Small Business

Fostering e-Commerce Growth

Upgrading the customer experience online can be the brand differentiator.

As more e-commerce businesses emerge, establishing a brand identity is increasingly difficult. While product quality and price play a significant role, the importance of the customer experience is growing; and some experts expect it to soon become the key brand differentiator. Maximizing this opportunity requires refining multiple stages of the buyer-seller interaction. With the right information and resources, smaller e-tailers can optimize fulfillment operations to satisfy customers, extend reach, and improve profit margins.

Minimize Shipping Fees:

Shipping fees are among the top factors online shoppers consider. Minimizing these expenses can attract more customers, particularly for smaller brands. One strategy that’s proven effective is establishing minimum order values to qualify customers for free shipping, which 67 percent of online shoppers say they would do. Brands considering this approach should first perform in-depth analysis to determine the ideal threshold that would outweigh shipping costs, but not so high that it turns off customers. Those inclined to purchase more to save on shipping get a more satisfying shopping experience, and brands see increased average order value.

Speed Up Delivery:

Consumers expect their purchases to arrive on time and quickly. In fact, 69 percent of consumers said they wouldn’t purchase from a retailer again if their delivery was late. Use of a robust Transportation Management System (TMS) optimizes delivery methods in an effort to maximize speed. Rate-shopping capabilities allow brands to choose cost-effective options for enhancing speed, improving consumer trust, potentially resulting in more purchases from returning customers. As order volume piles up, without the proper systems in place, fulfilment speed and accuracy can suffer. Avoid hiccups that can affect efficiency by monitoring operations closely, and upgrade or outsource if necessary.

Captivate with Unboxing:

Creating impactful branded unboxing experiences is the ultimate way to extend excitement into customers’ homes. Studies show that gift-like packaging causes levels of the neurochemicals in the brain associated with desire, excitement and trust to elevate. e-commerce packaging provides a platform to adopt this concept, compelling customers to make additional purchases in response to the neurological desire to replicate this emotion. As social media has grown, so has the unboxing trend, where people share pictures and videos of themselves opening packages and sharing details about their experience. Regardless of the medium, maximizing excitement with something as simple as branded tissue paper, for example, has the power to inspire customers to share positive feedback and recommendations, bolstering brand image.

About the Author

Maria Haggerty is CEO and a co-founder of Edison-based Dotcom Distribution, a multichannel and omnichannel fulfillment provider and third-party logistics (3PL) partner.

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