Given the massive impact of coronavirus in the world of retail, it comes as no surprise that discount chain Poundland is planning to trial a new online delivery service next year as part of its ‘biggest ever transformation’. We’ve seen first-hand how important online delivery has been for consumers over the last few months and this ecommerce boom is set to continue. I expect other retailers who don’t currently have an ecommerce offering will soon follow suit as they adapt to the “new normal”.

But for a budget retailer like Poundland making its first move towards online delivery, there begs a question around how it can actually make money and ensure its ecommerce debut is a success. It will all come down to creating an exceptional customer experience. In the age of customer centricity, the customer is always the top priority and the most successful bricks and clicks retailers are creating seamless branded experiences that start from checkout and carry on right through to returns.

As more and more retailers move closer to an all-digital business model, a recent Nuxeo report found that 63% of UK shoppers would be more loyal to a retailer that offers exceptional customer experience – important elements of which were cited as good value and reliable delivery services.

When it comes to running an ecommerce website, the customer journey does not stop at the point of purchase. How customers are treated during the shipping process directly affects their impression of the retailer. Many retailers still haven’t woken up to the full potential of the post-purchase experience so, for Poundland breaking into this new market, this presents a golden chance to steal a march on its ecommerce rivals. Proactive post-purchase comms can give customers the ‘Amazon-like’ experience they all crave, which not only makes them feel engaged with a brand but they are more likely to become long-term loyal customers.

Beyond simply offering product tracking details, post-purchase comms allows retailers to guide customers through the shipping process with regular personalised messages, while keeping a close check on the delivery to pre-empt any issues by giving shoppers advanced warning. This post-purchase phase, which is a whole new world for traditional retailers, also maintains engagement with customers, allowing brand reinforcement. It also presents the opportunity to share offers with customers and suggest complementary purchases, boosting both awareness and sales. And given the low price point products that Poundland sells, using this channel to cross-sell items will be more crucial than ever. 

Whether online or offline, the trick to creating the best multi-channel retail experiences comes down to consistent and personalised communication to build brand loyalty and create long-term customers. Poundland might sell cheap products but for its online delivery trial to be a success, the real differentiator needs to be a first-class post-purchase experience.

By Katharine Biggs, Content & Marketing Manager at parcelLab

Photo by Steve Smith on Unsplash