Shipping is the key to customer loyalty

Shipping is the key to customer loyalty
Sun, 02/24/2019

Customers want to be personally served by online retailers. They expect the best possible customer experience - at every customer touchpoint along the entire customer journey. However, this only works if the purchasing process runs smoothly and satisfactorily in all phases - from ordering to shipping to returns. And it's important to remember that shipping is the key to customer loyalty.

Why is shipping becoming increasingly important in online retail? How is it related to customer satisfaction and loyalty? And what problems could arise here for the online retailer?

###Performance of the 100 largest German online stores.

Why is the shipping phase the key to customer loyalty?

Online retailers often neglect shipping miserably. After sending the order, they usually just throw away the customer contact. True to the motto: Out of sight, out of mind. However, shipping is one of the most important and even emotional phases of the customer journey. And online retailers forget this far too often. The customer clicks the checkout button and then the longing wait for the package begins. The time until the package is in the customer's hands is particularly critical, because a lot can go wrong here. And that's what customers are most afraid of: Will my package arrive on time? Will it get lost in transit? Will it be damaged in transit?

What are the advantages?

Optimized and smooth shipping not only benefits the online retailer - it also makes the customer happy. And everyone knows: happy customers come back. If you offer your customers an all-around positive shopping experience, you can expect them to come back and become loyal repeat customers over time. But that's not all.

These are the benefits of smooth shipping

  • The repurchase rate increases
  • The recommendation rate increases
  • Customer service requests decrease
  • The potential for cross-selling and up-selling increases
  • .

What problems can arise?

Often it is not in the hands of the online retailer whether the package arrives on time and undamaged at the customer. It is therefore mainly up to the shipping service provider to ensure that the goods are delivered reliably. Unforeseeable events, such as the delivery being late or being returned to the retailer due to damage to the package, can therefore often not be reliably predicted. And a late or damaged delivery triggers dissatisfaction among customers. This in turn often leads to the customer not wanting to order from the online retailer in the future. The number of stumbling blocks is large. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong with shipping if you don't take care of it yourself.

Some top factors for dissatisfied customers are...

  • Too long delivery time/delayed delivery
  • .
  • The cost of delivery
  • Deficient/defective goods 
  • Unable to locate packages

How can retailers optimize their shipping?

Shipping can and should be constantly optimized. The excuse that the online retailer can do nothing more for the customer after the order is now no longer accepted. After all, if a delivery goes wrong, the online retailer is usually held responsible. This reflects badly on the online retailer and ensures that the customer will no longer order from them in the future.

It is clear that the online retailer does not have the entire shipping process in his hands. But completely removing himself from this phase is the wrong way to go. So what can he do?

1. reliable shipping communication

The customer should always be informed about the status of his delivery. Is the package late? Are there any discrepancies in the delivery? Or is the package even returned to the sender due to problems? Customer support should not stop after the order has been sent. The customer should be personally supported by the online retailer in all purchasing phases. This includes being able to contact the online retailer easily in the event of queries or difficulties. For this reason, online retailers should always manage shipping communication themselves.

###See shipping messages in action!

2. Additional shipping options


Additional delivery options include, for example, the customer's choice of shipping service provider, as well as same-day delivery and express delivery.

Choice of shipping service provider

Unfortunately, very few online retailers offer this service. About 80 percent of retailers do not give their customers any alternatives and choose the shipping service provider themselves.

Image Only about 10 percent of retailers let their customers choose the logistics service provider.

Same-Day Delivery and Express Delivery


There is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to same-day delivery. Only about 10 percent of the top 100 online retailers do not offer their customers this service. The situation is different when it comes to express delivery. This option is available at around 40 percent of retailers.

Image Many retailers already offer express delivery. There is still room for improvement in same-day delivery.

3. Alternative delivery offers


These include, for example, delivery to a post office branch or a Packstation, as well as delivery to the store (Click&Collect). The advantage is relatively high for both the shipping service provider and the customer. The package can be picked up easily and conveniently during opening hours and even tried on at the store. No tiresome lugging home and the goods that do not want to be purchased are returned by the store employees without any problems.



Shipping should never be left out of the picture in e-commerce. A smooth process usually leads to the customer ordering from the online retailer again in the future. If, on the other hand, problems occur during shipping or the customer receives his package late without being informed about it by the online retailer, the probability is relatively high that he will not remain loyal to the online retailer and will defect to the competition.

For this reason, shipping is considered the key to customer loyalty. With 3 simple tips, online retailers can optimize it and make their customers happy. Reliable shipping communication ensures that customers are always informed about the status of their delivery. Additional shipping options and alternative delivery offers give customers more leeway.

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