off the ease of shopping with your brand while giving customers the confidence to make urgent purchases with you.

Standard shipping speeds in the USA are 3-5 working days, so aim for 2-day and next day deliveries where possible.

2. Offer free shipping

Free delivery is the most important factor for 80% of shoppers, so it’s a fantastic tool for increasing average order size and driving conversions.

If you can’t afford to provide outright free shipping, you can work it into your base item value, or offer it as a perk or incentive.

Free shipping upon minimum spend

Provide customers with free shipping when they meet a minimum spend requirement, for example, $20.

Free shipping for loyal program customers

Encourage customers to register for your loyalty program by offering free shipping as a perk. You can even make it a tiered bonus that customers have to spend more to unlock.

Free shipping for subscriptions

Boost recurring revenue by offering free shipping on all subscription purchases.

3. Deliver on time

Free and fast shipping only enhance customer loyalty when you deliver orders on time and in full. Late, damaged, or missing items drive customers away (and can often result in poor reviews).

Find the right fulfillment set up to make sure you aren’t overpromising and under-delivering, because your shoppers will remember.

Using the right fulfillment model for your business

If your in-house fulfillment can’t handle fast or reliable shipping, or you simply don’t have enough coverage, it might be time to switch from in-house fulfillment to an outsourced fulfillment partner. Your fulfillment setup should be able to handle spikes in demand (ex. Black Friday) and scale alongside your growth.

Distribute inventory strategically

The closer your inventory is to your buyers, the less time it’ll take to deliver. Look at where your demand is coming from and place your SKUs strategically.

For example, Deliverr uses machine learning to figure out where to place items so they’re as close to demand as possible, based on historic purchasing history.

Send in items with complete packaging

Don’t rely on your warehouse or carrier to package your items for you. Send in your units ready to ship, to make sure your items are protected. Invest in the right dunnage and packaging from the start to avoid any headaches with damaged goods.

4. Give customers control over the delivery experience

Human beings naturally strive for control, which makes online shopping risky. eCommerce shoppers can’t touch or test a product before buying it, and walk out of a store with it in hand.

Not knowing when their item will arrive only exacerbates this issue. However, you can help mediate any delivery concerns with accurate estimates, numerous shipping options, and package tracking.

Accurate delivery estimates

Use real-time inventory positioning to provide customers with accurate and realistic shipping options based on their zip codes, so they know when their order will arrive.

Hugaroo
Source

Shipping options

Provide customers with a variety of shipping speed and cost combinations so they can choose the most convenient option for them. This can range from standard 5-7 day delivery, all the way to next day delivery.

Trackable shipping services

Keep customers informed throughout the delivery process by sending an automated order confirmation email, so they know you’ve gotten their order and it’s on the way. These confirmation emails should also include a tracking number so your buyers can find their package without contacting your customer support.

5. Remind customers how easy it is shopping with you

Sometimes, customers need a little reminder about why they should shop with you again, and your shipping options are the perfect nudge.

Vasanti Markets 2 Day Delivery
Source

Reference fast and free shipping in your re-engagement emails, include fast shipping tags on your Facebook ads, and share shipping-focused reviews in your social media posts.

Conclusion

Loyal customers can be your warmest leads, and they’re cheaper and easier to gain than new customers.

Adding fast shipping can be a quick win to boost conversions, enhance customer loyalty, and enhance your buyer experience. Reliable, seamless fulfillment encourages customers to shop with you again, and extends your LTV.

About the Author

This is a guest post from Rachel Go, senior content marketing manager at Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your Shopify, Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Wish, and BigCommerce stores, helping to boost sales through programs like 2-day delivery for Shopify, Walmart 2-day delivery, eBay Fast ‘N Free, and Wish 2-day.

Deliverr’s FBA-like multi-channel fulfillment comes with clear pricing, easy onboarding and a hassle free experience so you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.


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