Customer experience doesn’t end once an online shopper hits ‘purchase’. So why do so many companies hand post-purchase delivery communication over to their logistics partner, asks Julia Henry, Post-Purchase Manager at parcelLab?

Although long regarded as the ‘boring’ part of the sales process, the delivery phase is actually an excellent way of maintaining customer engagement. Yet many companies pass this important element of the customer journey over to a courier company.

Now you may think that’s a smart move, as they are logistics experts. That’s correct, but they are not communications experts – and particularly when it comes to your brand. What’s more, the post-purchase process is actually a free marketing channel.

This means that it’s a better idea to let your delivery partner do what they do best: deliveries. Take ownership of post-purchase communications yourself. When you hand this over to them, which many companies do, you’re actually giving them a free marketing channel. That’s essentially what they are using when they’re sending ‘parcel update’ logistics emails to your customers. These messages reinforce faith in their brand to deliver your products; they enhance the courier’s customer experience, not yours.

Time to take charge

It’s no secret that customer experience is a massive retail buzzword right now. However, when research shows that 87% of customers believe brands need to put more effort into getting it right, improving it becomes an economic imperative. The post-purchase phase is a crucial part of the customer experience. It’s an opportunity for you to go the extra mile. So why do so many brands use it as an opportunity simply to get ‘How Did We Do?’ feedback when they could be re-engaging customers with other offers and more?

If you take charge of delivery communications, you can rebrand them and send personalised emails to each of your customers. Messages like these give you an additional opportunity to showcase your brand personality (no pre-programmed chatbot required), send related information to your customers about upcoming offers and events, and give them a greater sense of, well, community. By keeping them informed about their delivery, you demonstrate that your company doesn’t just ‘sell’; it ‘cares’ and openly takes responsibility for the entire purchase cycle.

Own the experience

Consumers put their trust in brands. That trust is underpinned by everything from product quality to company values and needs to be reflected in every single interaction – across each on- and offline touchpoint throughout the customer journey. By incorporating delivery communications into your wider marketing mix, your brand can ‘own’ the final part of the customer experience process and start generating brand equity.

The customer experience doesn’t end once you’ve made a sale, but when the purchased item is safely in the hands of the shopper, and they are happy with it. Handled correctly, post-purchase communications can both complement your other customer experience efforts and prolong customer engagement. And it all starts with looking at ‘delivery’ differently.

Julia Henry is Post-Purchase Manager at parcelLab.

Originally published RetailNext | 22 October 2018