When you start trading from your online shop, it is very easy to think that bigger internet retailers such as Amazon can provide a better experience in terms of delivery times and thus, have the ‘upper hand’. This is true, as they can indeed have orders shipped the same day where you might not yet have the facilities and logistics to be able to do so, but as a smaller business you too have an upper hand of your own and this can and should be used to your advantage. Bigger companies can provide faster delivery times, but as they’re trading on such a large scale, it’s easy for their experience to be less personable, and this is where being a smaller trader can definitely work in your favour.
You might not be able to provide tracking on your packages yet – but even if this is not possible – you still need to ensure that your customers receive an email confirmation when their order is placed and a second one when it has been dispatched. This communication reassures the customer that their goods are on the way and they should be with them soon. If for whatever reason, there’s any kind of delay, it is your responsibility to tell your customer in the first possible instance. Customers who have had issues communicated to them well are a lot more understanding than those who have had to make contact with you to complain about their products not arriving.
You can also update customers as a group by using your own social media – something that many smaller companies do with a lot of success. A simple Instagram story of the packaged items (with all address labels hidden to protect their privacy of course) demonstrates that orders are being prepared to be shipped and is even a demonstration of your own popularity. Providing updates like this will also encourage more followers – both existing customers and new ones.
When the customer has waited patiently for their order to arrive, the final step of your customer experience comes into play as the kind of packaging that you use can make or break a customer’s impression of your brand and your company. Selling online is not like selling on an auction site – on an online shop, products are regarded as brand new, and their packaging should reflect this.
As you are still building and populating your online shop, it is essential that you also source some packaging to ship your orders out in. If you can’t afford to have your packaging branded from the outset, you could begin by using branded stickers on your packaging and then graduate to branded tissue paper, boxes and envelopes as your shop gains popularity. Suppliers such as NoIssue are a fantastic resource from branded tissue paper used to pad out the boxes, whilst Pack Help can supply the boxes themselves.
If you’re already an EKM online shop customer, EKM Packaging Slips is a solution for you too, as you can print each invoice out directly onto the address label and attach this to your packaged order. Available in two sizes, you can access EKM Packaging Slips directly from the Print window of the Orders page. Printed labels look a lot more professional than handwritten versions, and take a lot less time to process.
It also doesn’t hurt to add in a free gift of sorts, but only include this if it’s something beneficial – if you’re really just getting rid of excess stock by using it as a ‘free gift’, this can be obvious to your customer – try and make sure that the free gift is something relevant to the product that they’ve ordered.
Branded packaging – when it is received by your customer – really improves the customer’s experience of shopping with you and further establishes your brand, encouraging them to shop with you again. Ultimately, you have one chance to prove yourself as a brand with that first order and win a customer for life by providing a professional, personable service from the outset.