E-business succeeds or fails on fulfilment - or, delivering the goods.
For the customer, delivery is the riskiest part of online shopping:
- they're unsure if or when they'll receive their goods
- they are worried about receiving goods later than they expect
- they are unwilling to pay for delivery and returns.
Good customer service, combined with an attractive delivery policy, should reassure your customers. Do it well, and your business stands out from the competition.
- Put your fulfilment policy on your website, clearly visible, and stick to it without fail.
- Keep customers updated about their order. Contact them promptly if there'll be any delay.
- State realistic timescales for delivery, from the start, to avoid disappointment or anxiety.
- Shipping options - present them clearly, as many as you can. Consider using a service that allows your customer to track their order's shipping status. You might send all orders by signed delivery. A signed delivery receipt reassures you that the goods have been received and can also help defend against potentially fraudulent claims.
- Consider free delivery or free next-day delivery and returns to set you apart from the competition. One of the biggest disadvantages of online shopping over traditional retail stores is this extra charge, which does deter some customers.
- Make it clear to customers they can send goods back (and make it easy for them by having a lenient refund policy) and they'll be more likely to make a purchase in the first place.
- Keep your stocks up! If you haven't got the product they want in stock - and if your website doesn't make that clear, quickly - customers may never come back to you. It's common sense, but it's better to have too much stock than risk running out.