Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
In true Oscar Wilde style, mimicry can be found in many aspects of life. So when it comes to online shopping what can a retailer do to give their customers the closest possible experience outside of them visiting their brick-n-mortar establishment?
Select your goods
The customer’s basket is filled. En route to check out and the ‘Delivery’ option comes up. This is a crucial point within customer service. How is the online trader going to get the article/s to their customer? More importantly, how quickly will it arrive at its destination?
Proceed to checkout
In the eCommerce world there are quite a few options to cover delivery. Most online stores have a selection of around 2 – 3+ options. However, that may initially seem like a great choice, but upon closer look it can cause the customer to stop it’s purchase immediately. Why? Because of 2 factors mainly: timescale and price.
Choose your delivery
If a retailer is worth their salt, they should pull out all the stops to provide their customers with the best service ever. Therefore, online retailers need to mimic the in-store visit for customers. If you can leave a store with your purchase in hand why do you have to wait a few days (in many cases) to receive your goods?
If the retailer has granted you the luxury to shop from your sofa with your mobile device in hand, it’s only fair that they should complete your transaction with a similar notion of walking away with your goods in hand.
This is where same day delivery becomes imperative. If they can let you have your article in your hand within an hour minimum, it’s quite possible you will be back to shop for more.
Currently the main transport of deliveries is either trucks/vans, motorcycles and bicycles. Since we live in a world where technology is becoming the key influence in our lifestyles, the possibility of an even better delivery service is at hand.
Drones have long been around in the space above our heads and homes. A major online retailer has already started to experiment with using these little machines to drop a parcel in a customer’s backyard.
It is a no brainer that a company that can offer same day delivery to a customer living on a farm or on the outskirts of a town using this method will have a returning customer. Needless to say that drone delivery is not entirely cut-out for cities or big towns where the four- or two-wheeled kind can do the job pretty well.
Delivery is of course easier said than done. The crucial point isn’t the actual shop door to house door issue. Quite a few companies have come to light that are offering a service for immediate delivery. It seems the reason why same day delivery has fallen within the last 3 years from around 21% to 12% (in the UK) is due to the price tag that goes with it.
The general consensus is that around 90% of shoppers are not happy with the cost involved hence the notion has swayed towards next day delivery – the cheaper option.
Click ‘pay now’ – or not?
This is 2017 and we are moving very swiftly towards 2018 and beyond. The online trader has a responsibility to their customer – after all he/she has just dipped well into their wallet to spend with them online.
If we think about the delivery industry the most likely to spring to mind is that of the take away food trade. It is almost standard to order food via a phone call or (even better) with an app on your mobile device and receive the knock on the door within 30 mins.
Even though the take away service is very borough or area bound, most of the time it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get dinner delivered and on the table.
Having vehicles as your mode of delivery obviously has cost implications which the retailer and ultimately the consumer has to fork out. That is understandable. A bicycle courier on the other hand has minimum outgoings.
It also moves pass stationary traffic or jams, can get away first at traffic lights and can cut through parks etc. Even though it may not have the power of a fuel-injected vehicle, it can get to your door fairly quickly – and cheaply.
There are suggestions that indicates the High Street in the UK last year were missing out on almost £5 billion mainly because of not having a same day delivery option. 80% of consumers will switch from their favourite store to one that does offer a delivery on the same day.
It has also shown that consumers are willing to pay extra to have their purchase in hand on the same day. So if we put 2 and 2 together isn’t it obvious the revenue created by online shoppers can contribute massively towards the retailer’s ROI? Are we not talking here about a win-win situation?
Over and over retailers harp on about the technicalities, like the computer software, that is involved for a better delivery service. From a personally point of view, it seems like a lot of excuses. To be a successful entrepreneur or business the daily mantra is to take action now.
Time is of essence and life is not at all as long as we think it is. So there is no time for excuses. Retailers not being able to offer a very quick method of delivery need to get their ducks in a row and give their loyal customers what they expect from their brand.
In the end, you need to flatter your clients. Make them feel happy knowing that even though they perhaps have spent a bit more than what they budgeted for, it is worth it because they are treated with respect. Not much beats the shopping in town experience as doing it from your sofa. Just imagine, you will have those shoes or tie in your hands in no time at all.
Now that’s how it should be done.
Evan Wyk is a Director at IMEX Commerce Ltd (@imexcommerce) – a company that focus on eCommerce Development and Trading. His portfolio includes being a Brand Guardian, Business Developer, Mentor and Coach to businesses and individuals alike.