Any successful business owner can attest that a business’ strength lies in its customers. It should go without saying, then, that the customer experience is an incredibly important aspect of a successful business strategy.
That said, trying to craft a strong customer experience can be complicated. There are multiple variables that can affect the customer experience, and what works and doesn’t work can vary from business to business, and from industry to industry.
One constant for most companies, however, is shipping. And what some may not realize is that shipping can actually play a large role in your overall customer experience.
Thankfully here at Freightcom we call ourselves Shipping Experts for a reason, and this week we’ll be looking at just how important your shipping strategy can be to your customer experience, and what you can do to ensure that your business is offering a shipping experience that will make your customers stand up and take notice.
Good Shipping is the Last Chance for a First Impression
You only get one first impression, and for many businesses that first impression can be made or broken at any step of the customer experience.
Shipping is so vital to the customer experience that a 2021 Statista study found that when making a decision on a retailer, three of the five factors that Canadian consumers found most important were directly related to shipping at time of purchase. All five were related to a retailer’s shipping strategy in some way.
This means that, even if your website is optimized to make the entire shopping process as easy as possible, even if you have an amazing return policy, a poor shipping experience can leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.
What Constitutes “Good” Shipping?
Knowing the importance of a good shipping strategy for your customer experience is one thing but knowing what exactly makes a shipping strategy “good” is another thing entirely. When discussing the customer experience, the key takeaway should be that your shipping strategy is customer focused.
With that in mind, let’s look at the key factors mentioned in the above-referenced Statista study a bit more in-depth:
Cost of Shipping
The majority of consumers consider the cost of shipping when deciding on a retailer. This can oftentimes be to the detriment of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), who often cannot negotiate competitive shipping rates with carriers.
As a result, these businesses can find themselves having to choose between absorbing part of the shipping cost to make their customer-facing rates more competitive, risking lower sales and customer retention numbers as people migrate to retailers with more preferable shipping rates.
Speed of Delivery
In the age of Amazon Prime same-day shipping, it’s no surprise that so many Canadian consumers place a high importance on delivery speed. There is no reason to assume that you need to offer same-day shipping to succeed; in fact another study found nearly half of consumers considered two-day delivery to be sufficiently fast.
There are many ways to reduce shipping times, however many businesses have adopted the use of 3rd party logistics, or 3PL services such as Freightcom Fulfillment. These services allow you to store your products in fulfillment warehouses across the country, drastically reducing shipping costs and times while providing less of an impact on your operational overhead.
Expected Delivery Date Provided Upfront
The expectations placed upon retailers are higher than ever before. While this point ties into speed of delivery to a degree, there is a huge opportunity to offer a more robust customer experience.
For instance, many online storefronts will show the expected delivery date along with the shipping rate directly at checkout. As seen above, cost of shipping and speed of delivery are two factors that, while very important to consumers, appeal to very different customer needs.
If your business offers multiple levels of shipping services, then your website’s checkout is the place to let this fact shine. In doing so, not only are you being upfront and transparent about the expected delivery time of a customer’s order, but you are also showcasing that you place equal value on all customers, regardless of their shipping preferences.
Don’t Neglect Reverse Logistics
Oftentimes one can forget that the returns process is not only a major part of the customer experience, but a major part of a company’s shipping strategy. No surprise that the remaining two factors listed in the Statista study were, in fact, free returns and easy returns.
Now, while it is true that a good returns strategy is important for any retailer, it is also a robust topic that deserves its own space. Thankfully, just recently on the ClickShip blog we discussed how to write a customer-centric return policy, so you needn’t look far for information on how to make your return policy as strong as the rest of your customer experience.
Let Freightcom Upgrade Your Customer Experience!
As important as your shipping strategy is to your customer experience, it can be difficult to craft the right shipping strategy without the right tools, and that is where Freightcom can help.
We partner with North America’s leading LTL and parcel carriers to offer you better rates on all your shipping, in real time, on an easy-to-use, multimode platform, all for zero upfront and monthly fees!
Contact one of our shipping experts today and let Freightcom help you give your customers the experience they deserve!