Shipping is the key to customer loyalty

Shipping is the key to customer loyalty
Published on: Feb 24, 2019
Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Customers want to be personally looked after by the online retailer. They expect the best possible customer experience - at every customer touchpoint along the entire customer journey. However, this only works if the shopping process runs smoothly and satisfactorily in all phases - from ordering to shipping to returns. And it is 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 shops

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. According to the motto: Out of sight, out of mind. However, shipping is one of the most important and even most 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 he holds his parcel in his hands is particularly critical, because a lot can go wrong here. And that's what customers are most afraid of: Will my parcel arrive on time? Will it get lost on the way? Will it be damaged in transit?

What are the advantages of this?

Optimised 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-round positive shopping experience, you can expect them to come back and become loyal repeat customers over time. But that is 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?

It is often out of the online retailer's hands whether the package reaches the customer on time and undamaged. 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 in the customer. 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 of the top factors for dissatisfied customers are...

  • Too long delivery time/delayed delivery
  • .
  • The cost of delivery
  • Deficient/defective goods 
  • Packages that cannot be found

How can retailers optimise their shipping?

Shipping can and should be constantly optimised. The excuse that the online retailer can't do anything more for the customer after the order is placed is 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 not order from them again 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 parcel even returned to the sender due to problems? Customer care should not stop after the order has been sent. The customer should be personally looked after by the online retailer in all purchasing phases. This includes being able to contact the online retailer easily in case 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 this service to their customers. The situation is different for express delivery. This option is available at about 40 per cent 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 shop (Click&Collect). The advantage is relatively high for both the shipping service provider and the customer. The parcel can be picked up easily and conveniently during opening hours and even tried on at the store. No annoying lugging home and the goods that don't want to be bought are easily returned by the branch staff.



Shipping should never be left out of the equation 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 with 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 optimise 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 the customer more leeway.

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