Nowadays, it’s difficult to tell if your shipping strategy is working for you or against you. With consumer behaviors changing rapidly, it’s more important than ever to continually revise your shipping strategy. Business owners need an optimized shipping strategy for keeping their supply chain moving smoothly and for meeting customers’ expectations. Is your shipping strategy costing you customers? We look into the role shipping has on your customers’ overall experience of your business here.
Customer Loyalty, Satisfaction, and Shipping
When it comes to having satisfied customers, there is more to it than having a great product and excellent customer service. Shipping and the shipping process play a major role in customer loyalty and satisfaction. Meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations will lead to returning customers as well as customers who promote your business.
A study conducted by Comscore showed that 4 out of the top 11 factors impacting consumer satisfaction with online shopping related to logistics and fulfillment. This means your supply chain is a key element in customer satisfaction and retaining brand loyalty. The report also found that equal weight was put on shipping cost and product when consumers were deciding who and where to buy products from.
The Role of Shipping on Customer Satisfaction
Clearly, it’s important to have an optimized shipping strategy that addresses both the needs of your business and the needs of your customers. The Comscore report found that:
- 58% of consumers stated free and discounted shipping as the top feature they want to see retailers improve.
- 56% of those surveyed said they stopped an order due to higher-than-expected shipping costs, leading to shopping cart abandonment.
- 20% of shoppers expect estimated shipping and delivery in under 3 days. However, 50% of those surveyed expect delivery in under 5 days.
Additionally, consumers are less likely to be forgiving after a bad shipping experience or negative return experience. Here’s what the report found:
- 29% of those surveyed said they will leave a retailer completely for just one incorrect delivery.
- 62% reported being much less likely to shop with a retailer if the item is not delivered within 2 days of the estimated delivery date.
- 68% stated that their expectations on accurate and on time delivery are higher during the holiday season, which is a peak season with tighter capacity for carriers.
- 17% of shoppers will never purchase from a retailer again for only one late delivery.
- 55%, however, will abandon a retailer after 2-3 late deliveries, which is tough for retailers because carrier delays, tight capacity, and shipping issues that are out of your control can happen.
- Over 50% of those surveyed would shop more with a retailer who has a hassle-free return policy and would recommend a retailer to a friend because of the return policy.
Providing the best shipping rates for customers and helping to manage, and meet, their expectations are game changers when it comes to improving customer satisfaction through the shipping experience. Being able to handle carrier delays, tight capacity, and shipping issues that are out of human control while still providing the best service possible is the standard for great, efficient supply chains.
How to Optimize Your Shipping Strategy
First, you need a shipping plan. If you already have a plan, great! If you don’t have a plan in place or if you need to update your existing plan, these tips and tricks will help you create a strategy that will meet the needs of your customers.
Start with a Business Continuity Plan
Simply, a business continuity plan is a document outlining how a business will continue to operate during an unexpected event or unplanned disruption. It is designed to help you keep critical business functions working properly and with minimal downtime should an unplanned disaster or interruption occur. To get your business continuity plan started, you will need to:
- Perform a business impact analysis and risk assessment.
- Identify and document all processes, resources and critical business functions.
- Establish a business continuity team within your organization.
- Have your team perform tests on any strategies they develop to make sure your business continuity plan has been tested fully.
Know How You Can Impact Customer Loyalty
As a business owner and shipper, your customers are a large part of what makes your business thrive. Your shipping strategy impacts customer loyalty, so striving to meet your customers’ expectations will continue to be a top priority. Ask yourself some questions to help you identify what your customers’ expectations are, such as:
- How quickly do my customers expect their product to ship and be delivered?
- What shipping perks can I offer? Free shipping? Discounted shipping?
- Can I show estimated delivery times to customers before they checkout online?
- For returns, can I offer free return shipping?
- Are there any common issues, concerns, or complaints my customers are reporting?
- Do you have a clear return policy or an easy reverse logistics strategy?
- When shipping issues arise, how quickly can you communicate with your customers?
Your Shipping Strategy Needs a 3PL
As you can see, a good shipping experience is a top priority for consumers, which means you need an optimized shipping strategy to meet those expectations. But how can you do all of this and run your business? And alleviate the stress of shipping? That’s where partnering with a third-party logistics provider like FreightCenter will make a world of difference for you and your business. With over 20 years of experience and business shipping experts, our team can help you and your business thrive and make your customers happier than ever.
We have an innovative transportation management system (TMS) that streamlines and centralizes the shipping process for you. Compare carriers, source capacity, find the most affordable rates, and track your shipment. The more visibility you have into your shipment, the better!