By Lokesh Kumar
Social commerce has given birth to a new breed of retailers, who sell directly from their website and bypass traditional e-commerce platforms. These direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are on fire with success as more people use the internet for shopping than ever before! India currently houses more than 800 D2C brands. Offering consistent customer engagement and quality products has helped many of these D2C brands like Sugar and MamaEarth cross the 100 crore revenue mark just within four years.
A lot of the success of these D2C brands comes from their customer-centric business approach that constantly seeks to bring innovation into products and listen closely to identify customer pain points. Another significant improvement that has helped these businesses scale rapidly is paying careful attention to logistics so that the customer’s post-purchase experience is always good.
D2C brands and the problem of order fulfillment
Every ecommerce retailer knows, a smooth shipping experience is paramount to customer retention. Unfortunately, the problem most D2C brands face with shipping is not the lack of understanding but of resources.
Five best practices in logistics to boost sales and satisfy customers
Choose your logistics providers wisely
Choosing the right logistics company for delivery is probably the most crucial part of ensuring a hassle-free shipping process. While choosing carriers, consider the locations they deliver to, how much they charge, whether they offer special services like packaging, same/next day delivery, customer service, etc. It also pays to draw up an insurance plan with your provider that covers you for future losses or damages. Finally, depending on your niche, you may require additional assistance like ironing garments, assembling electronic parts, etc. all of these things should be part of your SLA terms.
Display near-accurate estimated date of delivery at checkout
To build customer expectations and excitement around the shopping experience, D2C brands need to display EDDs at their checkout window. A logistics softwares can help generate EDDs with the help of available data on carrier performance as soon as the customer enters the delivery pin code. Apart from building trust, EDDs also help customers make informed purchase decisions that empower them. However, displaying EDDs is not enough if you don’t deliver on that promise.
Make order tracking updates a priority
Online shoppers are prone to feeling post-purchase anxiety if they are not constantly updated about the whereabouts of their order. Sending regular tracking updates to customers on every order milestone can keep such feelings at bay and keep them excited about receiving their order.
Process returns and exchanges faster
Product returns in ecommerce are rampant. Although it is more pronounced in the fashion industry, in truth, no sector of the ecommerce ecosystem is untouched from the plague of returns. But there is a way D2C brands can turn returns into a favorable business opportunity. And that is by making returns/exchanges as easy and painless as possible.
Having a plan to manage shipping exceptions or failed deliveries
Of course, every D2C brand wishes to never see a failed delivery in its lifetime. But such things happen. A carrier will attempt at least three deliveries before marking an order as an exception. However, fake delivery attempts by carrier agents are pretty standard. Therefore, it’s important that, as a seller, you intervene when such a situation arises. It would also help to control matters faster if you could anticipate delays or exceptions and inform the customer of the same well beforehand. This is where logistics software companies can help you save the day.
The post-purchase experience is one of the most important aspects of your brand. It can make or break consumer loyalty. Remember that customer engagement is key and even small changes can lead to big improvements in sales, shipping, and overall satisfaction levels.
(The author is Lokesh Kumar, VP business development, ClickPost. Views expressed are personal.)