Prior to the events of COVID-19, e-commerce was a convenience for consumers and revenue stream for retailers. Now, e-commerce is an essential lifeline for customers and retailers alike. In a world of stay-at-home orders and social-distancing rules, you’re likely never going to meet your customer. You have to rely on other means to secure repeat business. In this article you’ll learn how e-commerce brands use order fulfillment to drive customer loyalty and how you can use it to keep customers coming back again and again.
How do E-Commerce Brands Cultivate Customer Loyalty?
Convincing a customer to patronize your store is an impressive feat but getting them to come back again is the “Holy Grail of Retail”. From rewards programs, and loyalty cards to elaborate marketing campaigns and custom branding, there are dozens of ways e-commerce brands cultivate customer loyalty.
Those methods certainly have their place but nothing brings customers back to your store like a positive experience and high-quality customer service.
Customer Service Drives Customer Retention
Even when the customer has a bad experience, 89% of consumers surveyed say a company can regain their business if it admits to a mistake and is upfront about the steps it will take to remedy the issue.
On the flip side, 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service. Worse yet, 20% of consumers are likely to complain on social media after a bad experience.
We can look at statistics all day but it isn’t rocket science. You could have the best products and branding in the world but few consumers are going to come back to your store if they had a bad experience. One could argue that improving customer service is the best way for e-commerce brands to increase customer retention.
Cultivate a Good Customer Experience
However, we would argue that customer service is only part of the overall equation. The other part of a good customer experience relies on the fulfillment of your promise to the customer, which is to deliver the items they purchased intact and in a timely manner.
We can’t stress this enough. In fact, a recent study from BigCommerce found that 58% of those surveyed have stopped shopping with particular retailers because of a negative shipping experience.
You shouldn’t have to rely on your customer service and marketing teams to boost customer retention or salvage a negative shipping experience. Instead, focus on improving your e-commerce fulfillment strategy. Use that strategy to build customer rapport and avoid the bad experience in the first place.
Focus on E-Commerce Fulfillment Strategy
As a retailer, the customer’s perception of your brand relies on the quality of the service you provide. Conditioned by retail giants like Walmart and Amazon, consumers now have exceptionally high standards for online shopping and home delivery.
From the moment an order is placed to the moment shortly after the package is delivered, there is an immense opportunity to establish a relationship, secure trust, and earn loyalty. With every subsequent delivery, you make that bond stronger and increase the likelihood of repeat business.
Outsource E-Commerce Order Fulfillment to Improve Customer Retention
To meet that demand and keep up with retail industry giants, you need more than just easy product selection and speedy delivery – you need flexibility, real-time updates and the ability to deliver on the promises you made to the customer.
That’s why the most successful eRetailers outsource order fulfillment to a third-party logistics (3PL) service provider. 3PLs are experts in e-commerce order fulfillment planning and, therefore, the best suited to ensure a positive experience for your customer.
Offer Faster Delivery
Every customer wants faster shipping. By outsourcing to a Third-Party e-commerce order fulfillment provider, you supplement your shipping capability with a much larger network of fulfillment centers and transportation providers whose sole job it is to pack and deliver customer orders at lighting speed.
Lower Cost of Shipping
One way to ensure customers keep coming back to your store is to offer cheaper shipping than everyone else. 3PLs are some of the worlds largest consumers of freight, parcel and intermodal transportation.
When you outsource to a Third-Party e-commerce order fulfillment provider, you take advantage of their bulk shipping discounts and extend those savings on to your customers. Customers who pay less for your service are more likely to buy again.
Improve Order Accuracy
The cheapest shipping in the world doesn’t mean anything if you ship the wrong order to the customer. As stated, third-party e-commerce order fulfillment providers are experts at e-commerce order fulfillment with proven picking and packing techniques to ensure order accuracy.
Not to mention millions of dollars invested in advanced fulfillment technology like artificial intelligence that not only ensure order accuracy but also forecast product demand and eliminate inefficiencies in your supply chain.
Proper Handling and Care
Nothing ruins a customer relationship that a receiving broken product. e-commerce order fulfillment providers utilize an impressive array of technology, procedures and protective packaging to ship orders in the best way possible to reduce shock in transit and minimize the likelihood of damage.
Flowspace: Driving Customer Loyalty Through E-Commerce Fulfillment
As we’ve seen, there is no better way to improve customer retention than to show the customer that you care about their business. Customer service is more than the department down the hall, it’s a mind set that extends to every party of your business but especially to the delivery of the customer’s order.
Fulfillment is the true path to customer loyalty because it enables you to follow through on the promises made at checkout. As the premium e-commerce fulfillment provider in the United States, no one can strengthen the bonds between eRetailer and customer than Flowspace.
Different from traditional e-commerce fulfillment providers, Flowspace enables online retailers with the flexibility they need to gain a strategic advantage over their competition and ensure their customers get what they want the first time, the second time and every time after.