Fulfilment was one of the most talked-about e-commerce topics in 2014. Customer expectations around fulfilment are shifting, with free delivery, next-day delivery and returns high on the agenda. These changing demands are leaving retailers wondering how to keep up.
To help break things down, here are four fulfilment tips that every retailer should be aware of in 2015.
Provide Free Delivery (If You Can): Free delivery is fast becoming a necessity for online retailers. Amazon’s Prime programme has contributed significantly to the change in attitude, providing customers with a cost effective and convenient delivery option. And the expectation of free has trickled over to other sites, with 32.97% of shoppers now looking for free returns and 86% preferring to have delivery included in the price of the item they are purchasing. Assess whether it would be viable for your business to offer free delivery on transactions to attract this audience. If it’s not something you can offer, consider making delivery free above minimum thresholds, as part of a loyalty programme or at certain times of the year.
Keep Customers Happy Along The Journey: One of the most powerful ways to persuade shoppers to convert is to be up front and share delivery costs on your product pages. Putting your delivery messaging early in the purchasing process is a great way to reduce your number of abandoned baskets. Post-purchase, you should be open with your dispatch time, how long shipping will take and how customers can contact you if they have a query. If you have a tracking number, share it with customers as a reassurance that their goods will arrive quickly and safely. If there are known delays, make sure to contact customers to let them know and offer them a refund if they’re unhappy.
How Do You Manage Returns: A key concern that buyers have when purchasing online is how easy it will be to return an item if it’s found to be unsuitable or faulty. In your listings and correspondence, make sure to highlight how a buyer can return an item. If an item is deemed faulty or not as described, you should pay the return cost for the buyer. You could include a prepaid returns label for customers to use, making it easy for them to return the item to you.
Various marketplaces and regions enforce returns policies differently, so make sure you’re up to date and compliant. For example, eBay requires its Top Rated Sellers to offer at least a 14-day returns policy. In addition, many marketplaces extend their return periods for items purchased as gifts around Christmas, so make sure that you plan ahead and that you have your returns process covered.
Update Listings To Include Delivery Details: Standing out from the crowd can be difficult in online retail. Real estate on Google, Amazon and eBay can be at a premium, so you need to think about what value you can add to your product to attract customers. When listing on channels such as Google Shopping, when your items can be compared to other retailers, including details such as free delivery in your listings can be a great way to capture customer attention and stand out from the other companies selling similar products.
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