Getting that all-important customer experience right is crucial. nShift’s Lars Dige Pedersen examines how retailers can make sure they are delivering at every single step 

After a disappointing peak season and a muted start to 2024, multichannel and ecommerce retailers are focusing their attention on what will make the most difference to business performance.

Most have already developed sophisticated approaches for engaging with customers and coaxing them towards the checkout.

But the time and resources retailers spend bringing customers to this point are all for nothing if they don’t convert. Retail Economics estimates that a quarter of baskets are abandoned at the checkout, accounting for more than £30bn in missed sales.

“What might look to the untrained eye like straightforward logistics is in fact pivotal to the customer experience”

Although customers tightening the purse strings at the last moment might account for some of that figure, it is by no means the only factor.

Not being able to find a delivery option that suits them is often cited by shoppers as one of the biggest reasons they abandon their baskets.

What might look to the untrained eye like straightforward logistics is in fact pivotal to the customer experience.

Get deliveries right, your brand will stand out, customers will shop again and they will spread the word.

By rethinking last-mile deliveries, the post-purchase experience and their approach to returns, retailers can enjoy higher conversions and better efficiency overall.

Last-mile is key to customer experience

”The customer is king,” the old maxim goes. Yet many retailers seem happy to offer second-best when it comes to deliveries. They often seem oblivious to how much deliveries matter to customers.

Growing numbers of retailers are starting to think differently about deliveries. Rather than relying on one or a handful of carriers, they are putting together delivery capabilities that complement their brand and fit around their customers.

In other words, they recognise that delivery is the biggest part of the customer experience.

These delivery offers often combine a wealth of choices, all of them clearly badged: express, low-cost, zero-emissions and so on.

Retailers that get this experience right can see conversions at checkout go up by as much as 20%.

Post-purchase marketing opportunities

‘Post-purchase’ in ecommerce is when customers are waiting for their purchases to arrive. It presents compelling – if underused – marketing opportunities for retailers with the right tools in place.

Many retailers depend on their carriers to offer some form of order tracking, but that overlooks how important this stage is to customers.

It turns out customers are far more likely to open messages relating to their order than conventional marketing communications.

“Savvy brands are now using tracking communications to make marketing offers to customers”

Savvy brands are now using tracking communications to make marketing offers to customers while they wait for their deliveries. These could be accessories or other items from a customer’s wishlist.

Whatever form they take, these offers catch customers when they are at their most receptive – and that can only be a good thing for sales.

When retailers leave customer communications in the hands of the carrier, however, they miss the opportunity to build their brand and encourage further sales.

Returns can protect revenues and build loyalty

I’ve written before about the billion-dollar problem of returns. Yes, customers expect them to be easy. But that doesn’t mean they have to be a profit sink for retailers.

When retailers operate a digital returns process, it becomes much easier to offer alternatives to refunds.

Indeed, rather than offering refunds by default, forward-looking retailers are focusing on promoting exchanges alongside refunds, encouraging repeat purchases and ensuring returned items go back on shelves quickly.

The result? Increased loyalty, fewer refunds and better use of inventory.

A one-stop shop

Transforming deliveries needn’t be a big, disruptive endeavour. The tools and systems retailers will need are mature and proven.

Vendors have all the necessary experience and software under one roof. But planning is crucial for retailers to get that all-important customer experience right.

Get deliveries and returns right, and retailers can worry less about conversions, revenues and loyalty, and focus more on what really matters: growth.

  • Find out more about how nShift helps retailers increase conversions, sales and loyalty with delivery management 

Lars Pedersen, nShift

Dr Lars Dige Pedersen is chief executive of nShift, the global leader in parcel delivery management and shipment software