Shipping joy in a social worldBY Australian Retailers Association
Tap into social cues to drive brand love via great shipping.
Any retailer worth their salt knows that great shipping and fulfillment practices are big differentiators when it comes to competing in the retail space. Today’s most talked about Aussie retailers, such as THE ICONIC and Vinomofo, are celebrated for their innovative use of shipping as an experience touchpoint. But you don’t have to be an e-commerce darling to use shipping to your advantage, you just need to work shipping into your value proposition in a way that considers the social aspects of shoppers.
Indulge me: say two similar retailers are selling the same pair of Converse sneakers at the same price online. How does a shopper decide which store to buy from? In an environment (such as online) where product differentiation is getting harder to define, a surefire way to stand out is by making the shopping experience as convenient as possible for your shopper. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be hard to implement in the context of shipping. Here’s some ideas on how to do it right:
Tap into social sharing
People are social creatures, and as consumers we feel compelled to share for a variety of reasons from self-expression to self-fulfillment. Why not tap into this primal desire to build a tribe of happy customers? In Temando’s State of Shipping in Commerce report, we found that 2 out of 5 shoppers will leave a positive review online following a great shipping experience, so imagine how powerful this endorsement would be if you’re able to provide consistently great shipping to all your customers? That’s 40% of your customer base sharing how amazing your brand is with the world.
Let’s get personal
Did you know that almost half of consumers are more likely to become a customer after receiving a personalised experience? You can easily apply this to shipping by introducing delivery options beyond 'standard' and 'express' at checkout. Some of the newer shipping options gaining traction with shoppers are hyperlocal (1-3 hours), afterhours, and weekend delivery. Using a shipping technology like Temando to dynamically power up multiple shipping options can make executing this tactic real easy, helping you achieve economies of scale quicker.
The power of ‘free’
Everyone wants a freebie – that’s a given. We found that 85% of shoppers here prefer free shipping over fast shipping, while an AlixPartners study showed all but 3% of purchase decisions are influenced by the availability of ‘free shipping’. Finding a happy medium where you can offer ‘free shipping’ without hurting your margin too much can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Retail leader Bob Schwartz contributed to a great article on Fast Company called ‘Free Shipping is a Lie’, on the oxymoron of ‘free shipping’. It’s worth a read to find out what its challenges are before you offer this option at the expense of your margin.
Cash in on happiness
Are you one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” types who thinks shipping as a customer experience touchpoint is a passing fad? That’s all well and good if you’re not interested in increasing revenue or growing your customer base. However, retailers who have already invested in great shipping experiences are cashing in, with 4 out of 5 shoppers stating that they’ll buy again from a retailer when they’ve been happy with shipping. On the flip-side, 3 out of 5 shoppers won’t buy again from a retailer if shipping was a struggle.
So which side would you prefer to belong to?While building great relationships with your customers is not new, looking at innovative ways that you can do this with shipping is. Shipping will increasingly become a competitive advantage for even bricks-and-mortar retailers who are beginning to experiment with technology-enabled parcel lockers as a way to provide customers better choice and increase basket size. Australia Post reported that $21.3 billion was spent online last year, contributing to an unprecedented growth of 19.2% - so it’s fair to say that competition is about to get even hotter. If you can focus on customer happiness as a key objective of your shipping and fulfillment strategy today, it will future-proof your business against the challenges of tomorrow.
Sheeda Cheng is the Head of Brand for Temando, an Australian-founded shipping software company that is part of the global Neopost Shipping group. Discover how Temando helps retailers drive great customer experiences with powerful shipping and fulfillment technology by connecting with her on LinkedIn or through www.temando.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.