The final mile: How fulfillment and support foster brand loyalty
- Oct 16, 2020 | Gail Cole
Ecommerce is proving to be the main way retailers connect with consumers today. The COVID-19 pandemic has restricted in-person shopping in many parts of the country and world, forcing even the most reluctant online shoppers to shop online. How can retailers remain top of mind among existing customers and rise above competitors to gain new customers?
Avalara commissioned business intelligence platform PSFK to learn more about the customer purchase journey. The resulting report provides valuable insights about the five states of the customer journey:
- ‘Store’ experience
- Shopper education and assistance
- Payment and tax
- Fulfillment and support
This article explores how the post-purchase experience affects shoppers’ overall experience.
Provide frictionless logistics
Consumers have become less patient in recent years; next-day delivery now seems impossibly long for some. More than half of all consumers* say they’d be more loyal customers if companies could guarantee two-hour deliveries.
The pandemic has amplified that trend. Consumers unable or unwilling to shop in-store have become dependent on delivery and pickup. Businesses able to quickly get goods into the hands of buyers are rewarded with loyal customers. This has been true during lengthy stay-at-home orders, and it’s likely to remain true once the pandemic passes; conveniences are not given up willingly.
A growing number of businesses now offer a buy-online-pick-up-in-store option. This allows them to meet customer demand while complying with health decrees. It’s also extremely convenient for consumers, who can shop online at their convenience and have their purchases plopped into the back of their car in an instant.
Some retailers have gone even further. Walmart’s grocery arm is piloting a program that enables shoppers to have online orders securely delivered into their homes, even during their absence. Home security cameras and wearable video cameras help provide peace of mind.
Companies are increasingly discovering how offering a little service after a sale can go a long way. Consumers value help setting up products, whether that involves screwdrivers and wrenches or a computer. They appreciate education, expertise, and ongoing support. If you show someone you care about them after they press “buy,” you’re likely to earn a customer for life.
For example, the plant nursery Avalow provides customers with personalized gardening advice and troubleshooting. Plant selections take into consideration the buyer’s location. Consumers can share their challenges and success stories in a shared garden journal, an ideal way for novice gardeners to learn from more experienced green thumbs. The company doesn’t just help its customers build more beautiful gardens — it builds community.
Just about everyone appreciates a reward, especially one offered simply for shopping with favorite brands. It’s even better when you can choose what type of reward you’ll be given. Approximately 85% of consumers say they’d like loyalty programs to be personalized based on their preferences and purchases.
Foot Locker’s membership platform FLX allows customers to receive loyalty points across all six of the company’s retail brands. This encourages engagement across all channels. The meal app Snackpass not only enables users to skip lines at restaurants when picking up to-go orders, it rewards repeat users with free meals or virtual gift cards.
Recognize and reward
Your customers want to be recognized and rewarded, even when shopping online. In fact, they’ve come to expect it. The most effective retailers are those that add value to customers’ lives, allowing them to browse, buy, and obtain products conveniently. Those able to cater to differing needs rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach will rise above the rest.
Interested in gaining more insights? You’ll find them in this Digital Commerce Playbook.
*All statistics come from the report.