Economies across the globe finally have some hope again as governments ease up on lockdowns and quarantine protocols.
Meanwhile, even though many businesses went online in a bid to survive, they too fell prey to supply chain issues and diminishing inventory, leading to a decline in sales for their products.
Organizations are finally rising to the fact that they can only be profitable if they keep pace and satisfy the rising demands of their customers, and unfortunately, that makes logistics a significant pain point for them.
Reports show that more than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies have dedicated warehousing, distribution, and transportation management solutions at their beck and call.
But small businesses can’t often afford to build private logistics solutions. So entrepreneurs have to think strategically and work with fulfillment centers that can handle deliveries and keep buyers happy.
This partnership can help businesses grow customer loyalty and retain business by ensuring reliable fulfillment of customer orders.
Customer Loyalty Drives Your Business
On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
However, in a post-COVID-19 world, your customers will harbor doubts about ordering online, especially if they have no previous experience of buying from you. It can be hard to win their trust, especially with gimmicky sales propositions that try to benefit from the situation.
So instead of being too salesy, focus on becoming a customer-centric business – that’s the only way you’ll ever have any chance of surviving the current economic climate.
That said, once you secure their trust and loyalty, it’s smooth sailing from there – and you can achieve this by ensuring reliable fulfillment because it’s no secret that about 50% of loyal customers switch to a competitor who can fulfill their needs.
Reliable Fulfillment Can Turn Prospects Into Repeat Customers
You only get a limited number of opportunities to prove your reliability to customers. And the good news is that they are even willing to pay more for better customer experience and fast, reliable delivery.
Accurate and timely fulfillment of orders is vital to ensuring satisfied customers and encouraging them to become repeat buyers.
1. On-Time Delivery
54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago.
Your prospects are fickle, and their expectations are always high. 13% of consumers even go as far as to say they would re-order from a retailer whose delivery is late.
They won’t care to hear about delays because they know many other retailers would welcome them.
Therefore, you need to assure customers that your business can satisfy their needs in ANY situation – and fulfill orders on time.
Extra fast delivery is no longer an add-on option, especially if you want to inspire customer loyalty. Consult your fulfillment provider to ensure you’ve got the right shipping strategy to meet customer demand – and exceed expectations.
2. Handle Supply Chain Issues Effectively
A company with a strong reputation for order fulfillment will know how to combat warehouse management and logistics issues.
But given today’s circumstances, your business is not only dealing with increasing shipping costs and supply chain issues but also short-staffed manufacturing facilities. There’s no doubt that these issues will slow down production and delay deliveries.
It comes down to being transparent about the issues you are facing:
While you are doing your best to ensure fast shipping, adjust your delivery time for expected delays, and inform customers on what they can expect.
When it comes to inventory, update your website to remove out of stock items – and save customers from the disappointment of adding an unavailable product to cart. In a recent survey, 39% of consumers said they abandoned their carts because of unavailable items.
You can couple this with a message that informs customers of when you can restock their favorite items will be restocked, so they know when to come back.
3. Handle Your Shipping Needs
Are you fulfilling orders through in-house or outsourced shipping?
Amazon recently announced it would no longer work with non-essential inventory, and would only ship essential items, such as health and household products. As a result, many retailers and online merchants that relied on Amazon sales to get some orders are now forced to consider alternative solutions.
This is only one of the few instances where you may be facing dispatch issues. Therefore, you should be confident you can responsibly ship products before you start taking on orders.
Finding a reliable fulfillment partner is crucial to ensuring on-time delivery.
Build your website, be your own boss, and work with a reliable fulfillment partner to ensure that your loyal customers never have to go without your products.
4. Offer Order Tracking
For many online buyers, the best part about shopping remotely is the anticipation of receiving your package!
It’s no wonder that they watch their doorsteps, and stay alert for the doorbell until their order arrives.
While this can be exciting, it can also frustrate others who fear their package may never appear, even if it’s just a day or two late. They start calling your business, or the courier company in hopes of figuring out how long they’ll have to wait.
With the right order fulfillment partners by your side, that’s never an issue.
You can assure customers their products will reach them safely by enabling real-time order tracking and keeping them up to date – thus, removing any anxiety from your order process and ensuring happy, well-informed customers.
Communicating delivery times and delays enables customers to make arrangements to receive their packages securely. Therefore, even when there are delays, your customers know exactly where the parcel is in the order process and won’t have to endure long periods of stress.
5. Exceed Customers’ Expectations
Almost 50% of consumers say brands don’t meet their expectations.
Go the extra mile to reinforce your customer-centric approach.
You can do this by offering free shipping on orders that exceed a certain threshold, or send a signature product as a gift for their business. 75% of consumers say they favor stores that offer rewards.
Knowing your customers and anticipating their needs, especially during a time like this, will drive customer loyalty.
6. Encourage Repeat Purchases
Given the positive experience they’ve had with their order fulfillment, they are more likely to buy again! In fact, 61% of SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) report that over 50% of their revenue is generated from repeat customers.
Once the package is delivered, you have a unique window to tap into your customer’s good graces and entice them to order again. It is vital that you leverage this opportunity to market additional products personalized to their needs.
A Returns Policy To Fall Back On
95% of shoppers who are satisfied with a returns policy say they’ll purchase from the same retailer again.
Having a friendly returns policy will assure customers you understand their needs and are willing to facilitate their requests.
Knowing that they can count on you to understand and accommodate them, they’ll be likely to re-order as well as recommend your business to friends and family. 72% of people get news from friends and family.
According to HubSpot research, nine out of ten consumers say they will stop purchasing from a company after they’ve had three poor customer service experiences with them.
Instead of viewing this as a long-term setback, see the situation as an opportunity to build rapport with existing customers and prospects. A reliable fulfillment partner can help you fulfill orders quickly and efficiently so you can keep your buyers satisfied and willing to buy again from you.
Will Schneider is the founder of insightQuote, a match-making service for B2B services, and writes informative posts about fulfillment services at FulfillmentCompanies.net. He is passionate about helping businesses find the right solutions to improve their operations. When not working, Will enjoys coaching youth basketball.
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