PeopleEscalatorConsumers have access to more information than ever before, and with various options for online ordering, paying and shipping, customer loyalty is low. Today’s omni-channel era means retailers and shippers must pay close attention to customers’ high expectations. A customer’s experience with a company is greatly impacted by shipping options. Consumers are known to revisit an e-commerce site if the supplier offers low prices, free shipping and/or fast shipping. Today, 86% of buyers will pay more for better customer service, according to a CEI Survey, but only 1% think retailers meet their expectations. So, what are these customer expectations?

  1. Multiple Shipping Options
  2. Free Shipping
  3. Free Returns
  4. Quick, On-Time Delivery

Shipping options are important to 4 out of 5 Americans.
Retailers know the importance of free shipping in the buyer’s journey. Customers demand delivery options. 58 percent of online shoppers admit having an abandoned shopping cart after they found out the shipping costs were higher than expected. Half say they’ve abandoned a shopping cart because shipping wasn’t free. This data proves that retailers must provide cheaper, faster delivery options. While speed is important, it seems that free shipping is preferred to fast shipping: 83% of consumers opt to wait a few more days for delivery if shipping is free.

How Retailers Can Encourage Better Online Shopping Experiences:

  • Customers want free shipping. A retailer doesn’t have to offer free shipping on every purchase but can create a rule for free shipping on purchases over a certain price point.
  • Customers like fast delivery. However, they don’t want to pay significantly higher costs. Give customers different shipping options so that they can make the best choice based on the circumstance.
  • Customers want free returns. Customers are more likely to complete a purchase if free return shipping or in-store returns are acceptable.
  • Customers don’t want surprises. Notify customers of their delivery status and alert them to any disruptions along the way.

Cultivating customer loyalty is not easy and takes a concerted effort from supply chain managers and company leadership. This task is less complicated with a TMS. With a TMS, shipments can be tracked and routes can be optimized.  A company can deal with high consumer expectations by communicating with customers throughout the process, from fulfillment to shipping to delivery.

One of the more useful functions of a TMS is the ability to analyze carrier performance. Since shipping has become so important to the customer experience, the trucking companies that provide shipping services are very important too.  A shipper can use accurate, real-time data to see which carriers are the fastest, which are the cheapest and which provide the most value.

This is an area many companies outsource to 3PLs.  Implementation of a TMS is risky and difficult, requiring a heavy investment of time and money.  Logistics companies already know how to use these complicated tools, can leverage lower prices, and can train carriers to haul freight in the most efficient ways possible.  Outsourcing reduces overall transportation cost, produces reliable carriers for the long-term and decreases supply chain disruptions, all while satisfying high customer expectations.

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If you’re looking to increase customer loyalty by finding the best carrier for the job, then contact PLS Logistics Services.