Blog Posts 6 Fulfillment Secrets for Building Customer Loyalty
While the coronavirus pandemic is driving shoppers online, they’re likely to buy more frequently with smaller average order values. This new trend is prompting retailers to increase their focus on building loyalty, a new study by QuantumMetric reports. One of the best ways to do that is by providing an exceptional customer experience.
Deliver an Outstanding Experience to Keep Customers Coming Back
Effective order fulfillment plays a critical role in delighting customers. Following are six ways to finetune your operations to take the experience to the next level for your customers.
Make it personal. Let shoppers know that you understand them and have the perfect products to meet their individual needs. A customer relationship management system (CRM) can help to personalize your interactions with current and potential customers. To take it a step further, consider customizing items with engraving, embroidery, etc. Offering customers one-of-a-kind products that they can’t find anywhere else will entice them to keep coming back.
Keep in touch. In these uncertain times, 70 percent of shoppers want even more communication from retailers, a Convey study shows. They want to be informed – about available inventory levels, the status of their orders, the whereabouts of their shipment and more. An order management system (OMS) can help you to keep in tune with the pulse of your operations.
Be nimble. With customers eagerly awaiting their orders, make sure you’re able to process them quickly. You also need to responsive to sudden changes in demand – whether it’s an influx in order volume or a shift in product configuration. Take care to evaluate your processes to make them as efficient as possible and ensure that you have sufficient staff on hand to manage fluctuations. Automated fulfillment and material handling solutions can help to speed things along.
Uphold quality. Naturally, your customers expect to receive the exact items they’ve ordered, free from damage, every time they place an order. To ensure consistent quality and accuracy, it can be helpful to have a strong quality program in place. Lean methodologies, for example, can help to establish effective standards and processes.
Offer free shipping. In the current pandemic, 70 percent of consumers cite free shipping as a top reason for changing brands, a recent Klayvio survey shows. To help reduce the financial impact on your bottom line, look for opportunities to control transportation costs. Parcel analytics software can help you determine how shipping patterns and surcharges affect your transportation costs. Many companies find that moving products closer to their customers can help to reduce transit time and cost. Reconfiguring your distribution network may allow you to reach the vast majority of customers via two-day ground service.
Make returns hassle free. Returns are key to customer loyalty. Nearly 60 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers or brands that offer a seamless return experience, a Metapack survey shows. To that end, be sure to clearly define your return policy up front, provide convenient options for making a return, keep customers informed about the status of their return and refund them promptly. Information systems, distribution networks and transportation capabilities all must be working in unison to streamline the process.
A positive customer experience depends on a myriad of variables, but optimal order fulfillment will go a long way toward building loyalty for the long term.