In today’s connected world, customers expect delivery and tracking options as standard for their online shopping. Andy Hill, Sales Director at Sorted looks at three ways retailers can harness trackability to empower customers and reinforce customer loyalty.
Expecting customers to sit at home for hours, waiting for their parcel to be delivered, is no longer an option for ecommerce retailers. Customers expect a delivery option that fits their hectic lifestyles conveniently and effortlessly, and they expect to be kept informed of progress throughout, ideally in real time. Retailers who don’t live up to these expectations are destined to lose customer loyalty and market share.
When it comes to meeting and exceeding customer delivery expectations, knowledge is power and the foundation of that knowledge is shipment trackability. Here we look at three ways retailers can harness trackability to empower customers and reinforce customer loyalty.
1. Managing customer expectations
Unlike its bricks-and-mortar counterpart, the customer experience around ecommerce is often coloured by anxiety; will the product live up to expectations and will delivery be friction-free? And, if the period between product dispatch and delivery isn’t perfectly managed, the retailer may already be setting themselves up for failure.
The solution isn’t just tracking the customer’s purchase in real time, it’s about sharing that tracking information with the customer using a channel they’re comfortable with, in language that makes sense, so they can see progress being made and know when to expect their delivery.
Until now, many retailers have had little option but to direct customers to their delivery partners’ websites and apps as a source of tracking information and this meant giving up control of the end-to-end delivery process and experience.
Now, however, forward-thinking retailers can integrate tracking information into their branded websites and apps with state-of-the-art dashboards that simplify even the most convoluted international, multi-carrier networks.
This functionality also gives retailers the opportunity to cross- and up-sell. Crucially, retailers can use the platform to help drive customer loyalty and enhance customer lifetime value.
2. Overcoming individual delivery problems
As you’ve just read, tracking is good news for busy customers, but the tracking process also generates valuable, actionable insights for retailers who can use the data to spot and overcome delivery problems before they can derail individual deliveries and erode customer loyalty.
And, with Sorted research showing nearly half of shoppers (48%) are less likely to shop with a retailer again if they experience a late delivery, it really does pay to invest in an end-to-end view of your delivery network.
Market-leading solutions not only track parcels and spot delivery issues as they develop in real time, they can now harness artificial intelligence to predict problems before they even develop and automatically calculate ways of overcoming them.
Internet of Things sensors have a big part to play in achieving this revolutionary oversight. RFID sensors can be used to track and timestamp parcels as they pass through distribution hubs, while GPS-enabled delivery vehicles enable retailers and customers alike to track consignments on the road.
With their parcel back on schedule, the customer needn’t know there was ever a problem, but if disruption is unavoidable retailers can take control of the situation. They can warn their customers in advance and offer incentives, such as money off their next order, to maintain customer loyalty.
From the retailer’s perspective, one of the biggest benefits of this approach is that real-time and predictive tracking can put retailers firmly back in control of day-to-day, end-to-end delivery process to deliver a delightful, friction-free branded customer experience.
3. Identifying delivery network bottlenecks
The beauty of delivery tracking is that the process generates a wealth of data the length of the distribution chain. As well as using this information to monitor the progress of individual items, this data can also be used more strategically, to identify bottle necks and change the structure of the delivery network itself.
For a retailer this may mean developing the ability to identify which carriers excel in specific geographical areas or which are expert at delivering different types of goods or it may mean, for example, altering processes at distribution hubs. Once changes have been made to a network, retailers can then reassess and continually monitor performance thanks to the continuing flow of tracking data.
By Andy Hill