Retailers spend huge sums on attracting new customers and trying to hold on to the ones they’ve got. But as online shopping’s popularity continues, nShift’s Mattias Gredenhag examines how retailers can stand out from the ever-growing crowd

What is it that makes new customers more likely to complete their online purchase? What inspires them to return to the retailer in the future and spread the word with friends and family?

The delivery experience has the power to increase conversions and help retailers outperform competitors.

Too often, shipping products is viewed as a purely logistical feat. However, recent research shows that the right delivery experience is more important to shoppers than loyalty perks and alternative payment options such as buy now, pay later (BNPL).

Shopper Unlocked: Inside the minds of 1,000 consumers is a recent Retail Week report sponsored by nShift.

We asked the shoppers we polled how important different factors were in convincing them to buy from new retail brands they discovered online – and delivery and returns came out on top.

In fact, 72% agreed that the choice of delivery options mattered, while the ability to track orders at all times is vital for 84%. For 85% of shoppers, a clear returns policy was crucial.

The message is stark. Failing to provide the right kind of delivery and post-purchase experience leads to abandoned baskets and once-only shoppers.

Getting the delivery experience right is crucial to ecommerce success. So let’s take a look at what today’s shoppers expect from it.

Convenience, communication, and clarity

Our research shows that shoppers prioritise:

  • Convenience – delivery speed remains important, but it is not the most critical factor. Some two-thirds (63%) of shoppers want to specify the time and date of a delivery. Pick up/drop off (PUDO) lockers and collection points varied in their appeal to differing demographics –showing how important it is retailers understand their customer wants and needs before implementing fulfilment solutions.
  • Communication – as we have seen, the vast majority insist on the ability to track their order. Some 42% would prefer all information about the delivery to come directly from the retailer. This is especially important to younger consumers.
  • Clear returns – 75% of consumers surveyed say that an easy returns process means they would be more likely to shop from that retailer again. While very few (10%) expect to foot the bill for sending items back, we found younger consumers are more willing to contribute to the cost of returns.

Consumers know what they want. When they can’t find the experience they seek with one retailer, they will shop around for a better one. But how can retailers deliver the right experience?

From a world of boxes to a world of opportunity

The best delivery experience is founded on a combination of effective delivery management and an outstanding experience for customers. At nShift, we call this capability “delivery and experience management” (DMXM).

Effective delivery management ensures retailers have connections to all the carriers they need to offer customers personalised delivery options: next-day, zero-emissions, lockers and more. It also enables warehouse teams to handle greater volumes of orders.

An outstanding customer experience joins the dots from the checkout to the customer’s doorstep and on to buying again.

It should be easy and intuitive for customers while yielding insights and intelligence to help retailers run a tighter business.

By adopting this tactic, retailers can:

  • Grow beyond limits, reaching customers wherever they are
  • Connect every stage of the customer journey with an experience that encourages loyalty
  • Enable data-tight ecommerce by using data from the last mile to protect revenues and understand customers better
  • Outperform competitors reaping the benefits of innovation, to engage with customers in new ways

The packages stacked in loading bays enclose worlds of opportunity and excitement for the customers who receive them. Retailers that differentiate through deliveries will achieve far greater ecommerce success than those that do not.

Find out more about how delivery and experience management (DMXM) with nShift helps retailers stand out and deliver