Most companies that sell online have big aspirations and great intentions when it comes to the post purchase fulfillment process.  The reality is, this is the part of the customer experience that is the greatest opportunity for you to create separation from your competition.  Customers become loyal customers for a few reasons.  They may like your brand story, they may like a cause your associated with, they may feel your site is very easy to use and find products, they may feel your selection of products fits their personal taste. The biggest missed opportunity is that they should feel their customer experience is exceptional.  So how do we optimize our customer experience to be exceptional?  Here are some tips.

It Starts With Inventory Management

I love watching the TV Show The Profit with Marcus Lemonis.  One of the first things Marcus does when he goes into a new business is he revamps their inventory management system.  There is a lot of valuable insights we can learn from this, you see, without a real time accurate assessment of your inventory and without the ability to analyze your inventory for aging inventory, best selling items, current stock levels and lead time from manufacturers you’re essentially winging it for half your business.  Most retailers avoid inventory management because they think an inventory management system is too expensive and too time consuming to implement.  This is far from the truth.  It can be time consuming for the initial implementation if you don’t have a current system in place, or you’re not organized with your product data, but there are several cloud based SAAS (Software as a Service) inventory management systems with pre-built integrations to popular ecommerce platforms that start as little as $49.00 per month with no setup fees.  The user interface will be simple to use and the basic reporting out of the box is a great start.  It’s okay to start with a basic system, but let’s start somewhere.  Having a great control of your inventory and providing an easy system for your staff to see and fulfill orders will reduce your time to shipping and increase your client satisfaction, leading to more referral customers and an enhanced brand reputation.

It ends With The Details

“The Details”, what the heck does that mean?  It means that your client experience should extend your brand through the product delivery process.  Do you have a branded note in each package?  Are you using your packing slips and invoices as a way to further communicate with your customers?  Every piece of paper, email and even product package is an opportunity to develop a relationship with your customer.  Have you mapped out what you’re trying to accomplish when a customer receives a product other than getting the product?  The retailers that focus on the experience instead of the transaction are seeing higher average customer lifetime values.  It’s easy to acquire new customers, however it’s the repeat customers that drive your profitability as a retailer.

We hope you all have an excellent holiday season selling.

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