How can online retailers take full advantage of the January SALES period?

Thanks to new digital innovations, the online retail industry grows significantly year after year. With fierce competition going on within the retail space along with pressure from online markets, it is critical companies get it right from the start. This seems to be particularly true during the January sales period when customer retention is key. Here are some essential pieces of advice that can be actionably used by online retailers to succeed in satisfying their customers and gaining their loyalty.

Retail is a customer business. You’re trying to take care of the customer – solve something for the customer. And there’s no way to learn that in the classroom or in the corner office

- Erik Nordstrom – President of Nordstrom Direct

Research shows that around 60% of online customers usually experience problems referring to the delivery of their package. Approximately 70% of online consumers decide to end their consumer relationship with specific companies due to poor customer service. It is the retailers, not the couriers or delivery drivers delivering the package, who’ll usually be blamed for this. So, the question one should ask is, how online retailers can improve the customer experience in relation to their delivery service?

1. Implementing tech solutions

The first essential step to be taken by online retailers is to make use of specific tech solutions to support end-to-end order management integration. This will not only enable the enhancing of real-time management but also the notification of order status updates. Several apps can be utilized to create step-by-step checklists that each employee could possibly use to make sure that every process is completed adequately (e.g. Zendesk, TeamSupport, etc.). Special attention has to be placed on so-called transition points, when responsibilities for the orders are transferred to other employees.

Using digital technologies allows your customers to select their delivery time online by setting numerous delivery windows on your website and lets them modify their selected time window up to the day of delivery thanks to an omni-channel fulfilment system.

2. Easing the delivery process thanks to customers’ personal information

In order to facilitate the delivery process for both online retailers and delivery couriers, the former need to receive accurate information from their customers, the accuracy of their address information, for example.

Online retailers should also think about allowing their customers to select a safe place (e.g. a trusted neighbour or an office) to leave their parcels at, when they are not home when the courier comes along. Consequently, both the customers and the couriers will gain time.

3. Communicate with your customers

A more direct communication between online retailers and their customers is key, especially considering the optimization of customer retention. The former is obliged to provide notifications to their customers regarding the delivery status (e.g. when the order has been processed or when it has been shipped, etc.). Potential delivery issues should be communicated to their customers not shied away from.

4. Use online tracking or telematics

Online retailers can make use of GPS tracking to optimise their delivery fleet’s performance. Once enabled to track all their vehicles, they will cut fuel costs, monitor drivers for responsible driving behaviour but also optimise the used routes for greater efficiency. Possessing knowledge of the location of each vehicle will also empower them to provide information to their customers as well as responding to last-minute requests.

5. Get the last mile right

A proper delivery is the last step in the package journey. However, this last step is also the hardest and can be a huge pain for online retailers, as it’s usually third parties’ responsibility. Nonetheless, they can still influence the delivery-process by making use of reliable couriers. A close monitoring of service levels will also help them deliver packages timely.

The Take-Away

In this article, you were given five different tips both to enhance your customer retention and satisfy your customers through the optimization of the delivery process: