In this session Krish Iyer, Head of Industry Relations and Strategic Partnerships at Shipstation, shares his best practises for managing the peak retail season and beyond.
You will learn:
Why as a retailer planning everything from staffing to delivery must be done now
How it’s more important than ever to overcommunicate the delivery promise
Why it’s vital to use the right tools to help you meet changing demand
How an improved returns policy will give your customers an experience they’ll remember
Merchants’ own advice on new tactics you can adopt
Managing consumer expectation and experience around delivery and returns is going to be more important than ever for retailers this peak season and beyond, according to Krish Iyer, head of industry relations and strategic partnerships at Shipstation.
Speaking at Linn Academy 2020, he said research by Shipstation showed that 55% of consumers are doing more online shopping because of COVID-19, leading to challenges in supply chain constraints and resource shortages.
Almost 70% of consumers said Covid-19 had lowered their expectations around delivery speed, with half having experienced a delay or cancellation due to the pandemic, and nearly all (94%) saying that they wanted to see information about potential delays on a retailer’s website.
Communication is critical to maintaining the customer experience.
This means that communication is key – and the delivery promise needs to be clearly explained early in the buying process, according to Iyer. “Your consumer is expecting overcommunication during this time. My recommendation is sell your products multichannel – using various carriers and multiple selling channels - but in addition communicate that delivery promise a lot more up front, both in the listing itself, in the checkout and post checkout as well.”
Consumer awareness around delivery delays, as well as inventory and product availability concerns, has meant 78% of consumers started to shop earlier than normal due to the pandemic, according to Iyer, with around a quarter starting holiday shopping as early as August. Retailers need to respond by using the right tools to model their inventory plans and create scenarios for that increased demand through both the Christmas and returns season, he said.
Returns policies are important too
58% of consumers are expecting longer returns windows, as well as greater flexibility. With 67% saying they are less likely to go in person to complete a return due to COVID-19 the use of online shopping tools that help in that return are also vital, explained Iyer. He said online returns need to be simple and free.
Ultimately, consumers will remember how they feel and the experience that retailers give them this peak season –and being able to react positively and create a memorable experience around delivery for the right reason will be key.