The perfect shipping communication: What does it look like?

Shipping is one of the most emotional parts of the customer journey and the key to customer loyalty. Unfortunately, many online retailers forget this and simply hand the customer over to the shipping service provider after they’ve submitted the order. Retailers need to change this! Communication during shipping is incredible important and those retailers that do actively speak to customers after the order confirmation reap the benefits.

Why is shipping communication so important?

Waiting for the package is the most emotional and exciting part of the buying journey for the customer. Which is why the customer wants to know exactly where their parcel is and when it will arrive. In the event of delivery delays or failed deliveries, online retailers should inform their customers proactively. For customers, no news is worse than bad news.

You would think that this is already the case of the UK’s top retailers, however parcelLab’s E-Commmerce Shipping Study 2020: Fashion Edition showed that only 7% of the retailers surveyed communicated with their customers during shipping. This means that 93% of retailers are effectively ignoring their customers after they purchase – so there’s a huge room for improvement!

What does perfect shipping communication look like?

Online retailers should definitely ask themselves this question before they take control of their shipping communication. What is a good shipping message? What content is important and/or essential? From style of language to content to design – there are a few basic things to consider.

1. Select an appropriate subject

The email subject is the first thing that catches customers’ eyes and is therefore extremely important – it’s email marketing 101. It essentially decides whether the customer opens the email or not. 

So what needs to be considered here? Retailers should provide their customers with the basic information briefly and concisely. The use of suitable emojis can also be helpful here – depending on the industry and company, of course. 

Errors that lead to the message ending up in the spam must also be avoided. This ranges from too many special characters, capitalisation of entire words, as well as the use of specific expressions, such as “discount” or “offer” in the subject line. Check out this extensive list of words to avoid here.

2. Pay attention to corporate language

The language and wording of the shipping message should always match the branding and values ​​of the company. Young, fun companies are able to use more casual language to address their customers, whereas more corporate businesses should stick to more traditional pronouns. Whatever language you chose to use, make sure you use it consistently across all emails, from promotions to dispatch, and right through to returns.

3. Adhere to post-purchase values

There are certain properties that all emails should have. The four most important attributes are:

  • Conciseness
  • Proactivity
  • Personalisation
  • Relevance

This means that retailers should inform their customers about changes as early as possible. In addition, it is important that these emails include useful content and that they communicate with customers personally. The shipping messages should also be short and to the point so customers are able to see the main content at a glance. Retailers who stick to these rules are definitely on the right track.

What are the advantages of good shipping communication?

Retailers who communicate personally with their customers are rewarded, especially during shipping. It not only improves customer experience and offers customers the best possible shipping experience, but there are also advantages for the retailer.

1. More sales

Online retailers can use newly acquired customer touch points for cross- and up-selling. In addition, customers are brought back to the shop through their own Track & Trace page
Our customer success story with Lidl shows this!

2. Reduction of customer service enquiries

Questions like “when will my parcel arrive?” Or “where is my package?” are a thing of the past. This reduces customer service enquiries enormously, meaning employees can fill their time with other important tasks. 
Chal-Tec discovered this!

3. Happy customers and an improved customer experience

The customer feels well looked after and isn’t let down by poor communication. Satisfied customers will return to make repeat purchases, as well as recommending the online shop. 
Fashionette showed this!

4. Fewer returns

Returns are one of the biggest pain-points for online retailers. With proactive returns warnings, retailers can remind their customers, for example, to pick their parcel up from the post office before it is automatically returned. In addition, the customer always knows where their return is and when they can expect the refund. 
Weltbild saw the benefits!

Conclusion

One thing should now be clear: good shipping communication is an absolute must and should not be underestimated. Shipping is extremely important for customers and contributes significantly to a good customer experience. Therefore, online retailers should take control of this aspect of the customer journey!

About the Author: Katharine
Katharine is Head of Marketing Communications - EMEA. An avid shopper, Katharine is passionate about helping retailers understand the importance of efficient post-purchase communications. When she isn’t looking for the latest trends for our blog, Katharine loves discovering new restaurants in London.