Shipping Strategies to Improve Customer Satisfaction

“Shipping” is more than just an added cost at the end of the checkout process. Speed, cost, communication, logistics – all of these and more combine to form the shipping experience your business is known for. If you can improve on these areas, you can turn your shipping options into a competitive differentiator that attracts more customers. In order to make effective improvements, be sure to consider the following:

Total Cost to Customers

It’s no secret that ecommerce customers love free shipping. However, it's important to remember that the reason customers love free shipping is because it's a discount. If customers can find the same product with a cheaper total cost elsewhere, it no longer matters whether or not the shipping is free. When using shipping discounts as a selling point, make sure that customers aren’t just absorbing the shipping costs through inflated product pricing or other charges.

Outbound vs. Inbound

If you are having trouble finding an effective way to provide your customers with discounted shipping, consider the benefits of reducing the cost of returns instead. Many customers decide to commit to a purchase based on the seller’s return policy. If the return’s policy is customer-friendly, customers are more likely to purchase from a seller – but not necessarily more likely to return their orders.

Order Fulfillment

The order fulfillment process is mostly invisible to customers. But if you do your due diligence here, it can make a big impact on customer service. For example, don’t limit yourself to only one carrier. By negotiating with multiple carriers (or working with a 3PL who can negotiate on your behalf), both you and your customers can save a lot of money on shipping.

Are Subscription Services Right for your Ecommerce Site?

A recent consumer insights report from Hitwise found that visits to subscription box-based ecommerce sites have increased by about 3,000% in the U.S. over the past three years. With the success that start-ups in this industry - such as Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, and Loot Crate - have enjoyed, it’s worthwhile to consider if a subscription model would be a viable extension of your ecommerce site.

Subscription-based services generally fall into two categories. Discovery-based subscriptions provide customers with new products in each delivery. As customers receive packages with some products they like, they return to the company to purchase more of the items. Discovery-based subscriptions can be a great way to market certain areas of your product catalog and generate buzz about the products that come in each delivery. Convenience-based subscriptions deliver customer-specified products on a schedule at a discounted rate, which makes this model great for customer retention.

When deciding whether a subscription model is a good fit for your ecommerce business, there are two main factors to consider: the types of products you sell, and whether you have the bandwidth to monitor customer behavior and preferences to keep the subscription service interesting. A wide variety of products in the low-to-medium price range are well-suited for discovery-based subscription program, while a convenience-based subscription program would require a product catalog mostly comprised of essential consumables.

As for your customers, you need to make sure that your subscription service consistently makes the customer feel special through product variety/novelty (discovery-based) and delivers value (both discovery-based and convenience-based). If you can nail that down, you can make subscriptions a successful dimension of your ecommerce business.

Retargeting Strategies that you should be Using

Retargeting, aka remarketing, can be a great customer acquisition strategy for many ecommerce businesses. If you analyze the traffic on your site, you probably see a trend of users browsing your site, but not making a purchase. A retargeting strategy uses cookies to track user behavior. Based on this usage data, visitors will start to see designated advertisements for your site across the web.
    
While you could run a remarketing strategy "set it and forget it" style, there are simple changes you can make to show users more relevant and compelling ads. Use these tips to refine your retargeting strategies to be more effective.

Customize your ads as much as possible

One of biggest strengths of remarketing is that ads are shown to users who are already interested in your products. Showing them generic ads for your brand is wasted potential. Instead, advertise items that users are likely to be interested in based on what sections/product pages of your site they spent the most time viewing. This strategy can be especially effective at addressing cart abandonment.

Retarget on social media

Social media sites are the most highly trafficked spaces online, so your remarketing ads are more likely to get exposure there. Plus, sites like Twitter and Facebook have advertising options that are perfectly suited for the growing audience of mobile users.

Use incentives to drive action

Remarketing targets users who have already demonstrated an interest in your site. Sometimes, the right promotional offer is all that's needed to get them to complete a transaction. For repeat customers, try serving ads speaking to brand loyalty with special offers to reactivate their buying cycle.

Deal Ideas from Around the Web

If you find your ecommerce sales dragging, a new promotion or program is a great way to get your products moving again or stand out from the competition. To come up with a promotion that works for your situation, you should consider the makeup of your customer base, your products, and the logistics of your company. To help you come up with a great promotion, let’s look at some unique programs from a few well-known e-tailers. More...