Shipping: The Last Mile of the Customer Journey

July 17, 2018

By: Kathy Ury,
Author Title: 
Product Marketing Manager
, Magento
Tags:
Shipping

In commerce, shipping is not just about package delivery. It represents the last mile of the customer journey, and it’s up to merchants to define that journey.

During the first evolution of online retail, merchandising and payments were some of the main challenges retailers were looking to optimize. As eCommerce matured, retailers looked to optimize costs and the customer website experience with to achieving long-term customer lifetime value. 

Now, shipping and fulfillment are stealing the spotlight. With the success of Amazon and Zappos in building customer loyalty with fast, affordable shipping, all retailers are expected to do the same—but they can also reap the same rewards.

Cart-To-Delivery Value Chain

Shipping—including returns—is essentially the cart-to-delivery value chain. Since it concludes the customer experience of online shopping, it can help determine repeat purchases and loyalty and thus alter customer lifetime value.

The importance of the cart-to-delivery value chain, particularly for shipping options and solutions, is not lost among online retailers. From The State of Retailing Online 2018, an NRF Shop.org study conducted by Forrester Research, we know that 45% of online retailers are planning to offer faster shipping this year, and 32% are prioritizing offering free shipping.

Poor Shipping and Fulfilment Experiences Will Cost You

Today, your customers expect seamless shipping experiences that address cost, speed, and convenience.  Expensive and clunky delivery and returns processes are not tolerated by customers, resulting in cart abandonment and negative reviews.

Magento’s technology partner, Temando, conducted a survey in 2017, The State of Shipping in Commerce, among online shoppers and retailers in Australia.  Survey results revealed that 84% of online shoppers perceive shipping costs as too high, with 65% abandoning their carts due to expensive shipping, and even 40% abandoning their carts if no free shipping is offered.

Shoppers Want Options

While free shipping remains popular, presenting shoppers with alternative delivery options such as click-and-collect, locker collection, specified delivery time slot, and guaranteed weekend and after hours shipping—backed up with easy tracking and returns—will ensure peak cart conversion and open your business up to a wider customer base. In fact, the same Temando survey showed that 41% of online shoppers are willing to pay for the convenience of hyper-local, same-day delivery services.

Positive Returns Experiences Create Returning Customers

According to a recent study conducted by the Royal Mail service in the UK, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 9% in brick-and-mortar stores. Moreover, the study showed that 67% of online shoppers look at the returns policy before checking out. Since the returns experience is a significant part of the last mile of the customer journey, it’s not surprising to learn that 45% of shoppers would shop more online if free, easy returns were offered. Providing multiple options on how to make returns, promoting self-service returns, and providing faster refunds, can facilitate repeat purchases and customer loyalty. 

Use Shipping to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Shipping and fulfillment today must be agile enough to flex to customers’ needs, which are influenced not only by other shopping experiences but also by technology advancements. Retailers who successfully use shipping technology as a sustainable marketing tactic can take their business to the next stage of growth with increased sales, improved customer experience, and reduced carrier costs.

Magento Shipping is unique in that we provide value to our merchants throughout the shipping and fulfillment process—from the cart through to delivery and returns.

Shipping is the last mile of the customer journey. Are you ready to define that path and make the experience as easy as possible for your customers? Schedule a demo now to see how Magento Shipping can help you provide a superior cart to deliver customer service. 

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