According to recent data, 65% of a company’s business/purchase comes from existing customers who engage in repeat purchases. This shows the extreme importance of retaining a good customer base if you wish to keep your business thriving. Customer retention is an important factor for business.
As online shoppers get spoilt for choice from retail giants such as Amazon, customers expect nothing but the best from online brands and e-commerce owners. In shipping, quick delivery of the packages is critical for the overall customer experience. However, several other factors in shipping come into play for your e-commerce business to appeal to the customer, not just the first time but over and over again.
How Shipping Affects Customer Retention and Ways to Maintain it.
Several of the top names in e-commerce offer unlimited choice to customers, which in turn has made customers very finicky and entitled to a certain extent. Unlike a few years ago, online buyers will not hesitate to abandon their carts unless they feel understood, included, and like they are getting the best deal.
Loyal customers are vital for your e-commerce return on investment, and they can also save you a lot of money. According to smallbizgenius, 82% of brands and businesses say that retaining existing customers is much cheaper than acquiring new ones.
So here’s how to retain your existing customers and inspire lifetime loyalty by offering a stellar shipping experience.
Free shipping with a minimum order value
The burden of shipping and handling costs weighs very heavily on the customers. A customer study on Forrester shows that more than 88% of online buyers will readily abandon their carts instead of paying for shipping costs. Not only this, but the same customers very rarely return to the same store for business.
However, if your e-commerce is a startup or a small caliber, you don’t want to go bankrupt, as free shipping can be costly to the business owners.
Free shipping offers with minimum order value are a great strategy to practice. This is very attractive to the customers and helps you mitigate the packaging, shipping, and handling costs incurred by your business.
Many customers will happily pay a premium price for a product if it means there’s free shipping. In addition, most of the customers are willing to wait longer for free shipping packages, so it is a win-win.
Offer more than free shipping
Just as thousands of small to medium e-commerce brands are moving to the online platform, several shipping companies are also getting into the business. These shipping companies offer a lot of options to e-commerce owners.
From overnight shipping, flat rate shipping, same-day delivery, and expedited shipping, you can work out the arrangements with the third shipping companies. You can also consider international shipping, which is a feature that is getting very common with smaller brands, and customers love it.
Some types of shipping will understandably cost more than others. However, multiple shipping options at variable speeds of delivery are a feature that customers love and appreciate about brands.
Flexible return policy
According to one study, up to 54% of customers say that free exchanges and returns are the second biggest influence on their buying decision. This data reveals the importance of flexibility and a great return policy from brands.
Ideally, no company or brand expects customers to return their purchases. However, online shopping comes with a certain level of uncertainty, and you should give the customers the ultimate power to decide whether they want to keep their purchase, return or exchange it.
Return policies such as free returns, exchanges, and return shipping labels are features that show that you care about the customer experience. In addition, several of the top e-commerce brands have introduced a drop-off point feature where customers can leave their packages. The drop-off feature is a very convenient and cost-effective feature that can save your brand a lot of shipping and handling costs.
However, you need to be transparent and clear about the return terms and conditions. The terms should clearly state what items are eligible for returns/exchange and the time during which the offers are available. Clear terms/policies are important so that customers know what to expect and avoid miscommunication.
Despite all your best efforts and shipping management practices, it is out of your control once the package leaves your facility. Several third parties will handle the customer’s package before it reaches the destination and into the buyer’s hands.
Delays, damage due to elements and rough handling, and delivery to the wrong address are some of the few things that potentially can go wrong. However, customers will hold the brands responsible since they are the only line of contact.
Thankfully, one study reveals that a customer will generally forgive and let go of a bad shipping experience if the brands own up for the mistakes and offer an apology. So when an irate buyer calls up to vent their issues and frustrations, calmly offer an apology and offer to help.
If the complaint is genuine, you can also consider throwing in some offers such as a discount code or shipping offers on their next order.
A memorable shipping experience reflects your brand’s business ethics and how much you value your buyer’s experience. It also promotes customers’ loyalty to your brand, which can be instrumental in making them stay and make repeat purchases.
Customer retention has a lot of benefits and advantages, but the most significant is the increase in profits. According to a survey, retaining just 5% of your customers is known to increase the brand’s revenue from 25 to 95%. The chances of loyal customers upgrading services and making an expensive purchase with a brand are also higher than a new customer. Furthermore, with successful customer base retention, referrals also occur more often, which in turn can reduce advertising costs to a significant degree.
As customers’ expectations with the shipping and overall shopping experience continue to rise, brands that offer more options will ultimately be successful in retaining their customer base and emerge as winners. Shipping doesn’t have to be complicated. Cantec Couriers can meet your shipping needs. Contact us today!