Here, Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and CEO of parcelLab, explains the importance of the experience of getting out of direct consumer brands and how direct interaction with shoppers during this often neglected part can increase loyalty, awareness and sales.
The rush towards direct consumer trading continues. In addition to selling their goods through retailers, an increasing number of brands are crossing this traditional channel and interacting directly with shoppers online, with 99% of consumer brands looking to implement DTC strategy.
This growing trend is due to the rise in social media channels and applications that allow direct sales with a single click, allowing consumers to move directly from mail to purchase. It is clear that dispensing with retailers increases brand margins. Equally important in today's increasingly competitive global market, it provides the opportunity to establish a direct conversation with shoppers to enhance customer relationships and achieve loyalty.
However, it also poses an interesting challenge: How do brands interact with customers directly in this DTC process? Shoppers use search engines, social channels and applications to find the products they want, so DTC brands do not have the opportunity to control the buying trip as retailers do, because in many cases there is only one. This means that the customer experience outside the checkout-delivery process, returns, etc. – becomes important. The quality of the shipping process is directly reflected on the brand itself. What's more, it represents the only opportunity for direct participation.
After focusing on making the trip as smooth as possible for customers, subsequent purchases are not an area where online retailers perform particularly well. Doing so will improve the overall customer experience, but many still use the pre-checkout phase primarily for direct shopper participation. In fact, there are 11 of the largest online retailers in the UK who communicate directly with their customers during shipping, according to Study of e – commerce shipping in the UK, With only four allocated messages. The remaining 89 either leave this communication to their delivery company or the client does not receive any updates at all.
So, where are the opportunities for direct participation after purchase? Well, first of all brands need to control communications. Leave the logistics companies to do what they do better and manage the messages after purchasing at home. This means that every update, from the notification of the request and the dispatch, until the delivery status, to the end, thank you for the receipt of goods, can be clearly marked and written in a suitable voice, thus promoting the values and awareness of the brand.
Dealing with post-purchase communications directly enables brands to deal with any delivery problems more quickly and keep customers firmly in the loop, anticipating complaints and reducing disappointment and dissatisfaction – two major sales killers. All of this helps build a client conversation.
However, brands can progress one step and use post-purchase as a new and highly effective marketing channel. Check shipping messages, whether email or text, are 70 to 80% of opening prices and this makes them ideal for increasing sales and customer loyalty by including information about new offers, discount coupons, and status updates. It is also possible to inspire frequent purchases by proposing complementary products to those that are delivered. These brands and retailers who use these techniques currently have 70% of customers returning to their websites during shipping, and most importantly, 0.5-1% of those are making another purchase immediately – from 100-200 return customers.
Many online retailers are losing the opportunity to increase customer engagement and increase sales. With much less customer trip for reference, you need commercial DTC signs to make sure they do not.