The word “fulfilment” often conjures up visions of warehouses, boxes and delivery couriers. All quite distant from the glamorous side of selling online: SEO, design, UX, images and copy writing.
However the way in which operations are executed and how the customer expectations are set are drive the only tangible measures for online selling –sales, return rates, repeat custom and ultimately, profitability.
So what elements drive a great fulfilment customer experience?
Delivery options are clear and reasonably priced
Delivery can ‘make or break’ not only sales but also profitability for an online business. Free delivery has been used widely to attract customers although it can be a costly affair. Offer a range of delivery options that enable the customer to choose what best suits them and make sure the price reflects the option.
Your customer knows when their order will arrive and that it arrives as expected
Setting clear expectations about when the order will be with them is key to managing customer expectations.
Whether it’s a collect from store, all day delivery or to a specific time slot, certainty of when it will arrive will make for a happy customer and reduces failed delivery or a return.
Communications reassure the customer throughout the journey (and builds a sense of anticipation)
Sending customer communications advising the customer of the order as the order reaches each stage of fulfilment and delivery reduces customer anxiety … resulting in increased customer service contacts and possibility of cancellation. Provision of a comprehensive online self-service facility also helps the customer to make their own enquiries – at no cost to customer services!
‘Door step’ experience and order packaging
Ultimately the customer wants to get their hands on the order with the great convenience and with the least amount of hassle. Ensuring that the carrier that is used provides the desired levels of service expected, including what happens when the customer is not at home. And once the customer gets the package, does it reflect the values of the brand?
The right product arrives for the customer
Making sure the customer gets the product that they want cuts across both the online shopping experience and into the warehouse where the item is picked and packed. At the outset, it is about helping the customer to buy the right product in the first place, through the use of accurate product descriptions, detailed images and customer reviews. After that it is by ensuring that the warehouse picks that product and packs it to arrive at the customer.
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