So you've made a sale in your online store - what now? This blog gives you the hot tips to get your goods going and keep your customers singing your praises.
Doctor Digital Says
As an online retailer, exceptional customer service plays a pivotal role in building trust, loyalty, and the success of your business. Key components of this service go beyond the early part of the marketing funnel to include secure product handling, efficient shipping, and timely customer notifications. In this blog post, we'll explore the best options for businesses in Tasmania that sell online products and services to provide an exceptional customer experience at the fulfillment part of the customer journey.
Handling and Packaging:
You've closed the sale, first thing to think about is your handling and packaging to ensure that your products reach your customers in perfect condition. Different products require different packaging approaches. Consider the fragility, size, weight, and material of each item to determine the appropriate packaging materials and methods. Here are key considerations for handling and packing of your precious cargo:
Quality Packaging Materials:
Invest in high-quality packaging materials, including boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and tape. Use sturdy boxes that are appropriate for the weight and size of the product. Consider whether you get custom boxes, tape and labels for your packaging to make a comprehensive package of your package.
Choose box sizes that match the dimensions of the product. Avoid using oversized boxes, as they can lead to damage during transit. Fill empty spaces with packing materials to prevent items from shifting so they travel snugly and undamaged. For fragile items, use extra padding and cushioning. Wrap delicate items individually with bubble wrap, foam, or other protective materials. Consider double boxing for added protection. If there's a risk of exposure to the elements during transit, use weather-resistant packaging or consider additional protective measures to safeguard products from rain or other environmental factors.
Seal and Label Packages Securely:
Ensure that packages are sealed securely with strong tape. Use the H-taping method on the top and bottom of the box to reinforce the seams. This helps prevent the box from opening during transit. Clearly label packages with shipping addresses and include any necessary documentation, such as customs forms for international shipments. Use waterproof labels or cover them with clear packaging tape to protect against moisture.
Packaging Inserts and Instructions:
Include packaging inserts with clear instructions on how to handle and open the package. Provide any necessary assembly instructions or care guidelines for the product. The more you make the whole transaction simple and straightforward for your customers, including the unboxing and assembly, the more they will maintain a positive brand association. Get people who don't know your product to read through any instructions and make sure they are clear, simple, inclusive and accessible.
Conduct shipping tests to ensure that your packaging can withstand the rigors of the shipping process. This is especially important if you're introducing new products or packaging materials.
Consider shipping insurance, especially for high-value items. This provides financial protection in case of loss or damage during transit. Notify your shippers if your products are fragile or need special handling and also if they are paying for the insurance or have an option to do so.
Documentation and Compliance:
Ensure that your packaging complies with shipping regulations and carrier guidelines. Improper packaging can lead to delays, additional fees, or even rejection by carriers. Stay updated on shipping regulations, especially if you are shipping internationally. Compliance with customs regulations is crucial to avoid delays and ensure smooth delivery.
By paying careful attention to the handling and packing of products, you can minimize the risk of damage during shipping, reduce returns, and enhance customer satisfaction.
You're all packed up, now is the time to choose the best option to partner with for your shipping services. Selecting the best shipping options for Tasmanian small businesses depends on various factors such as the nature of the products, target customers, budget constraints, and shipping volume, with some constraints being noted by Tasmanian companies regarding costs over Bass Strait and sending goods internationally. Here are some shipping options commonly used by local small businesses to get products in the hands of their customers once the packing is done:
Australia Post is a reliable and widely used option for shipping within Australia. They offer a range of services, including regular parcel post, express post, and international shipping. Australia Post also provides parcel lockers, which can be a convenient option for customers to collect their packages at a time that suits them.
Private courier services like DHL, FedEx, and UPS provide international shipping services and can be a good choice for businesses that frequently ship products globally.
Utilise local courier services for quick and cost-effective shipping within Tasmania. This can be especially beneficial for same-day or next-day deliveries.
Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Providers:
Consider using 3PL services that can handle your warehousing, packing, and shipping needs. This can be beneficial for smaller businesses looking to outsource logistics operations where it makes more economic sense to outsource than to do it in-house for both people and space reasons.
Ship to Store or Click and Collect:
If your business has a physical storefront, offer a ship-to-store option. This allows customers to pick up their orders at your store, saving on shipping costs.
Flat Rate Shipping:
Implement flat-rate shipping to provide transparency for customers and simplify the shipping process. This can be particularly effective for businesses shipping to different parts of Tasmania or Australia.
Subscription Box Services:
If applicable, use subscription box services for recurring shipments. This can help in planning and managing regular shipments to customers.
Real-Time Shipping Calculators:
Use real-time shipping calculators on your website to provide accurate shipping costs based on the destination, package weight, and dimensions. This helps in avoiding overcharging or undercharging for shipping and managing the abandonment of carts because of ship shock.
Local Delivery Services:
For businesses operating in specific regions of Tasmania, consider offering local delivery services through regional couriers. This can be a great way to provide personalised service to your customers.
Timely Customer Notifications
Your parcel is on the move! Notifying customers about shipping is a crucial part of the customer experience and can help manage expectations, reduce inquiries, and enhance overall satisfaction especially when something delays a package. If there are any delays or issues with the shipment, proactively communicate with customers. Transparency about challenges can build trust and loyalty. Here are some effective ways to notify small business customers about shipping with at least one option that will suit your sales funnel:
Automated Email Notifications:
Set up automated email notifications to inform customers when their order has been confirmed, shipped, and delivered. Include tracking information and expected delivery dates.
Order Confirmation Email:
Immediately after a customer places an order, send a confirmation email that includes details about the order, estimated shipping times, and a link to track the package.
Shipping Confirmation Email:
Once the order has been shipped, send another email with the shipping confirmation and tracking information. Provide a direct link to the carrier's tracking page for easy access.
Offer customers the option to receive shipping updates via SMS or text messages. This can be a convenient way to keep them informed, especially if they prefer real-time updates.
Integration with E-commerce Platforms:
If you have an online store, integrate your website with e-commerce platforms that offer built-in shipping notifications. Many platforms have features that automatically send shipping updates to customers.
Customised Tracking Pages:
Create a customised tracking page on your website where customers can enter their order number to get real-time updates on the status of their shipment.
Social Media Updates:
Use your social media channels to provide shipping updates. This can be particularly useful for engaging with customers and addressing any concerns they may have. You can do this through DMs and messaging aps.
Branded Packaging Inserts:
Include a branded insert within the package that reiterates the shipping details, thanks the customer for their purchase, and provides information on how to contact customer support if needed.
Mobile App Notifications:
If your business has a mobile app, utilise push notifications to update customers on the status of their orders. Ensure that customers have opted in to receive these notifications.
Create a customer portal on your website where customers can log in to view the status of their orders, track shipments, and access other relevant information.
Customer Service Channels:
Provide information about shipping through customer service channels, such as live chat, email, or phone. Make sure your customer service team is well-informed and able to assist with shipping-related inquiries. By employing a combination of these notification methods, you can keep your customers informed at various stages of the shipping process, ultimately enhancing their overall experience with your business and brand.
Time to Ship it!
For e-commerce businesses or any business that ships to customers, providing reliable on-brand customer service through efficient shipping, careful handling, and effective notifications is the key to success. By choosing the right shipping services, employing proper handling and packaging techniques, implementing robust notification systems, considering third-party fulfillment options, and using inventory management software, you can elevate your customer experience. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal patrons and enthusiastic advocates for your brand, sharing that love on social media platforms and more importantly coming back for more products and services.