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Setting Shipping Expectations and Dealing With Reality When It’s Not What You Expect
Thanks to the "Amazon Effect" companies both big and small are scrambling to meet customer expectations. Find out how to mitigate the problems that arise when you run an e-commerce business.
Shipping is a challenge. It's no secret when you are involved with shipping and logistics that there is a science behind it. As more consumers are purchasing products online on a regular basis, they have certain expectations regarding their shopping experience, and sometimes those expectations can feel unattainable. In the blink of an eye, many moving parts could go awry, sometimes even by something, or someone, outside of your control.
Amazon, for example, has strategically constructed the "Amazon Effect," or the expectation that e-commerce consumers have about free and fast shipping through Amazon's Prime membership that satisfies, if not exceeds, consumer needs. The result of the “Amazon Effect” has essentially created fast shipping expectations amongst all e-commerce consumers no matter the company they are purchasing from. Although this works extremely well for Amazon and its sellers, other companies, both large and small, are struggling to keep up with consumer expectations regarding expedited and free shipping.
So, how can companies remain competitive when they can't keep up with consumer demands?
- Be Upfront
Not every company has to be Amazon. You know that, we know that, and honestly, consumers know that. Despite the powerhouse that is Amazon, most consumers remain brand loyal to many other companies. Even if a package takes a day or longer to arrive, consumers are willing to wait for their favorite products. The more pertinent thing to note is that a bad shipping experience equates to bad customer service. Slow and/or expensive shipping becomes a major problem when consumers are blindsided by the cost or delivery time. According to Statista, in 2017, 64% of Americans contacted some form of customer service. 59% of consumers will stop buying from a company after just one bad customer service experience. It is about being upfront about what is expected and then meeting or exceeding that expectation, regardless of what you are actually able to offer.
- Offer Promotions
Consumers love to feel appreciated and special. Consumers also love free shipping. Promotions such as "once you reach a certain purchase amount, shipping is free" play a significant role in consumer decision-making. Inmar Intelligence’s survey found that 78% of consumers are willing to buy more just to get free shipping. Not only is this beneficial for your business, but it’s also beneficial for your customers. Offering promotions is a smart way to motivate consumers to make a purchase from your brand for the first time or to return again and again.
- Know Your Limitations
A company that grows too rapidly may collapse under its own weight. Growth is desirable, but it must be at a sustainable rate. In most instances, knowing your limitations pertains to how many employees you can hire, how many orders your business can handle, and if your business can scale with the peaks and valleys of its busy seasons. In the absence of knowing your limitations, you are more likely to disappoint your customers, which will result in your customers shopping with your competitors. For example, it is not uncommon for businesses to be apprehensive about displaying an out-of-stock message on their website, but in reality, it is being transparent with your customers. There is nothing more frustrating than expecting a product, only to have it arrive five weeks late, or even worse, failing to receive one at all. Transparency and honesty concerning your limitations will eliminate frustrations, resulting in loyal customers who will follow along with your journey.
- Work with Reliable Carriers
There are many reliable carriers in the United States as well as internationally. These carriers are available in all shapes and sizes and can fulfill different needs according to the kind of e-commerce business. The key point we want you to remember is that the right carriers are vitally important. Establish a relationship with your carriers, interview carriers, and consider different types of carriers for different scenarios. Generally speaking, every carrier has a different strategy. Because there is no one-size-fits-all business model, ensure that you work with reputable ones that you can trust to fit your needs. Reliable carriers will provide you with the assistance you need to succeed in the e-commerce industry.
- Leverage Technology
As a shipping solution software company, technology is our best friend. But guess what? Your best friend is technology too! You can save time and money by using reliable shipping technology to organize your inventory, communicate with your marketplaces, and keep your customers informed. With the use of DesktopShipper, you can do just that! By automating the shipping process, our solution allows shippers to focus on the things that really need attention and support. If you’re ready to automate your shipping operations, DesktopShipper can serve as your go-to order management system, providing centralized batch management, custom pack slips, barcode verification, and more to help streamline your online selling operations.