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4 Ways to Exceed Customer Expectations With Online Shipping Elevate your shipping strategy to deliver an exceptional customer experience in a competitive online market.
These days, customers are accustomed to shopping online, and the expectation is usually that shipping should be free or at least inexpensive. And it doesn't end there. Modern online shoppers also expect up-to-the-minute shipment tracking, free returns, on-time deliveries, and much more.
Keeping up with this increasing demand can be challenging for growing businesses, but it is possible to accomplish — all while creating repeat, loyal customers along the way.
Shipping is an extension of your brand. In many ways, the customer experience is just beginning when they purchase something from your online store. Every touchpoint, from shipping to the presentation of the package, is part of the entire brand experience. It doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg for small businesses to elevate their shipping strategies. Finding the right partners and attention to detail can create peace of mind while providing an exceptional customer experience with your brand.
Explore four smart shipping strategies that can help your business exceed customer expectations without breaking the bank.
1. Explore your options for fast and free shipping.
Buying patterns have shifted since 2020, and fast and free shipping is now the norm for consumers. Companies can invest in improving shipping capabilities by partnering with shipping solutions providers like Pitney Bowes.
While Pitney Bowes doesn't offer free shipping, "we can help companies get the best rates, so you can make sure you're managing your cost structure and your clients' expectations on shipping," explains Mike Botti, Sr. Director Product Marketing at Pitney Bowes. "Especially if you're on the small business side, you can more effectively compete with the Walmarts and Amazons of the world, which may offer free and fast shipping."
2. Meeting expectations with delivery assurance.
Customers won't necessarily penalize your brand for delivering something later than anticipated. They understand shipping delays can be out of your control, especially with widespread supply chain issues and constraints.
Keeping your customers updated on the status of their packages and notifying them of delays provides a positive association with your brand. They want to be aware that things are changing so they can plan their day, especially if they need to be present to sign for a package.
Pitney Bowes' software lets your business send automated notifications based upon a delivery timeframe. So, if something changes, it helps mitigate an adverse customer experience if something arrives late.
3. Find ways to surprise and delight.
The details matter when it comes to forming a positive brand experience. Your business needs to take advantage of every form of communication you have with a customer. Handwritten letters thanking them for their purchase, branded emails, packing slips and packaging all create a surprise and delight type of environment, Botti says.
Ensuring your package arrives in the stated time frame is table stakes, but you can effectively improve the customer's perception of your brand by paying attention to the details.
4. Don't forget about free returns.
Customers expect free returns, which can significantly impact margins for companies. Purchasing multiple sizes of a shirt to see which fits best is all too common, but businesses can take steps to make returns easier on customers while reducing the burden on their bottom line.
Returns can also be a hassle for consumers, so opportunities to enhance their experience with your brand include:
- Shipping the return label with the package
- Offering in-store returns (if you have a physical store)
- Leveraging sizing guides on your website
- Offering full or partial refunds instead of allowing returns
From handwritten Thank You notes to transparent delivery updates to getting your products to customers surprisingly fast, there are several ways even small businesses can create lasting, loyal customers with a smart shipping strategy.
Click here to learn more about how Pitney Bowes can help your business exceed customer expectations with exceptional online shipping.