Top tactics to up your order fulfillment game

Going above and beyond your customers’ expectations when it comes to order fulfillment is a critical part of the eCommerce customer experience. Smart eCommerce operators ensure that customers are taken care of even after the merchandise lands in their hands. The extra mile you go here can also add to your brand perception and contribute to the development of customer advocates. Here are five examples of ways you can wow customers when you ship their orders.

1. Everyone loves free stuff

Do you have a new product you want your customers to experience? Include samples in their next shipment. It’s a great way to surprise your customers, gain feedback and encourage customers to buy the product after they try it. To increase the chances of converting customers, however, provide the samples only with complementary products.

For example, last year I bought a cell phone clutch on Amazon and I was pleased to learn that the seller included a free phone charm with every shipment. When the product arrived, the charm looked even better in person. I wanted to use it. Thereafter, whenever I need a new phone accessory, I make sure to check with this seller first.


Giving customers free samples can create repeat customers

Additionally, when people asked me about the charm on to my phone, I always referred them to that particular seller on Amazon.

Throwing in a little extra in your shipments can go a long way both in customer retention and word-of-mouth referrals.

2. Deliver your goods in statement packaging

Having a custom-made box for your store is a good way to stand out, and also helps with branding. It’s a simple tactic that can make a long-lasting impression on your customers.

Take Bonobos, for example, a popular mens’ apparel brand based in New York City. Now thelargest apparel brandin the US launched entirely via the Internet, Bonobos delivers on simple but eye-catching packaging that reflects their brand’s cool and stylish vibe. The boxes are minimal and masculine, but the clever part is the “handle” that’s on the box, making it look like a briefcase. It’s a smart way to create buzz, and makes the customer feel like they’re receiving something pretty special.


Bonobos’ packaging is effortlessly stylish.

3. Cheer up unhappy customers with a bonus gift

Did a customer have an unpleasant experience with your company? Turn that opinion around when you ship their items. Upgrade the shipping method or throw in a free sample.

I helped fund iLIDmk-1, a thin iPhone wallet, on Kickstarter a few years ago. While the project was funded successfully, there was a delay with the shipment of the product to customers, including me.

However, the company made it up to me, without my having to reach out or complain. When my package finally arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see two iPhone cases instead of just the one that I ordered, together with a note apologizing for the delay. I appreciated the gesture. It made me feel better about the company and demonstrated that they cared.

4. Add a personal touch

A personalized, hand-written note is a nice touch that will make you more memorable to the customer. If you have previously spoken with the customer, then reference your previous conversations in the note. For instance, did you assist them in choosing a product? Mention that in your message. Are they a returning customer? Tell them how happy you are to have such loyal patrons.

5. Play around with shipping offers

Consumers love free shipping. It’s an effective incentive that can drive conversions and keep your best customers coming back.

This isn’t to say, however, that you should offer free shipping to every customer. Examine customer profiles to see which ones would be worth sending a shipping coupon to. Only select those who shop regularly. Those customers would appreciate it the most, and they would be the ones who would actually use it.

It doesn’t have to be free shipping every time. If you can’t waive shipping costs altogether, why not offer a discount? Give customers a complimentary upgrade from 2-day shipping to overnight or something similar.

Putting the “personal” in personalization

Personalizing order fulfillment can take time and money. But it can pay off when executed correctly. If you’re on a limited budget, test out these strategies on a small group of customers and see how they work.

Not all personalization strategies are right for every customer. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to offer free or reduced shipping to customers who spend less than $10 per order or only purchase items occasionally. It’s also best to segment customers by how active they are, how much they spend, or when their last purchase was. Importantly, apply the personalization methods only if it makes sense for your customers and your business.

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