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The Role of Shipping in Delivering a Good Customer Experience

April 1, 2019

Customers have high expectations of your online store. They want access to all of your wine, great customer service, an easy check out process and of course, to receive the package at their door as quickly and cheaply as possible.

While many wineries spend a lot of time and money to develop websites that cover the first part, shipping and delivery are often neglected. The problem is that customer expectations continue to grow in this area and a recent study from Dropoff revealed several troubling statistics for anyone selling online.

  • Customers want their packages quickly. In fact, 43% of customers expected deliveries faster in 2018 than they did in 2017. The worst part? That’s a jump of 23% in only a year.
  • Customers will not accept poor delivery experiences. 73% of people wouldn’t buy from a company again if their package was damaged and 69% wouldn’t if their order was late.
  • There is a large gap between what customers want and what companies are offering. Take the issue of same-day delivery. 41% of customers buying alcohol online wanted to receive their order that day, but only 5% of people actually received it.

So how do you develop shipping policies that give customers what they want while not costing you too much time or money? Consider these 5 steps.

Offer clear and accurate online tracking

If there is a single thing you should be doing, it’s this. 97% of customers want to be able to track their products online and so offering a delivery service with this capability is absolutely crucial.

This is all about transparency for your customers, but beyond simply giving them this information, you should consider how this tracking takes place. In an increasingly mobile world, 80% of customers also want mobile friendly tracking, while 76% would like SMS messages with key delivery information.

The good news is that many couriers or even your e-Commerce vendor will likely have some features similar to this. Take the time to talk to them and see how they can help.

Set your customer expectations

 One of the biggest problems with online shopping is the rate of cart abandonment. Figures vary greatly depending on the study and industry, but on average nearly 70% of people who put items into their cart do not complete a sale. This happens for a number of reasons, but for now let’s just consider the impact of shipping - 54% of shoppers report having abandoned their carts due to expensive shipping, 39% due to no free shipping and 26% because shipping time frames were too slow.

While you might not be able to save all of these sales, simply communicating your policies right from the beginning can go along way to minimise the problem.

Look at your website and see where customers first encounter your shipping prices. Do you have a free shipping banner on your homepage? Do you have a delivery estimate on your product pages? Does this information only appear in the final stages of checkout?

The earlier your customer knows the cost of shipping, the more likely they are to trust your website and proceed with an order. The same applies for delivery times. Even if the price of your shipping is acceptable for your customers, they may be in a rush to receive the product. Ensure your website highlights this information as soon as possible and you should see a drop in abandonment.

Offer a variety of shipping options

Free shipping is still one of the greatest things you can do to drive online sales. 96% of customers say they are more likely to shop at a store that offers free shipping and 58% of customers report that they have added items to their cart in order to qualify for it.

If you aren’t currently offering free shipping, it is worth experimenting to see if it does drive sales. If you're unsure about your profit margins or want to increase your average order size, consider having a minimum purchase amount before it applies or offer it as a benefit for your wine club or even newsletter members.

On the other hand, you should also have an express option for customers who want to get their orders as soon as possible. In 2018, nearly half of consumers paid extra for faster delivery and this percentage is even higher for millennials and luxury good buyers.

While having multiple shipping options might seem unnecessary, without it, you run the risk of losing a sale. Is that really worth it?

Don’t forget your customer service!

Of course, sometimes things will go wrong and it is too easy to simply place blame on the courier company. However, this does little to help your customer and does nothing to build your relationship with them.

If you find out there is a problem with an order, proactively contact the customer and inform them of the issue before they contact you. This will ease their concerns and will grow their trust in you.

If they are the ones to contact you, let them know as soon as possible that you are looking into the issue. Keep them updated about the process and do your best to make sure they don't have to contact you again. You may not be able to resolve their issue immediately, but you should be updating them with the information they need and at appropriate times to ensure they aren’t out of the loop. (And in case we need to say it, make sure you apologise and take full responsibility!)

Get personal

This is such a simple one, but it’s something that is lost all too frequently in online orders. You are not sending wine to a random address you haven’t heard of. You’re sending wine to a person at that address.

Particularly in the case of first time customers, wine club members or other high value purchasers, don’t underestimate the power of a note along with your wine. Even something simple like "We hope you enjoy the wine" or "Thanks for ordering from us again" can make your customer think more of your brand. This is even more true if you can handwrite something!

Happy customers mean more direct sales for you

Want more tips to grow your DtC sales? Download our free e-book now.

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