Why delivery experience is your most powerful customer retention tool

We’re living in the middle of an ecommerce boom. Many shoppers in the UK are eagerly awaiting the reopening of physical retail, and we’ll likely see a burst in footfall through April. But most of the online growth retail has experienced during the pandemic is predicted to last. According to Metapack’s Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2021, 31% of consumers plan to make fewer trips to the store in future.

Ecommerce demand is set to continue. It seems like good news for online retailers, until you consider rising competition and shrinking customer retention rates. The spoils of the ecommerce boom won’t be evenly divided, and in today’s All-Delivery economy, the most important differentiator is delivery experience. According to the same report, 64% of retailers say post-purchase is a “high priority” for them in 2021. Here’s why it should be for your company too, and where you should start.

Convenient delivery options

There’s a reason why ecommerce has been steadily growing for decades: it’s convenient. So it’s no surprise that the most convenient delivery options have been shown to increase conversions by 38%. The only challenge is that convenience means different things to different customers. This is especially true for retailers trading across borders. According to our Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2021, cost is the most important factor for consumers in the US and the UK, while speed is more important in France and Germany.

Increasingly, sustainability is becoming an important deciding factor for consumers. In the same report, 32% of consumers say they value sustainability more when shopping online than practical factors such as cost and speed. As lockdowns gradually start to lift around the world, more environmentally friendly options like Click and collect, PUDOs and lockers, will become increasingly popular.

Offering a range of convenient delivery options is a winning strategy to ensure a delivery experience worthy of customer retention. Ideally these should be personalised for each shopper based on their location and preferences.

Dependable delivery timeframes

It’s not just the delivery mode that matters, but also the delivery timeframe. We’ve already mentioned that speed is the most important delivery factor for consumers in Germany and France. What we haven’t mentioned is that its importance is rising. In our Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark report last year, 19% of French consumers and 17% of German consumers ranked it as the top factor. This year those figures have risen to 37% and 41% respectively, while 33% of people overall ranked it as their key delivery consideration when ordering online.

Displaying accurate delivery timeframes alongside delivery modes give customers peace of mind they’ll receive their order when they need it, and incentive to buy now. But it also builds trust in your brand, helping to increase customer retention. Of course, this requires a delivery management system perfectly synchronised with your warehouse management system.

Easy to follow tracking

Consumers may be flocking online, but that doesn’t mean they’re having a great time of it. In our Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2021, 81% of consumers say they had a bad delivery experience last year. That’s 5 times more than the year before. Consumers were understanding of shortages and delays at the beginning of the pandemic, but their patience is waning.

Delays are frustrating enough as it is. Lack of transparency is unforgivable. In fact, it’s experiences like these that lead customers to turn their back on brands for good. User-friendly tracking enables customers to follow their order from start to finish, leaving them feeling informed about its progress at all times. Indeed, the same report showed tracking is overwhelmingly valued by consumers, with 87% saying it is important or very important to them.

In the All-Delivery economy, delivery experience is your chance to stand out. Accurate delivery timeframes, a range of delivery options (including more sustainable ones), and user-friendly tracking – these have long been important factors for customers, but in 2021 they will be indispensable to retail growth. As for retailers lucky enough to have acquired new customers during the pandemic, these factors will be crucial to retaining them.

For more insights to thrive in the All-Delivery economy, read the Metapack Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2021.


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