E-Commerce

4 things online retailers get wrong about their customers

There are some misconceptions about retailers and their customers. How can retailers improve their post-purchase communication? Which customers are better: existing ones or new ones?

How important is the post-purchase communication? Why are existing customers more profitable than new ones? Which 4 things do online retailers get wrong about their customers?

1. An online purchase ends with the click on the checkout button

The most common mistake of online retailers all over the world is the assumption that all their effort should be directed in getting the customer to click on the checkout button. But, from a customer’s point of view, that is just the start of the journey – which only ends when the ordered parcel reaches their doorstep AND the contents meet their approval.

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So, everything that happens between the click and the postman’s ring on the doorbell is of the utmost importance to the customers – even more than their pre-purchase shopping experience in the online store itself, as a recent study by IBM Watson on customer engagement indicates: When asked which of the pre- or post-purchase experiences is most important in forming the customer’s lasting impression of the retailer, respondents placed the post-purchase experience head and shoulders above the pre-purchase experience, with 67% more consumers voting for the post-purchase phase.  

According to the study, the post-purchase phase even showed that it has the ability to help recover from a poor pre-purchase experience63% of respondents indicated that a positive experience after the ordering click may likely to very likely help them overcome a poor experience in the shop itself – therefore turning a prior bad or mediocre impression of the retailer into a good, merely through good customer service. 

The online purchase doesn’t end with the click on the checkout button.

2. Acquiring new customers is more profitable than pampering existing ones

Many online retailers like to boast about their acquisition numbers of new customers. They illustrate a retailer’s growth rate and marketing success in the most tangible way, after all. But in their joy over new customers growth, companies tend to not do their maths: Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.  

This illustrates clearly that, while online retailers may of course be happy about new customers, they should not forget the true value of their retaining customers. The probability of a sale from a brand new customer is only 5-20% whereas the probability of a sale from an existing customer is between 60-70%.

80% of your future profits will most likely come from 20% of your existing customers!

3. Customers are not interested in post-purchase communication and won’t read notifications on the status of their order anyway

If you ask call centre employees working for online retailers about the most frequently asked question by customers, the answer will always be: “Where is my parcel?” In the IBM Watson study on customer engagement, 90% of customers said, notifications on delays with an order or its delivery where extremely important to them.

88% wanted to track their orders online, 88% wanted to be notified when their order has been delivered. Over 70% of post-purchase communication e-mails sent by its solution are being opened and read by the customers. So, the customers’ interest in post-purchase communication is, in fact, extremely high. 

post-purchase email

The customers’ interest in post-purchase communication is extremely high.

4. Post-purchase communication is tedious and best left to the parcel delivery services involved

Even many online retailers that do understand the importance of post-purchase communication tend to outsource it, mostly to the parcel delivery services.

After all, it’s up to those services to get the order to the customer, so they should manage the communication as well, right? Wrong! Through outsourcing the post-purchase experience to another party, retailers miss the chance to connect with their customers on a personal level – and, therefore, the perfect chance to promote customer loyalty. Ever got an information on the status of an Amazon parcel which didn’t origin from Amazon itself? Case closed.  

Order Status

A custom track and trace page means more shop traffic that would otherwise be redirected to DHL, FedEx etc.

Post-purchase communication doesn’t have to be tedious or expensive: With the help of a powerful automation tool like parcelLab which integrates seamlessly into the retailers’ business intelligence software, post-purchase communication e-mails are sent automatically at just the right time to keep the customer informed and happy.

Some facts online retailers should keep in mind

If you want to unterstand and keep your customers, there are some important things you should keep in mind especially if it comes to the post-purchase communication:

  1. An online purchase doesn’t end with the klick on the checkout button
  2. Retaining existing customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones
  3. Customers are extremely interested in post-purchase communication
  4. Online retailers should manage the post-purchase communication themselves

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