Supply Chain Visibility – A Win-Win for Customers and E-Tailers

A good customer experience (CX) comes from consistently meeting shoppers' expectations during ALL touchpoints with your ecommerce business. Things like the UX design of your website, the tone and content of social media posts & marketing emails, your returns policy, customer service interactions, and the unboxing experience are just a few examples of customer experience factors that e-tailers tend to prioritize. However, despite improved understanding and measurement of how supply chains impact customers, little progress has been made in recent years towards using this information to make CX better.

In a joint study from logistics companies, Convey and eft, designed to assess the importance of customer experience in last mile delivery, 96% of survey respondents said CX is a critical measure of last-mile success. Despite this, just 5% of respondents said their current supply chain management systems fully support efforts to improve CX, while 61% said their systems do nothing to improve CX.

For e-tailers who want to improve their CX through last-mile fulfillment, increasing the level of transparency into your supply chain is a great starting point. For one, you can’t make improvements to your supply chain unless you understand all of the moving parts involved – so building up your visibility into the chain should be a natural extension of your work to uncover opportunities for improvement. Secondly, sharing supply chain visibility and inventory levels with your customers can improve their shopping experience.

The result is a win-win scenario. By enhancing fulfillment visibility, you can improve CX by providing inventory levels on product pages, back-in-stock alerts, accurate order tracking, and other features that help remove friction and uncertainty from the buyer’s journey. On the fulfillment side, better visibility into your supply chain and inventory levels can help you increase process efficiency to provide faster order delivery.

5 Live Chat Benefits for Your E-commerce Business

If you're still undecided about adding a live chat option to your e-commerce site, it's probably time you get off the fence. Why? Because consumers are a chatty bunch.

When it comes to communicating with companies, today’s consumers want a variety of options across multiple channels, according to a recent study from customer service firm Gladly. They also expect zero repeats and one answer.

That may seem like a tall order, but today, the quality of your company’s customer service is what sets you apart from the pack. In fact, Gladly found that 54% of consumers make decisions based on customer service, with 68% saying they’d pay more for products and services from a company with a strong customer service record.

To put the popularity of live chatting into perspective, it’s also important to understand who the largest consumer demographic in the world belongs to right now: millennials. This is the first generation to have grown up around computers and smartphones. They expect their shopping experiences to be seamless and technology-driven – and that includes customer service, where they demand quick responses to their queries, preferably via chat.

Adding live chat to your e-commerce site has a host of benefits. Here are our Top 5:

1. It's Fast

A live chat immediately connects your customer with a representative. Traditional call center directories, meanwhile, can be difficult to navigate and can quickly aggravate customers, especially if they’re placed in a lengthy queue.

2. It's Easy

In a live chat, information is easier to relay. For example, confirmation numbers can be cut and pasted, and product links can be shared and clicked. Instructions tend to be easier to understand and the chat moves along at your customer’s pace.

3. It's Practical

We know consumers want a variety of customer service options available across multiple channels. Live chats can be initiated on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone at any time.

4. It's Convenient

Live chats don’t involve call transfers and your customers will never be asked to repeat information. In most cases, problems are resolved quickly and more efficiently, increasing customer satisfaction.

5. It's Effective

Live chat software can sync with other related systems and services, so information about previous orders and chats can be easily accessed and aggregated. That helps you provide a better customer experience across the board.

While live chat is a great way to appease modern consumers who prefer texting and messaging, it can be equally beneficial to your e-commerce business. With live chat, you’ll gain a better grasp of your customers’ pain points, which can help improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. Remember, your e-commerce company’s approach to customer service is critical for lasting success.

3 Tips for Running a Successful Subscription Box Service

It’s been almost 10 years since subscription box services like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club hit the market and changed the way we shop. Now, you can pretty much get a box delivered to your door every month for whatever whim you have: beauty, gaming, fitness, pets, and more.

In fact, there are over 5 million subscription box shoppers in the U.S. alone, and the market is still growing. And it’s not just startups – established brands are jumping into the fray, including Sephora (with Play!) and Walmart (with Beauty Box).

With more than 600 retailers offering subscription boxes, how can you make yours stand out from the rest? Whether you’re starting a new subscription box service or trying to minimize churn rates for an existing one, here are some tips to help you succeed:

 

Think inside your curated box

Of course it's all about the box, but we don't just mean the random items inside of it. One thing box recipients appreciate most is the personalization, or the feeling that their box was uniquely curated just for them. Do the research and captivate your customers with your customization.

And don’t just consider demographics like age and location. In your personalization questionnaire, find out what your customers’ biggest challenges are, and what their level of expertise is with your products. This will help you deliver a more tailored experience, which is critical for any subscription box provider.

The better you can predict what your subscribers will like, the more likely they are to keep their subscription going.

 

Don’t get boxed-in

It’s OK to break some of the rules, some of the time – especially when it comes to subscription box services. For example, is it written in stone that you have to ship monthly? (Hint: it’s not.) Maybe your box is more of a quarterly thing.  Or maybe your box could be part of a loyalty program for a legacy retailer.

Another thing to consider is letting subscribers choose their level of service by offering different subscription tiers. A customer reconsidering a $21 monthly subscription might be OK spending $10 on a smaller one.

Don’t limit your service by what everyone else is doing.

 

Capture that unboxing feeling

You know that rush recipients get when they open their curated box of goodies, eager to discover what’s inside? Think about ways to prolong that feeling until the next delivery. The last thing you want is your customer spending the next four weeks contemplating the service.

Make sure to engage your subscribers all month long. Here are some suggestions to keep the momentum going:

  • Encourage subscribers to post unboxing videos or better yet, Facebook Live them. Engage with your subscribers on social media by liking or sharing their posts and reactions. And don’t stop there. Encourage subscribers to post reviews for the individual products inside their boxes as well.
  • Create a loyalty program that allows subscribers to earn points they can redeem for more products. Points, for example, could be earned for referrals, product reviews, videos and social media shares.
  • Build anticipation by adding teasers about next month’s loot to this month’s box, posting sneak peeks to your social media accounts, and emailing safe “spoilers” to your subscribers.

Bottom line: don’t let your subscribers get bored. If they do, it’s on you.

One tip that can’t go unmentioned: fulfillment is key to the success of your subscription box business. Whatever kind of unboxing experience you want to create, our custom kitting services team can make it happen. Learn more about our services.

Color Psychology for Branding & Merchandizing

The science and psychology behind colors is important to consider when measuring the effectiveness of your customer-facing collateral. The colors used for your web pages, advertisements, and exclusive products impact the way current and potential customers perceive your brand. You want to be sure that the color schemes you use resonate with your brand messaging while also evoking the right kind of emotional response from your audience. Whether you're adding a new line of products to your ecommerce site or thinking of re-branding, it's worthwhile to consider how color psychology can work for you. In this post, we'll explain the common psychological associations (from a U.S. cultural perspective) for a spectrum of colors that are useful to retailers and e-tailers alike.

Red    
Associated with: Hunger, Urgency, Danger, Love, Heat
Red is an effective color when placed on call-to-action buttons or ads to grab users’ attention and inspire them to take action.
    
Black
Associated with: Power, Formality, Mystery, Elegance, Expensive, Gravitas
Black is often seen as a color of sophistication and authority, but can come off as intimidating if overused. When used sparingly, black has a grounding effect and pairs well with a spectrum of other shades.

Brown
Associated with: Historical, Traditional, Rustic, Earthen, Classical
Brown shades are very effective when promoting products that have “rugged” qualities, or appealing to audiences with more austere or conservative sensibilities.

Violet
Associated with: Luxury, Magical, Imaginative, Majestic, Passion
Consider the use of violet or purple when unveiling a new or innovative product, as the color invites shoppers into an imaginative experience.

Green
Associated with: Progress, Health, Money, Freshness, Growth, Environmentalism
Most commonly found in the promotion of healthy or environmentally conscious products or services, green can also be used to evoke the concepts of wealth and bountiful prosperity.

Orange
Associated with: Creativity, Expressive, Warm, Exciting, Energetic
Orange is known as the color that “pops.” Consider using for calls-to-action or to highlight product features you would like to bring attention to.

Blue
Associated with: Trust, Calmness, Professional, Reliable, Cool, Peaceful
The color blue puts people at ease. This color works well for promoting customer services or authoritative information.

White
Associated with: Cleanliness, Simplicity, Easy, Purity
White is often used to evoke efficiency, but can come off as cold and sterile if overused. White works best when combined with other colors to soften their impact and add clarity to designs that may otherwise come off as too busy or bright.  

Customer Experience, Explained

It's common for businesses to obsess over customer satisfaction levels – after all, it's true that happy customers are key to long lasting success in retail and ecommerce. However, it's only part of a larger picture: the customer experience.

A good customer experience comes from consistently meeting the individual's expectations during ALL touchpoints with your business. Things like the user experience of your website, the content you post in your social media channels, your returns policy, customer service interactions, the unboxing experience, and many other factors are all cumulative to the customer experience.

Someone who was able to find and purchase products they wanted from your site, and received them on time, is a satisfied customer. However, that's not a difficult bar for your competition to clear. That's why focusing on the customer experience your company offers is critical for standing out from competitors and earning customer loyalty.