How to build customer loyalty with shipping zendesk blog

We’re all familiar with the oft-cited claim: it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. There are plenty of articles, infographics, and ebooks that offer online retailers various ways to improve customer retention. The problem is that many of these resources fail to discuss one part of the e-commerce experience that is a perfect opportunity to increase customer loyalty: shipping.

For shoppers in that latter category, time is a luxury they don’t have. A store that can offer guaranteed overnight delivery to a customer facing a deadline is the one that customers will order from again. The next time she needs to buy something could be another last-minute mad dash. The customer will remember the retailer who got her out of a pinch—and didn’t charge her an arm and a leg to do it.

If you have merchandise in stock, the longest a domestic customer should have to wait for her order is 3-5 business days. Much longer and you risk losing that customer to a competitor. Ideally, if you can swing next-day shipping it’ll be even easier to build customer loyalty. 40% of consumers in the Walker Sands 2018 Future of Retail Study said the availability of next-day shipping is a big motivator.

Even if you can only offer two to three delivery options and none of those options are overnight or two-day shipping, it’s still better than only giving shoppers a single choice. In Differentiating delivery: How to win the e-commerce battle, Accenture notes that two-thirds of consumers have chosen one retailer over another simply on the basis of delivery options. Offer a generous return policy

While you can’t prevent customers from ever returning orders, there are a few things you can do to reduce the number of returns you receive. For example, include high-quality photos and detailed descriptions on every product page and make sure those photos and descriptions accurately represent the product. Consider including a returns label in each shipment. Then the customer can take care of the majority of the process without needing your assistance. And don’t make the returns window obnoxiously brief. Giving your customers plenty of time to return an item is another way to show you care about their happiness even after they’ve completed their order. Finally, implement a thorough quality assurance process so customers receive the right items on the right delivery date. Communicate on multiple channels

According to Sprout Social, 90% of consumers have used social media to communicate directly with a brand. Not only that, nearly 35% said social media is their #1 preferred choice for customer service. The crazy thing is that Sprout Social also found 89% of social media messages go completely unanswered. This means if a shopper can not only communicate with you on social media but also get a timely response, you’re almost assuredly heads and tails above a decent chunk of your competition.

Live chat is an increasingly popular way to respond to customer inquiries. The majority of consumers consistently rate their experience with live chat as positive. Let’s say a customer needs to make an urgent change to a rush order she just placed. An email won’t be fast enough, and she can’t make a call because she’s at work. Solution? Live chat. She can get the instant help she needs without stopping everything she’s doing.

The overwhelming majority of consumers ( 90%, to be exact) expect brands to have an online self-service portal. A well-optimized, regularly updated self-service portal is a great way for smaller brands to give customers the shipping support they need without being on-call 24/7. E-commerce brands of any size must take advantage of every opportunity they have to prove their dedication to every step in the customer journey. Showing you’re committed to the shopping experience as a whole is the best way to build customer loyalty.