Today, online stores are facing ever-increasing competitive pressure. If you want to hold your own in the battle for market share, you have to stand out from the competition. Great potential lies hidden in the post-purchase experience – in other words, the entire process after the order has been placed. We use new study results to show how to push the customer experience a little further after the purchase.
In online business, it is often still assumed that the customer journey ends after the order button has been clicked. But this is giving away enormous potential. If you want to encourage your customers to return, you should definitely ensure a positive post purchase experience (PPE).
Under the PPE is understood the interaction with the customer or additional service services after the order. The process is primarily about interacting with the customer and giving him or her a feeling that he or she is valued by the brand or the store – and those who do everything right here can benefit from several advantages at once:
- Customers tend to shop on the Ohnlineshop again in the future. Returning customers usually spend more than new customers.
- You create a customer-friendly identity and stand out from your competition with the right measures.
- With a transparent delivery process, you increase your brand credibility and customer satisfaction. Both are important factors for healthy growth.
So a good PPE has a direct impact on your success. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your store and give better reviews. Dissatisfaction in the PPE, on the other hand, is often reflected in product and store ratings.
A study by MS Direct and ZHAW.
The e-commerce service provider MS Direct, together with the ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences), conducted a study of the post-purchase experience across 60 major online stores and marketplaces in Switzerland or the UK and revealed potential. Below, we’ll show you 5 areas to tweak your PPE. You can find more detailed results and tips in the whitepaper from MS Direct
1. product availability.
What is visible at a glance in the store is sometimes very opaque in the online business: the availability. Online shopper wants to know if the desired product is available. Evil is the surprise when after the purchase you receive the information that the product is no longer in stock. This is not only annoying for the customer, but also directly casts a bad light on the store. Those who offer this information service are already doing something better than most – in the online stores tested by the study, more than half communicated product availability or even stock levels.
Indicating stock or product availability can prevent nasty surprises after the purchase.
2. optimize shipping costs and times
Of course, the speed of delivery and choice of carrier also has an impact on your PPE. Mr. and Mrs. Swiss are used to having deliveries delivered in three days. As the study shows, just under half of the stores tested deliver to Swiss customers during this period. Deliveries from abroad often take longer – in some circumstances even up to 15 days.
Free shipping is almost the norm today but in most cases not without condition. A good three quarters of the online stores tested offered free shipping – but more than half of them tied this to a minimum order quantity. This varied between 15 and 121 francs, depending on the provider. But with good communication, shipping costs can be justified without diminishing the customer experience.
In addition to the speed of delivery, you can offer your customers another service. For example, choosing more sustainable carriers – such as Quickpack with a 100 percent e-vehicle fleet – also better delivers on sustainable brand promises. People with an environmentally conscious and responsible lifestyle, for example, also appreciate a “snail mail” option like the one Galaxus offers.
When shipping, you should adapt to local standards and comply with appropriate delivery times and costs.
3. offer own tracking
Online shoppers want to stay informed about their shipments. Packet tracking is therefore a must-have for optimal PPE. A good 75 percent of large stores have already recognized this and already offer automatic tracking. But here, too, you can stand out as a store or brand: If the tracking data is transmitted to the customers via their own web store or even via personalized e-mails or SMS, this has a positive impact on the brand experience. Tracking information via a third-party provider – for example, from a carrier – also serves the purpose, but is a missed branding opportunity.
An own tracking solution is a wonderful branding opportunity.
4. use package for branding
The branding of a package is not only an additional aesthetic aspect, but an important part of the post purchase experience in e-commerce. Surprisingly, however, less than half of the stores tested take advantage of this opportunity. Beautifully designed packaging enhances the unboxing experience, which in turn pays dividends to your brand. Further, you can also use the packaging for small thank you and branding messages.
You can also show your commitment to sustainability with your packaging. For example, if you adjust the carton size to the order, you save both filling material and transport space. Manufacturers like Packsize offer machines for such on-demand packaging. Sustainable alternatives to cardboard boxes are also reusable bags made from recycled plastic. Startups like Kickback and Boomerang specialize in just that.
A branded package can improve the unboxing experience, which in turn pays dividends to the brand.
5. simplify the returns process for customers
There is also great potential for improvement in the returns process. Because very often there is still a lack of communication and customer friendliness. Online retailers who do not yet offer a return option can increase their customer-friendliness by introducing such an option – and use the offer to boost customer loyalty.
According to the study, return costs and return periods are rarely communicated proactively and are often hidden in the terms and conditions. Only 22 percent of the online stores tested actively and transparently provide information during the shopping process about the costs incurred in the event of a return.
Even though it is in the interest of retailers to keep return rates low, making returns more difficult reduces the shopping experience. For long-term customer loyalty, a good service is recommended here, for example with resealable shipping packaging, self-adhesive return labels and an enclosed return slip.
Offering to accept returns is not only customer-friendly, it also provides an opportunity for customer loyalty. According to this study, half of the online stores offer the option of ordering without a customer account. If the registration of a return then requires a customer account, customers who have ordered as guests can be subsequently motivated to register.
By following these insights and strategies, you can more effectively prepare for BFCM as an e-commerce merchant and make the most of this crucial selling season.
Those who design their returns processes to be customer-friendly already stand out positively from the great masses.
Worry-free fulfillment for a better post-purchase experience
MS Direct helps you outsource your fulfillment and returns process in no time. With over 45 years of experience, we offer flexible and professional fulfillment and returns processes that make sales peaks no longer a problem. This way, you’ll always deliver on your customer promises and ensure a better post-purchase experience.
Interested? Your first step to worry-free fulfillment starts here.
Or simply contact MS Direct by phone at +41 71 274 66 66 or by email at email@example.com.