Post-Purchase Customer Experience: Spotlight on NZ Department Stores Online

published by on 21st April 2016 under Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Industry Reports

Post-purchase customer experience title post_Department stores online

 

As more business owners adopt ecommerce to grow their business, the competition for an online customer’s attention and loyalty is no longer that easy. With the proliferation of brands online, satisfying customers and delivering a purchased product online only meet baseline expectations. This makes ensuring loyalty among customers more complex and demanding.

To be able to stand out, you need to build a total brand and customer experience that goes beyond the checkout process. This means ensuring a post-purchase customer experience worthy of being talked about among friends and peers.

Delighting your customer at every touch point especially at the last touch point is a smart way of driving customer engagement and developing sustainable customer relationships that will ultimately help grow your business.

Having said that, following the release of our Department Stores Online Checkout Usability Report, this post explores the post-purchase experience of the five department stores online sites included in the said report.

Let’s begin!

 

The Analysed Ecommerce Sites From the Report

 

Know more about the Department Stores Online Checkout Usability Report here.

 

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 

 

1. The Warehouse

The Warehouse package contents

The Good
Received order confirmation email shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email included the customer service information and a link to their Facebook account
Received a shipping confirmation email the next day which included the tracking number and estimated arrival date
Received the item on time
Name of the company was on the package (sticker)
Included the packing slip with customer service and returns information inside the package
Included a sealed air inflatable packaging
Received a customer satisfaction survey email 10 days from purchase date
The Bad
No thank you note
No return form or return postage label inside the package
Order and shipping confirmation emails had different email layouts
and The Ugly
Confirmation emails didn’t include company branding
Order confirmation email didn’t include product recommendations or special discounts
No company branding on the package

 

 
 

2. H&J Smith

H&J Smith package contents

The Good
Received order confirmation email shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email included their toll free number and social media links
Received the shipping confirmation email on the same day
Received the item on time
Included a sealed air inflatable packaging and bubble wrap
Included the invoice, returns instruction and returns forms inside the package
Item was inside the company branded plastic bag
The Bad
No indication of estimated arrival date in the confirmation emails
No tracking information in the shipping confirmation email
No thank you note inside the package
The packaging was a recycled office paper box. The office paper box branding wasn’t covered. There was only the postage label with the company name in the ‘From’ section.
and The Ugly
Confirmation emails didn’t include product recommendations, special discounts or surveys/ customer feedback
Confirmation emails have no brand personality or tone of voice and only had the company logo
No company branding on the package

 

 
 

3. Ballantynes

Ballantynes package contents

The Good
Received order confirmation email shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email included the estimated dispatch date and links for – order tracking, Facebook, events information, delivery information and gift cards
Received the shipping confirmation email on the same day with the order tracking link
Confirmation emails included site navigation links on the email header; they didn’t include all the categories from the site and included only three links – homepage, events/ news and offers/promotions
Received item the next day
Included the returns postage label inside the package
Included the thank you note, customer service information, invoice, returns and exchange information and forms inside the package
Item was wrapped in a bubble wrap
The Bad No indication of estimated arrival date in the confirmation emails
and The Ugly
Confirmation emails didn’t include product recommendations, special discounts or surveys/ customer feedback
Confirmation emails didn’t include company branding
No company branding on the package

 

 
 

4. Farmers

Farmers package contents

The Good
Received order confirmation email shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email included their customer service information and social media links
Received the shipping confirmation email the next day with the order tracking link
Subject line of the confirmation emails had a more personal touch compared to the emails from the other department stores online.Used “Thank you for shopping at Farmers” and “Your Farmers order is on its way!” instead of the usual “Order #…”
Received the item on time
Included tissue paper and sealed air inflatable packaging
Included the customer service information, return information, postage label and form inside the package
The Bad No indication of estimated arrival date in the confirmation emails
and The Ugly
Confirmation emails included the main navigation of the site’s homepage but the categories were written too close to each other and lacked the needed whitespace in between them. This overcrowded the email header.
The shipping confirmation email had poor email layout with the content not aligned properly
Confirmation emails didn’t include company branding
Confirmation emails didn’t include product recommendations, special discounts or surveys/ customer feedback
No company branding on the package

 

 
 

5. Smith & Caughey’s

Smith & Caughey's package contents

The Good
Received order confirmation email shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email included their customer service information and links to their returns, delivery and privacy information
Order confirmation email included the estimated arrival date
Received the shipping confirmation email the next day with the order tracking link
Confirmation emails included some of the site navigation links in the email header
Received the item on time
Item was wrapped with tissue paper
Name of the company was on the package (sticker)
Included the thank you note, invoice, return and exchange information inside the package
The Bad Indicated in the invoice that there was a returns and exchange form inside the package but there was none
and The Ugly
Confirmation emails didn’t include company branding
Confirmation emails didn’t include product recommendations, special discounts or surveys/ customer feedback
No company branding on the package

 

 

Stop Satisfying Customers and Start Wowing Them!

A important part to wowing customers is to exceed their expectations. There are many things that you can do to leave your customers with that awesome feeling of happiness. You can do something as simple as inserting a hand written thank you note or including goodies and treats inside the package. To WOW customers is to add more value to their experience of your brand beyond the product itself.

The department stores online sites shared some of the good, the bad, and the ugly practices from the online shoe sites and sports equipment sites. Below are some of the practices we found from the department stores online post-purchase experience review worth noting.

 

Received the order and shipping confirmation emails soon after the transaction

Receiving confirmation emails reinforces the acknowledgment of the transaction in the confirmation page by providing your customers with an electronic record of their purchase assuring them that their transaction was successfully completed. It also helps them feel confident by giving them a sense that something is happening. By not sending the emails soon after they have completed the purchase can make them think that something had gone wrong, thus creating unnecessary anxiety. That’s a no no if you want to encourage repeat purchases or retain your existing customers.

 

Used protective stuffing or cushioning (fillers)

Most of the department stores online used some form of protective cushioning such as sealed air packaging, bubble wrap and tissue paper to ensure a safe transport of the product. These are common and traditional options used by most ecommerce businesses. You can think outside the box by creating a more memorable branded packaging by using custom printed or colored tissue paper, colored crinkle paper, cotton inserts, biodegradable packing peanuts, excelsior or metallic shreds.

 

Asked about the shopping experience

Only The Warehouse sent a customer satisfaction survey email after the transaction. Asking your customers about their experience shows that you want to understand that will make them happier and learn about areas where you can improve.

Customer surveys or feedback can provide valuable insights into the needs of your customers – what works, what’s missing, what’s preventing them from converting or purchasing again. You’d be surprised that even the most apprehensive customer will bluntly tell you what is good, bad and ugly about the shopping experience.

Be sure to get their feedback soon after their purchase (one or two weeks later) so that your customers can still remember the experience and give you useful inputs that you can implement straight away.

 

The confirmation email header closely matches the site header

Ballantynes, Smith & Caughey’s and Farmers included the site navigation links on their email headers. However, with Farmers, the categories were written too close to each other and lacked the needed whitespace in between them. This overcrowded its email header making it difficult to read and navigate around. On the other hand, Ballantynes and Smith & Caughey’s included the most popular category links and had enough whitespace in between them.

By having the email header closely matching the format and styling of the site header, your customers can easily find the information they need and take action. It’s also a more subtle and better way of encouraging them to go back to your site without the need for a big CTA (call-to-action) forcing them to ‘shop now’, especially right after they’ve purchased from you.

 

No email personalisation and no brand personality in the confirmation emails

None of the department stores online personalised their email subject lines. Most of them simply used the order confirmation number in the subject line. Farmers did a little bit better by adding a personal touch and used “Thank you for shopping at Farmers” and ”Your Farmers order is on its way!” instead of the usual generic subject lines.

As mentioned in the previous post, your customers will open the confirmation emails regardless of what the subject line is as they are expecting to receive information about their purchase. If you want to wow your customers, confirmation emails are another opportunity for you to get creative and keep them excited and confident about their purchase. Make your customers a part of your brand and strengthen the relationship already established from their initial purchase.

 

Poor confirmation email layout and design

Two of the department stores online had confirmation emails with inconsistent brand look and ugly lay out. Most ecommerce businesses send out emails which use plain text, boring copy, unattractive design and don’t showcase the brand’s personality effectively.

If you want your confirmation emails to stand out and to train your customers to open your future emails, you need to make them visually appealing. Aim for a clean, easy to ready and minimalist design. Your logo should be prominently displayed and all throughout the email, the fonts, colors, styling and language used should reflect your brand.

It is equally important to reflect your brand consistently. If you have a clean and consistent brand look, your customers will safely assume that is also the way by which you operate or handle their transactions. You will look much more legitimate and provide a better experience if you put some effort into branding your confirmation emails appropriately.

 

Are you ready to create that wow customer experience?

In this world of the post-purchase relationship, your ultimate goal is to find ways to continue delivering value to your customers after their first purchase.

And to truly wow them you need to exceed their expectations and create out-of-the-ordinary experiences that they want to tell people about and that inspires them to recommend you to others. Want to chat more on how to win customers and create a measurable difference in their experiences? Give us a call today at +64 9 9201740 or quickly fill out the form at the bottom of this page and someone from our team will contact you.

 

Department stores online report download CTA

 

Department Stores Online Checkout Usability Report – CRO 2016

published by on 15th April 2016 under Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Industry Reports

Department store CRO industry report blog post title

 

Report overview

This is the third Checkout Usability Report from FIRST. In this report, FIRST reviewed the checkout processes of five New Zealand department stores online. Insights and recommendations for optimising the checkout process that keep customers well informed and focused at each step of the process are discussed in the report.

Using a bespoke Conversion Experience Scoring (CXS) methodology, FIRST scored each ecommerce site based on the presence of the key conversion elements on their checkout pages. The sites were further ranked against each other to find out who’s leading in having good checkout processes in the department stores online industry.

 

Analysed Ecommerce Sites

 

Some Report Findings

  • Currently, The Warehouse is taking the lead in having most of the conversion elements on their checkout pages compared to the other retail sites. Lagging behind are the rest of the sites with CXS scores of less than 60%.
  • Only The Warehouse and Ballantynes removed their main navigation bar and footer from all the checkout pages. You can easily get your customers through the purchase if you minimise distractions on your checkout pages. It would be helpful though to include relevant links such as customer service information, privacy policy and delivery and returns policy.
  • None of the retailers provide form field descriptions or input examples. However, Farmers provide further information on top of their form fields on the login page to explain what the user has to do. Clearly explaining why information is needed will help your customers feel more comfortable providing it and reducing the chances of them abandoning the purchase.
  • 2 out of 5 sites provide information on shipping methods. The checkout process is not just about getting information from your customers, it’s also about giving information to them. It is important to inform customers of shipping options and how long each option would take. Some may want in-store pickup or have preferences when it comes to the shipping company.
  • Only The Warehouse opens a new window specifically for payment information. Doing this removes customers from the site they’re on and may confuse them and may also raise trust issues with the site. If it is necessary to move customers to another window because the payment systems are handled by third party services, make sure you keep the experience consistent by including the company logo and branding.
  • and more!

 
Get the critical conversion elements of the checkout pages from this checkout usability report and start optimising your checkout processes for maximum conversions. 
 

DEPARTMENT STORES ONLINE CHECKOUT USABILITY REPORT CTA – CRO 2016

 

Smarter Data 2016 Conference – 10 Key Themes

published by on 8th April 2016 under Digital Strategy, Digital Trends, Events

Smarter data conference blog post title_v2

 

Yesterday, FIRST attended the Smarter Data conference in Auckland. Hosted by the Marketing Association, this one-day event explored how marketers today can leverage data to transform or grow their businesses. It featured a diverse line-up of speakers from varies industries sharing their stories, insights and riffing on what a data-driven future looks like for marketing professionals.

Here are some of the key themes from the day:

 

The democratisation of data

Just as we’ve become a literate society, where most people can read and write, something similar is starting to occur with numerical literacy. Every-day marketers are learning how to access, explore and present data. New organisations like figure.nz are consolidating data from different sources – including companies, government and academia – and converting these into simple visualisations available to everyone.

 

The power of visualisations

Visualisations are a powerful way to communicate and tell stories. If done well, graphics are intuitive and convey complexity and subtle trends very effectively. While there are plenty of enterprise-level tools, such as Tableau and Qlik, their main benefits are around publishing, permissions and real-time reporting. For most of us, Excel is a great place to start and, if you have a coder in your team, there are also a growing number of open-source visualisation tools like D3.js.

 

Think lightning fast

For data to be most valuable in making decisions, it needs to be timely. In some industries, creating a report in minutes instead of hours is key to making it actionable. Work towards becoming agile, even if that means taking baby steps such as starting with a minimum viable product or just some of your data.

 

Sharpen your focus

“Without a clear goal we become strangely attracted to daily acts of trivia”. As a rule, rather than letting your data drive the agenda start with your problem or opportunity. Develop clear KPI’s that support your goal and then use these to shape your data collection and measurement.

 

Become an intrapreneur

Entrepreneurs are known for their resourcefulness and creativity. But how you can be smarter with data and solve problems within a company? As a thought experiment, what would you do if all your existing systems, networks and data disappeared overnight and you could re-imagine everything from the beginning?

 

Organisational change

Having data available is a good start, but to fully leverage it you need support from throughout your company. For example, a data-driven marketing initiative might require capabilities spanning data collection, storage, analytics, people to action the insights, tracking results and costing the entire exercise against incremental revenue. Strategy needs to be set at the top, enabling the organisational change required to fully leverage the data available.

 

Personas & Personalisation

Customers are increasingly expecting your marketing to be personalised. This is partly driven by exposure to leading global companies such as Amazon, Uber and Netflix, but also from highly personalised social media news-feeds. Marketers need to strike the right balance between personal (good) and intimate (spooky). Alternatively, disclose why you’re showing a customer a specific offer or simply allow your customers to configure their own experience.

 

Machine Learning

Demand for predictive marketing and machine learning services (modelling data to find out which products a customer is most likely to buy) is exploding, especially in the UK and US. While many companies see good conversion gains, in the region of 5%-15%, some such as Tesco have seen increases as high as 4x. Due to our fast adoption of technology, New Zealand is in a great position to capitalise on this emerging trend.

 

Data futures

More organisations will share data in order to fully unlock the social and economic benefits. This may include cross-governmental sharing, such as between the Companies Office and IRD, or from a product manufacturer to its retailers. The expectation is that our peers will provide a self-regulating environment for collecting and using data fairly and honestly. The consensus was that New Zealand companies are generally prudent in how they use customer data, possibly missing some opportunities as a result.

 

Self-driving cars

It’s expected that we’ll see autonomous vehicles out on our streets within 10-12 years, subject to regulatory approval. It was considered that Google is making a play towards developing the ‘Android’ for these vehicles, incorporating marketing opportunities into in-drive entertainment and other services. Other possibilities also include hired cars that reduce fares for diverting to a sponsors retail store and company branded cars that can pick up your pizza or drop you off at the airport and check in your bags.

 

Final thoughts

Despite all these great examples, a recurring theme from all speakers was that the opportunities with data are new to us all. There are no experts and we’re only just beginning to figure out what’s possible.

So, start where you are and good luck on your journey to getting smarter with data!

 

Let’s throw some ideas around

Here at FIRST, we focus on helping online businesses to grow by enhancing the online customer experience and by gaining deep customer insight through a data-driven strategic approach. We take a friendly, honest, transparent and ‘no-bull’ approach – and our clients like it that way. Quickly fill out the form at the bottom of the page or give us a call today at +64 9 920 1740 and let’s chat!

Post-Purchase Customer Experience: A Look At 5 Online Shoe Ecommerce Sites

published by on 7th April 2016 under Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Industry Reports

Post-purchase experience online shoe title post_v2

 

A few days ago we featured the post-purchase customer experience of sports equipment sites. Today, we’ll be exploring five online shoe ecommerce sites that were included in the Online Shoe Checkout Usability Report.

Let’s dive in!

 

The Analysed Ecommerce Sites From the Report

 

Know more about the Online Shoe Checkout Usability Report here.

 

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 

 

1. Ecco

Ecco shoes package contents

The Good
Received order confirmation email shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email included the customer service information and refund information
Offer free shipping
Item was delivered after 2 business days which was within their specified estimated delivery time of 5-10 business days
Included the receipt and return postage label inside the package
Name of the company was on the package (sticker)
Included a thank you note signed by the Ecco Online team
The Bad
No shipping confirmation email received
No return form inside the package (you’d have to download it from their website)
and The Ugly
Order confirmation email had no brand personality or tone of voice and only had the company logo
Order confirmation email didn’t include upsells, special discounts, social media account links or surveys/ customer feedback
No branding on the package

 
 

2. Number One Shoes

Number one shoes package contents

The Good
Received an order confirmation shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email layout reflected their brand personality and had links to their social media accounts, customer service information and navigation links back to their website
Order confirmation email also included their unique value proposition – free delivery, free 365 day return and click & collect
Shipping confirmation email was received on the same day the item was ordered which contained tracking information.The email had no company branding and just had the company logo which did not display properly on the email. The copy used was also very plain and generic.
Delivered the item the day after the order date
Included the return postage label inside the package
A thank you note, customer service information, invoice, return and exchange information were included inside the package
The Bad
No indication of estimated arrival date in the order confirmation email
The shipping confirmation email had no company branding and just had the company logo which did not display properly on the email. The copy used was also very plain and generic.
No name of the company on the package
The package was oversized for the small item inside. They used a very big white plastic bag which was not easy to open.
and The Ugly
Confirmation emails didn’t include product recommendations, special discounts or surveys/ customer feedback
No branding on the package

 

 

3. Hannahs

Hannahs package contents

The Good
Order confirmation email was received shortly after checking out. They used email personalisation and included the customer’s name in the subject line
Order confirmation email layout reflected their brand personality and had links to their Facebook account, customer service, delivery and return information as well as navigation links back to their website
Shipping confirmation email was received after 2 business days which included tracking information and the estimated arrival date
Copy used in the confirmation emails was more personal instead of the usual generic spiels in most confirmation emails
Delivered the item 3 business days from the order date which is within their estimated arrival date range
Used company branding on the packaging
Included the return postage label inside the package
Included the thank you note, customer service information, invoice, return and exchange information inside the package
The Bad None
and The Ugly Confirmation emails did not include customer survey/ feedback

 

 

4. Merchant 1948

Merchant 1948 package contents

The Good
Order confirmation email received shortly after checking out
Order confirmation email layout reflected their brand personality and had a quality image of their products on models. Included in the email was their value proposition of free shipping on orders over $50, navigation links back to their site, links to their social media accounts, customer service information and other product recommendations. They suggested items subtly by titling the section “You might like these…”
Shipping confirmation email was received on the same day the order was made. The email reflected the brand personality and had some of the information from the order confirmation email in there. They included the tracking and return information as well as links to their return policy
Delivered the item 2 business days after order date which was within their estimated arrival date range
Used company branding on the packaging
Included a separate thank you card with their customer service information
Included the return information and form inside the package
Included a shoe care guide inside the package (Nice! :) )
The Bad None
and The Ugly Confirmation emails did not include customer survey/ feedback

 

 

5. Shoe Connection

Shoe connection package contents

The Good
Delivered item after 2 business days which was within their estimated arrival date range
Name of the company was on the package (sticker)
Included the thank you note, invoice, return and exchange information inside the package
The Bad
No order confirmation email received
No shipping confirmation email received
No customer service information on the form inside the package
and The Ugly No company branding on the package

 

Channel the post-purchase good vibes to your customers

The online shoe sites did a better job in delivering good post-purchase experience to their customers compared to the sports equipment sites. Below is a quick snapshot of the good things they did as well as the bad and the ugly things that they need to improve on.

The Good Stuff

 

They included the return postage label in the package.

As mentioned in the previous post, including a return form in the package doesn’t mean that you’re encouraging your customers to return the item. According to comScore’s survey, 82% of customers say they would complete the purchase if they could return the item to a store, and 66% said they review an online retailer’s return policy before making a purchase. Again, it’s all about making it easy for your customers and including a return label in the package helps with that.

 

A signed thank you note was included in the package.

One sure way to set you apart from your competitors is to have a signed thank you note inside the package. This inexpensive and simple way of personalising a package insert will be seen by your customers as a sincere gesture from your part and can help build loyalty to your brand. Appreciating your customers and the business they give you can go a long way in providing a memorable post-purchase experience for them.

 

The confirmation emails showcased their brand personality and included useful information, links to social media accounts and navigation links back to the site.

A good way to further engage your customers after they purchase from you is to extend your overall brand experience to your confirmation emails. Use a more personalised copy instead of generic and standard spiels. You can also include quality and inspirational images in your emails that further show off your brand to your customers.

Additionally, keep them engaged and interested by providing navigation links to go back to your site without being too pushy (such as using a CTA that tells them to go back to your site to buy again). This type of hard-sell right after a purchase may turn off your customers and harm your credibility. Merchant 1948 added a ‘You might like these…” recommendation section to its confirmation email that subtly lays the groundwork for the customer’s next purchase.

You can also leverage the power of social media and encourage your customers to follow you and keep in touch with through your social channels.

These are good ways to connect more with your customers as customers today don’t just buy products but also buy the customer experience delivered by the product

 

Email subject line personalisation was used for the confirmation emails.

You know that the confirmation emails you send will be opened regardless of what subject line you use as your customers are expecting to receive information on their online purchase. But that doesn’t mean that you should just give them generic confirmation emails with their order numbers in the subject lines.

When you recognise your customer by name in the subject line of the email, you are able to establish an immediate and personal connection with that customer. This keeps their experience with your brand dynamic and personally relevant. I’m sure it won’t be that difficult to include another word (your customer’s name) in the email subject line which can make an impact on how they perceive your brand.

 

They used company branding on the package.

Unlike physical retail stores, ecommerce businesses or online retailers have less ways to connect with customers on a more personal level. It is important then to leverage every customer touch point to impress customers and create a positive and memorable experience.

You can do that through customer experience focused packaging. There are many ways by which you can impress your customers through branded packaging. Simple ways include using your company’s own product or store packaging instead of the shipping company’s standard mailing bags or boxes. This was done by Hannahs and Merchant 1948 and they stood out compared to the other online shoe retailers who delivered items using the shipping company’s mailing bags.

You can also go the extra mile and exceed your customer expectations with well-designed, custom branded packaging. Check out some good recommendation on how you can achieve that in this post.

 

Used package inserts to add more value to the purchased item.

Merchant 1948 included a shoe guide together with the purchased shoe gel in the package. This is a good use of the right packaging insert as it is related to the purchased item and guides the customer on how best to care for shoes which was the intention of purchasing the shoe gel in the first place.

Using the right package inserts is a good way to make your customers feel valued without them feeling that you are pushing them to buy from you again (at least not right away).

 

The Bad and The Ugly Stuff

We’ve found that for the online shoe sites we evaluated, there were bad and ugly practices that were similar to the ones from the sports equipment ecommerce sites. For the following insights, we’ll highlight those which we found unique to the online shoe sites listed above.

 

No indication of estimated arrival date in the confirmation emails.

Surely you don’t want to make your customers go through the trouble of going back to your site, scrolling down to the footer, clicking on the shipping link, reading through your delivery information and calculating the estimated arrival date of their purchased item. That’s just not a good way to thank them for the business they gave you.

Make sure you include useful information for your customers in the confirmation emails to avoid creating anxiety and the need to contact your customer support because they can easily access the information they need from your emails.

 

Used an oversized package for the item.

As part of creating a branded packaging experience for your customers, choosing the right packaging size is an important part of the whole experience. Use the right size of packaging for the items for two purposes – 1) to give the item inside enough protection and 2) to make it easy for your customers to get the item from the package.

Number One Shoes had a huge plastic bag for the small item inside. The bag was also difficult to open and obviously I had to dig deep for the item once I got the bag opened.

Think of it this way, you can also save on packaging costs from eating away your profit margin as shipping companies charge based on size and weight.

 

No customer service information inside the package.

It is important to show your customers that you’re ready to provide information or assistance in case they need them. You can do this my making sure your customer service information is readily accessible across all customer touch points. Including the customer service information inside the package can save your customers the trouble of looking through the confirmation emails you sent or going back to your site just to get your contact details.

 

No customer survey or feedback.

Asking your customers about their shopping experience shows that you care and want to constantly provide them the best experience when it comes to your brand and your products.  You can encourage your customers to participate in your surveys by offering them incentives such as a chance to win something, special discounts or early access to latest product releases.

Asking for feedback is one thing, and acting on those valuable inputs is another. Make sure that you take those customer inputs into consideration in improving your overall customer experience.

 

Pay attention to the little details. See what happens.

You’d be surprised how little things that show customers you value them can impact your customer engagement rates and inevitably, your return on investment (ROI).

So, if you want to start creating awesome experiences for your customers that they are more than happy to share with others, contact us and we’ll help you develop and implement a plan of action tailored to your customers’ and business’ specific needs. Quickly fill out the form at the bottom of this page and someone from our team will contact you.

 

Online shoe industry report image CTA

Boosting the Post-Purchase Experience – Sports Equipment Ecommerce Sites

published by on 4th April 2016 under Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Industry Reports

Post-purchase experience title post_v2

 

Equally important to the customer experience during the purchase process is the post-purchase experience. A research on decoding customer lifetime value shows that the fastest growing ecommerce businesses are differentiating themselves from the competition through both acquisition and retention. According to another study, repeat customers spend 67% more than a new customer. Additionally, 61% of small businesses generate more than 51% of their annual revenue from repeat customers rather than new customers.

Given that repeat customers can lead to higher ROI, it makes a lot of sense to focus on improving the post-purchase experience of your customers and encourage them to convert again and again and again…

We have recently published Checkout Usability Reports focused on evaluating the online purchase experience among ecommerce businesses in specific industries. So, expect a blog post on the post-purchase experience of each ecommerce site included in the reports in the coming days.

Let’s start off with the Sports Equipment Checkout Usability Report.  The delivery location for all items ordered was in Auckland CBD.

 

The analysed ecommerce sites from the report

 

Know more about the Sports Equipment Checkout Usability Report here.

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 

1. Sports Distributors

Sports Distributors package contents

The Good

  • They sent a confirmation email shortly after the checkout process was completed.
  • The company name was on the package (sticker).
  • The package included the invoice with the customer service information.

The Bad

  • There was no shipping confirmation email received.
  • The order arrived after four business days from the order date despite indicating on their website (Shipping information section) that they aim to dispatch the order either the same or next business day.
  • No thank you note inside the package.
  • No return information or return form.

and The Ugly

  • The confirmation email had no brand personality or tone of voice and only had the company logo. It also didn’t include upsells, special discounts, social media links or surveys/ customer feedback.
  • There was no company branding on the package.

 

2. Stirling Sports

Stirling Sports package contents

The Good

  • They sent a confirmation email shortly after the checkout process was completed.
  • Their customer representative called me on the same day the item was ordered to verify the delivery address.
  • They sent the shipping confirmation email on the same day which contained the tracking information and customer service information.
  • They delivered the item the day after the order date – overnight!

The Bad

  • There was no name of the company on the package.

and The Ugly

  • Similar to Sports Distributors, their confirmation email had no brand personality or tone of voice and only had the company logo. It also didn’t include upsells, special discounts, social media links or surveys/ customer feedback.
  • There was no company branding on the package.

 

3. Torpedo7

Torpedo 7 package contents

The Good

  • They sent a confirmation email shortly after the checkout process was completed.
  • They also sent the shipping confirmation email on the same day. It contained the tracking information and the brand’s social media channels.
  • The company name was on the package.
  • Inside the package, there was a thank you note with a $10 voucher code for online purchases over $99.
  • An email asking for feedback was sent five business days after the order date.

The Not So Bad (how they quickly turned the bad to good)

  • It was indicated in the shipping confirmation email that the order will be delivered within 1-2 business days but it was delivered after five days from the order date.
  • So, I sent an email clarifying why the item wasn’t sent the next day. Their customer service representative replied immediately apologising for the delay and explained what happened. She also included a free voucher worth $7.50.
  • They sent another email a few days later asking for feedback on how to improve the shopping experience.

and The Ugly

  • The confirmation email contained a call-to-action (CTA) to return to the site. While repeat purchases are the ultimate goal of online retailers, it’s important to consider the right timing as customers may not be ready to buy again after they’ve made a purchase.
  • Their confirmation email had a better layout than the previous online retailers but there is still room for improvement. The copy can be improved by making it more positive rather than simply saying “thank you for the order”.
  • Shipping confirmation email had the the email subject line ‘Invoice from Torpedo 7 Ltd’. It would be good for the subject line to explicitly state that the email was about the shipping or delivery of the item.
  • There was no company branding on the package.

 

4. Rebel Sport

Rebel Sport package contents

The Good

  • They sent a confirmation email shortly after the checkout process was completed.
  • They sent an email the day after order date that there was a delay in locating the item. These things happen and it’s good that they gave an update. The next day, they sent another email indicating that the order has been dispatched and the estimated arrival date.
  • The company name was on the package (sticker).
  • Invoice contained the customer service information, return instructions and return form.

The Bad

  • There was no thank you note inside the package.

and The Ugly

  • The confirmation email had no brand personality or tone of voice and only had the company logo. It used small fonts that made it quite hard to read.
  • It also didn’t include upsells, special discounts, social media links or surveys/ customer feedback.
  • There was no company branding on the package.

 

5. Hart Sport

Hart Sport package contents

The Good

  • They sent a confirmation email shortly after the checkout process was completed.

The Bad

  • There was no indication on the confirmation email nor on their website on the estimated arrival time of the ordered item.
  • There was no shipping confirmation email received.
  • There was no thank you note inside the package.

and The Ugly

  • The confirmation email had no brand personality or tone of voice and only had the company logo.
  • It also didn’t include upsells, special discounts, social media links or surveys/ customer feedback.
  • There was no company branding on the package.

 

Now what?…Summary and then some

The five sports equipment ecommerce sites we looked at do the bare minimum around post-purchase customer experience. There are a lot of common bad and ugly practices that they need to improve on such as:

 

The item was not delivered on time (as indicated in the shipping information).

This can be really frustrating especially if I needed the item right away or I had other things to do than wait for the item to be delivered. What’s worse is not notifying me of delays in delivery. To avoid this, properly indicate the expected arrival date in your confirmation emails and on the website.

 

The order confirmation email had no brand personality or tone of voice.

Having unbranded and impersonal confirmation emails is a sure-fire way of raining on the parade of your new customers. With first-time purchases, it is important to not only keep them excited and confident about the purchase but also make them a part of your brand.

 

There was no shipping confirmation email.

Personally, as soon as I receive the order confirmation email, I look forward to getting an email that my order has been shipped. That gets me excited! And I’m pretty sure a lot of online customers feel the same way about receiving their items too.

So why not keep the customers excited that their order is on the way? Be sure to send shipping confirmation emails with useful information such as links to the tracking site or courier company, tracking number, expected delivery date, customer service information and return policies.

 

The order and shipping confirmation emails didn’t include upsells, discounts, social media account links or surveys/ customer feedback.

Tempt your customers back to your site but do it subtly. Including a call-to-action (CTA) in your confirmation email to continue shopping is an outright hard-sell and might not be a good time right after your customers have made a purchase. Instead, focus on micro-conversions like asking them to follow you on social media or asking for reviews. You can cross sell products but do it it a nice subtle way without being too pushy by adding a ‘you might also like’ recommendation section. Additionally, use discounts and promotions sparingly as this can negatively affect your company’s integrity.

 

Poor and boring copy on the confirmation emails.

Creating good copy that reflects your brand tone of voice and shares your customers happiness and excitement can reassure them that they made a good decision of buying from you. Include some nice visuals and give them a glimpse of your brand’s humor, these can go a long way to get them in the habit of opening your future emails.

 

No company name on the package.

Really? Please put your company name on the package as your customers might not be keen on guessing where the package was from.

Again, really?

 

No company branding on the package.

Gone were the days where shipping and packaging was simply a way for your customers to receive an item ordered online. Today, more and more companies are considering shipping, packaging and presentation to all be part of the post-purchase customer experience. For these companies, it is an effective way to differentiate themselves from the competition and a way to deliver an experience on top of the product. So why not impress your customers and exceed their expectations by providing them a memorable unboxing experience that reflects your overall brand experience.

 

No thank you note inside the package.

Although you have already said thank you in the order confirmation email, it won’t do any harm if you have another thank you note inserted in the package. You customers would appreciate (I know, I would) that over having just the item invoice and return & exchange form inside the package. This thoughtful gesture can be effective in building customer loyalty.

 

No return information or return form inside the package.

Having the return information or return form inside the package doesn’t mean that you’re encouraging your customers to return the products. Offering free and convenient returns is actually a good way to persuade first-time customers to buy again. How? If customers know they can return items easily if they change their minds, there are high chances they will buy from you again. It all comes down to making it easy for your customers.

 

Surely, ecommerce businesses can do better than this?

 

Do sweat the small stuff… because they matter

Giving proper attention to the little details that matter to your customers can transform your business from good to great. If you’re interested in a digital strategy that considers all aspects of the marketing mix for your product, give us a call today at +64 9 9201740 to discuss how you can deliver amazing customer experience. You can also quickly fill out the form at the bottom of this page and someone from our team will contact you.

 

 

Sports Equipment Checkout Usability Report CTA