When fulfilling online orders, what can I do to establish my brand presence on the consumer’s doorstep?

For online retailers, the delivery of the goods is very often the only part of the shopping process where the consumer has direct contact with a human being. “The courier is the new shop assistant,” says Yodel chief executive Jonathan Smith. And for that reason it’s essential to get the customer’s experience right.

Retailers need to offer a range of delivery services that suits the needs of their customers’ lifestyles. While delivering to a business has a large degree of predictability, delivering to a customer at home is more challenging.

One option is to use local couriers who can leave their direct contact details to enable the consumer to arrange a redelivery when they know they will be in, says Smith.

Offering a service such as Collect+, allowing the customer to arrange for their goods to be delivered to a collection point, is another.

Ultimately, says Smith, customers at home are becoming more demanding. He says retailers need to utilise innovations that allow couriers to support retail brands and change their role from drivers to “mobile customer service operatives”.

Smith says Yodel is rolling out software that displays retail clients’ logos on handheld terminals, thus reinforcing the retail brand at the point of signature. This capability provides an opportunity to include tailored promotional information, such as discount codes and dates of forthcoming Sales, which can be verbally reiterated by the courier.

Consumers’ perceptions of a brand do not stop when they type their credit card details in online. Retailers that can enhance the customer experience right up until online fulfilment will be the ones that can build online loyalty in the long term.

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