Your hard work paid off. You gained your customer’s trust. Helped them find the right products. And created a buying experience that sealed the deal.
Now it’s time to nail the finish.
This article shares advice on the 4th phase of the frictionless commerce customer journey. Not every “Get” approach will apply to you. But within this list, you’ll find tactics for any commerce business.
By the way, if you missed an article in the Customer Journey series, you can read it below:
A Formula to “Get” It Right
The number of fulfillment channels has expanded rapidly, thanks in part to the pandemic. The need for social distancing led to an expectation of total convenience.
The big supply chain question is no longer, “how do I get products to my customers?” Instead, it’s “how do I get it right?”
The answer is a strategic mix of Channels, Promises, and Optimizing Costs.
Channels: Give Your Customers Choice
Consumers want choices for how they get their items. Yet not every channel works for every business. As you design the “Get” experience, consider how each tactic can benefit your customers and your business.
#1: Boost Revenue with “Buy Online Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS).
Consumers are hooked on the convenience of BOPIS — with over half of U.S. adult shoppers using the service. For retailers, it’s also the perfect way to bridge the in-store and online experience.
BOPIS customers are often more loyal, and they tend to spend more. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 67% of people who use BOPIS end up adding more items to their cart.
When implementing BOPIS, there are quick-start strategies and long-term considerations. The key is to roll out a solution that meets your immediate needs, iron out the issues, and evolve the experience over time.
#2: Expand Your Pickup Locations
Customers tend to abandon their cart when they see the cost of shipping. But “free pickup” can help save the sale.
Locker pickup is growing in popularity, especially in busy cities. Buy Online Ship-to-Store (BOSS) is more widespread. And just like BOPIS, customers using BOSS tend to purchase additional items once they get to the store.
Both BOPIS and BOSS can complicate fulfillment. But you can ensure a smooth experience with an order management system (OMS) that controls every detail of the order, fulfillment, and delivery process.
#3: Ship from the Store
With Ship from Store, you can provide endless aisle capabilities by leveraging in-store inventory to fill online orders. Your store becomes a mini distribution center, helping get the order to your customer faster and at a lower cost.
The pick and pack process mimics what happens in your warehouse. But the logistics are complicated. When you share in-store inventory with your online storefront, it’s harder to track and manage product availability in real-time.
Again, you’ll need a robust OMS. There are a couple of options on the market that deliver the best in order orchestration and dynamic inventory accuracy and visibility to optimize costs and shipments.
#4: Nail the Curbside Experience
During the pandemic, curbside became the gold standard for contactless pickup. Now it’s fully ingrained in consumer behavior, and customers expect a smooth experience every time.
Some people will only shop with retailers that offer curbside options. Knowing this, businesses have rushed to stand up basic systems. The trouble comes when rough and ready systems cause friction or an inconsistent experience for the customer. Again, it’s not just about doing it, but doing it right.
#5: Go a Step Further with Same-Day Delivery
The expected shipping window keeps shrinking. In a recent webinar, we shared that 90% of consumers view 2- to3-day shipping as the baseline promise. But many consumers want to break the 24-hour barrier and get their order right away. Same-day customers expect total transparency in tracking, so micro order updates are a must.
Rapid delivery requires local inventory. You’ll need to see where stock is available, automate warehouse processes, dispatch drivers, and more. Make sure your systems are tightly integrated, so they can work seamlessly to orchestrate lightning-fast fulfillment.
#6: Stand Out with Innovative Options
“Try Before You Buy” is an innovative eCommerce trend, particularly when buying clothing, shoes, and eyewear. For customers, the convenience is high and the risk is low.
Retailers also benefit. For example, a women’s wear online retailer saw increases in conversion rates (20%), average order value (45%), and revenue (120%) after implementing Try Before Buy.
Another trend is Reserve Online, Pickup In-Store. For example, a customer could reserve a shirt online, have it held in a dressing room, try it on, and then decide to buy. The payment could even process automatically once the customer approves the purchase.
Making and keeping your fulfillment and delivery promises is a critical part of nailing the “Get” phase.
You can attract customers with incentives like one-day delivery, free shipping, or an easy curbside experience. But the fastest way to lose their business? Fail to keep your promises.
According to a survey conducted by Fluent, 56% of U.S. consumers and 41% of U.K. consumers are likely to never shop with a retailer again if their order is delayed.
To avoid disappointment, you’ll need to:
- Offer reliable options for fast shipping and delivery.
- Ensure you don’t oversell (and need to cancel the order).
- Keep customers informed at each stage of fulfillment.
- Be equipped to automatically reroute orders if an item isn’t available.
Ultimately, keeping your promises requires complete supply chain visibility, accuracy, and control.
Costs: How to Optimize Your Profitability
All these “Get” tactics have the potential to create a frictionless experience. But convenience can come at a cost.
For example, you might wow your customer by offering free shipping and returns — but the costs destroy your margins. On the flip side, you could lower your costs by not offering free returns, but then lose that customer to a competitor. It’s a balancing act that requires automation and insights.
That’s where supply chain technology comes in. For example, companies can use distributed order management to optimize how items ship from multiple sources.
An OMS and warehouse management system (WMS) can help you determine the fastest, most cost-effective route to fulfillment — factoring in inventory availability, store and warehouse locations, carrier costs, and more.
What About Returns?
Interestingly, returns aren’t really a “Get” behavior. Instead, they relate more to the “Trust” phase.
When a customer trusts your return process, it helps them overcome any buying uncertainty. Because they trust that they can easily return the item, they are more likely to complete the purchase.
That said, reverse logistics are certainly part of your supply chain —and an OMS will help you navigate that process. For example:
How will you get the item back? Cycle it back into your inventory? When does your customer receive a refund? And how will you absorb the costs?
To dive deeper into reverse logistics, read: Buy Online Return In-Store: 15 Change Management Questions to Consider.
Build a Strong, Adaptable Supply Chain
We understand that creating a strong, adaptable supply chain is a complex process. Let us walk you through it.
Pivotree applies extensive supply chain expertise and offers the market’s leading OMS, WMS, and digital solutions. We help you achieve complete accuracy, transparency, and control over your inventory, orders, and returns — with zero friction for your customers.