When growing a D2C business, returning customers play an essential role; not only do they provide a steady flow of repeat sales, but they often do not cost as much to re-engage when it comes to marketing efforts, with new customers costing five to seven times more to engage than returning ones.
One of the most effective things you can do to bring people back to your brand time and time again is to meet or exceed their expectations when it comes to the shipping stage of the purchasing process, which is why it is essential to partner with a 3PL that can deliver on this front.
What your customers think
How your business treats shipping can have a big impact on how online shoppers choose to make a purchase, and whether or not they will become a repeat customer. In 2020, Trustpilot found that the most mentioned word across all five star reviews was “delivery”, showing just how closely linked it is to brand sentiment, and how likely a customer is to recommend a business based on their delivery experience.
This is true throughout the user journey. When trying to drive sales, shipping costs will often be the difference between choosing to purchase from you or from a competitor: 66% of online shoppers expect free shipping with their purchase, while 80% expect free shipping when a certain amount is spent.
While the offer of free shipping will help get more customers through the door, their expectations do not end there; a recent study found that around 60% of people that shop online expect their order to arrive within three days, while 41% expect to see their goods arrive within 24 hours of making a purchase.
Quality and reliability of delivery
While speed and cost are important factors to many shoppers, accuracy of the delivery is also important to consumers, with 85% of people saying they wouldn’t purchase from a brand that they had previously had a poor delivery experience with.
From a customer’s point of view, the time taken to return incorrect or damaged items can offset other factors that may have enticed them to buy from you in the first place. Selling products for less than a competitor or offering a greater range may appeal to them initially, but they will be less likely to order a second time with the knowledge that they may have to deal with customer service to organise a refund or a replacement.
It’s important to nurture your customers and continue to impress them through areas such as quality, speed and reliability of deliveries to successfully grow your brand.
Range of available options
When choosing a 3PL, finding one that is aligned to your values, and the expectations of your customers is an important step towards their overall satisfaction with the brand. Not all fulfilment providers will be able to offer the options below, so ensuring you know what your customers value ahead of choosing a 3PL partner will allow you to accommodate your customers’ needs better.
Your fulfilment partner should prioritise orders depending on whether the buyer opts for standard delivery, or faster delivery at an additional cost. Giving your customer options is important as this allows them to choose the timeframe vs. cost that suits them best.
Around 1-in-5 shoppers will opt for faster delivery, while 50% of shoppers will abandon their online cart if it looks like the order will not be delivered on time.
Same-day or super-fast delivery will help improve the chances of purchases from your site, but not all fulfilment partners will offer this.
Initiatives such as tree planting, widespread use of electric delivery vehicles or other carbon neutral/eco delivery options are available from select delivery partners, which can make a big impact on a business’s eco credentials, particularly useful for brands going for or have already gained B Corp status.
Many delivery services offer PickUp DropOff (PUDO) points, which reduce the overall mileage driven on daily routes by ensuring large numbers of parcels can be delivered to a small number of locations, rather than having to make individual stops for each delivery. This offers an extra sustainable option for you to choose from if other eco-friendly services are not available.
For brands and customers that place sustainability at the top of their list of priorities, delivery providers that offer this will be an invaluable part of your customers’ purchase journeys.
Finding a 3PL with the right shipping partners
Each brand has their own values and USPs that they want to adhere to at every stage of the purchase process, so working with a 3PL that will allow you to reflect these values in your delivery options will help strengthen your brand positioning.
For example, if your customers value cost-effectiveness above anything else, then finding a 3PL that can provide a reliable shipping partner or partners with competitive rates which you can pass on to the end customer, will help encourage new and returning customers to make a purchase.
By working with an established 3PL that is a multi-carrier delivery partner, not only do you benefit from their expertise and experience, but you may be able to save on shipping costs.
At ILG we are able to save customers up to 25% on courier spend thanks to our longstanding relationships with the major carriers, discounted rates and preferential surcharges.
Without fast, reliable delivery to your customers, it can be very difficult to grow a brand, regardless of whether it is a start-up or a well-established business.
Working with a 3PL that gives you multiple shipping options, competitive pricing and opportunities that align to your USPs will keep customers coming back to you and help encourage more people to choose to buy in the first place.Find out more about fulfilment services from ILG