How to improve shipping and delivery processes to maintain customer expectations

Wed, 26/08/2020 - 16:08

Ecommerce has been on the rise in South Africa, with an increasing number of consumers taking advantage of the convenience of online shopping - much of it taking place from mobile devices. 

According to this article, the ecommerce market expansion is expected to continue over the next few years in South Africa. Data from the Statista Digital Market Outlook also projects a 10 percent compound annual growth over the next four years.

However, while ecommerce has gained momentum, particularly during COVID-19, the industry continues to face several challenges which may impede its future growth.

And one of the biggest challenges is getting the product to a customer’s doorstep on time.

That’s why further innovation is required in the logistics field if South African e-tailers wish to extend their reach, and provide shipping and delivery solutions that are accessible to all.

What is shipping vs delivery

There often is confusion about the meaning of shipping and delivery. Shipping refers to the date the product is transported from the supplier’s warehouse. On the other hand, delivery refers to the date the product will arrive at the customer’s doorstep. This confusion creates frustration for customers. That’s why it’s important to offer your customers clarity by providing both dates to eliminate confusion and create trust between your brand and your customers. It’s also important to factor in ecommerce shipping tracking as part of shipping and delivery solutions to ease your customer’s frustrations as they will be part of the entire journey until their goods are delivered to their door.

Shipping and delivery challenges 

Through our recent South African Digital Customer Experience report, we’ve learnt that logistics is one of the primary causes of consumer disappointment. With a combination of high delivery fees, items being damaged in transit, and delivery taking too long impairing the customer experience. We’ve found that ecommerce sites were guilty of promising delivery dates they were unable to meet. And this often leads to frustrations, cancelled orders and ultimately, negative feelings towards the brand. 

Julia Ahlfeldt, a customer experience expert, explains that the digital customer experience doesn’t end at check-out. “This merely marks the start of a new chapter in the same journey, where delivery is a key moment of truth. When the delivery goes wrong, a consumer’s faith in the entire online experience might falter.” This means ecommerce websites need to quickly learn how to improve the shipping process and find efficient ecommerce delivery options. Getting shipping and delivery right would reduce failure to meet expectations.

Customer-centric solutions

The answer to shipping and delivery conundrum lies in putting customers first and providing them with holistic shopping experiences. Kia Abbott from Cape Union Mart explains that ecommerce websites must still retain responsibility for the entire experience. “The customer remains our customer, not our delivery partner’s customer.”

In our report, we’ve explained that there are two choices when it comes to shipping and delivery fulfilment. The first is to outsource deliveries and the second is to manage deliveries within the business.

Whether you choose the insource or the outsource solution, always seek ongoing feedback from your customers to learn about their experiences. This will help you learn whether your shipping and delivery service matches their expectations of what it should look like. It will also help you improve your ecommerce development accordingly.

The alternative solution 

For businesses which have offline touchpoints, there’s an alternative solution they can use to ease the congestion on shipping and delivery demands. And it is the click-and-collect method. This option allows customers to buy online and collect at a convenient pick-up point. It’s another convenient delivery option that allows customers to get goods without having to queue for them, making it useful for the practice of social distancing.  

Final thoughts

Brands need to focus on customer-centric solutions such as outsourcing or insourcing shipping and delivery logistics. For outsourced logistics, remember that your customer’s journey doesn’t end at check-out, so, work with delivery partners as an extension of your brand’s digital experience. 

Exceptional service starts with having an ecommerce website that is user-friendly and offers positive customer experiences. Our advice? Connect with Rogerwilco, an agency which provides ecommerce web design services, and can perform a UX analysis of your website. This will provide you with insightful feedback on whether or not your ecommerce website matches customer’s expectations. Contact Rogerwilco today and let’s get cracking! 


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