This is how customer-oriented Christmas logistics work
Even in the run-up to Christmas, online retailers have to shine with excellent fulfilment. Continuous process monitoring on the part of the retailer and detailed shipping communication with the customer ensure relaxation - for customers and hotline staff. The shipping communication service provider parcelLab explains how this can be achieved even in the stressful pre-Christmas period.
Munich, 7 November 2017 - According to a study by Deloitte, almost two-thirds of German consumers want to order at least some of their Christmas presents over the internet this year. For employees in fulfilment and logistics, this means hard work. Jürgen Gerdes, member of the board of Swiss Post, expects a new record in the parcel business for Christmas 2017. "Significantly more than eight million parcels" are expected to be delivered daily during this year's season. On peak days, it could even be 8.8 million parcels a day. For comparison: On normal days, the Group delivers around 4.3 million parcels in Germany.
To ensure that no customer sits under the Christmas tree empty-handed on Christmas Eve, it is particularly important for online retailers to monitor their own and external processes, especially at Christmas time. Shop operators should constantly keep an eye on whether all their goods are available or whether delivery bottlenecks are looming somewhere. The same applies to shipping service providers: trust is good, control is better. If monitoring shows that logistics partners are reaching their capacity limits and delivery times are increasing, the change to an alternative delivery company should be prepared as a plan B.
Customers want to be informed about the shipping process
When it comes to customer communication, online retailers should also convince with first-class service. Because especially in the last week before Christmas, customers get nervous and keep a close eye on the shipment status of their last-minute orders. On 21 December, the logistics company DHL recorded 40 million hits on its online shipment tracking. That is twice as much as on normal days, when the figure is 20 million. However, many customers do not always understand the logistics jargon of shipment tracking and subsequently call the retailer at a loss. In order to relieve the hotline at this point and to give customers the secure feeling after their purchase that the package will arrive on time, intensive post-purchase communication is recommended.
For example, customers should receive an e-mail after the order is received confirming that the ordered product is in stock and informing them when the package is expected to arrive. This order receipt confirmation, which usually records extremely high open rates, can also be used by retailers for cross-selling and upselling and recommending suitable supplementary products to customers, for example batteries for the remote-controlled car or a chic scarf for the new cashmere jumper. At the first sign of a delivery delay, retailers should also react with an information e-mail and possibly suggest alternative products of equal value to their customers. Once the goods have left the shipping centre, a message to the customer ensures a more relaxed wait for the parcel. And on the day of delivery, the delivery rate can be increased if the customer is informed in as much detail as possible when the courier will ring at his door.
Eased hotline - satisfied customers
Company experience shows: If you accompany the customer so closely during the dispatch process, you can reduce the dispatch enquiries in the hotline by about a quarter and at the same time avoid frustration among the customers and your own employees. If you want to stand out a little more from the competition, don't write your status mails in standard official German, but with a touch of Christmas folklore. Then, for example, Christmas elves work in the logistics centres and the DHL messengers become delivery angels. Retailers can sweeten the wait for the parcel with a little storytelling. Links to the shop staff's favourite biscuit recipes, the Spotify playlist of the best Christmas songs or even just a funny Christmas YouTube video put a smile on stressed customer faces - and ensure that retailers are rated well and remembered again the next time they shop.
Seven tips for customer-oriented Christmas logistics
- Try to control the volume of parcels in the run-up to Christmas as best you can by offering free delivery or special Christmas discounts only up to a certain cut-off date (for example, one week before Christmas).
- Communicate order deadlines clearly in the online shop and in the shipping emails. Remember that personalised products may have other deadlines.
- Offer extended return periods for Christmas orders - and also communicate these prominently in the online shop and in the shipping emails!
- Let customers choose their own shipping service provider in the shop. Customers usually know best which service providers deliver most reliably in their region. And in the event of any delivery breakdowns, it was the customer who selected the service provider!
- Monitor internal and external processes and inform customers proactively in the event of shipping delays.
- Accompany the customer during shipping with relevant information, easy-to-understand status messages and Christmas storytelling.
- Communicate with the customer even during the returns process. Because informed customers are satisfied customers who don't call the hotline.
Vanessa Eiletz Saskia Müller
PR & Content Manager PR & Events
Tel.: +49 (0)1525 75 11 813 Tel.: +49 (0) 178 342 15 67
parcelLab supports online retailers in successful post-purchase communication. An intelligent tracking solution monitors parcel shipments in real time, identifies customer-relevant delivery events and links these to automated, individualised customer communication in the retailer branding. In this way, the retailer accompanies its customers during the shipping process, strengthens customer loyalty and can use further upselling potential by directing online shoppers back to the shop via specific messages.
The Munich-based start-up was founded in 2014 by Tobias Buxhoidt, Anton Eder and Julian Krenge. Today, over 20 employees look after more than 280 international retailers and support them in perfect shipping communication in over 32 countries and 17 languages worldwide.
Create new reasons for people to love your brand. Build standout post-sales experiences tailored to your customers. Deliver personalized touch points that grab attention and spark loyalty.
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