Online shopping scaled heights during the pandemic with lockdowns and uncertainty driving millions of Australians to buy online. This forced retailers to adapt, rethink, and innovate across every single touch point with last mile being crucial.

However, a lot can go wrong during the post-purchase experience including late deliveries, lost parcels and incomprehensible tracking. Yet, this stage of the online shopping journey is most likely to be outsourced to third parties. Many organisations invest in personalised digital advertising and frictionless checkout experiences, only to outsource the tracking experience to carrier services.

Providing self-service tracking on your website or using a branded portal can anticipate tracking queries and reduce costly customer contact. Self-service tracking can cut ‘where is my order?’ contact by as much as 35%. ShipStation automates tracking emails with merchant branding, including a hyperlink tracking number which will take them to a branded tracking page.

Bad post-purchase experience leads to lost opportunity for loyalty

ShipStation recently commissioned global research to understand what drivers effect buyer’s post-purchase experiences. The survey found that more than one-third (37%) of shoppers would simply stop shopping with a retailer after a bad experience. Even more alarming, two-thirds (67%) of shoppers said they would be less likely to shop with a retailer after hearing that someone they know had a bad experience with them.

The most common reasons for a bad post-purchase experience were late delivery (57%), missing delivery (38%), unable to track delivery (32%), needed to pay for returns (23%) and couldn’t understand tracking (12%). This highlights the importance of the last mile, and the areas merchants can influence to improve the customer experience.

The research also showed that the tracking method customers prefer is via a retailer’s website (47%), ahead of email (24%), text message (15%), customer service (10%) and chat bot (4%).

As consumers wait for their online order to arrive, being able to follow its progress in real-time leaves them feeling informed and in control, with almost all shoppers (94%) saying the ability to track their order is ‘important’, of which 54% say it’s ‘very important’.

Delivery options including the carrier make an impact

Conversely, not being able to track a parcel is a major reason for shoppers having a negative experience. Close to one-third (32%) say poor tracking played a role in their bad experience. The only factors that scored higher were late and missing parcels.

Another make-or-break factor throughout the post-purchase experience is delivery promise. Almost nine in 10 (88%) of shoppers say that a range of delivery options is ‘important’, of which 39% say it is ‘very important’. Further, 70% of shoppers say they notice the carrier assigned to deliver their order and it has ‘an impact’ on their experience. Of these, 19% say the carrier has ‘a strong impact’.

ShipStation gives merchants the ability to diversify carrier portfolio with an expansive local and global courier network.

ShipStation merchants reinforce importance of optimisation

Shopify head of partnerships – Asia Pacific, Rhys Furner believes transparent and accurate tracking is critical to creating a positive online shopping experience for consumers. “With peak season fast approaching, now is the time merchants should start optimising all elements of the customer journey, including establishing multiple freight options and parcel tracking with shipping technology providers,” he said.

According to Yotpo head of sales, Enzo Cavaliero, as ecommerce continues to grow, brands are tasked with staying relevant and up to date in an exceedingly competitive online landscape. “By leveraging existing loyalty customers’ feedback and incentivising brand engagement, brands can create emotional connections and sustain brand loyalty virtually,” he said.

“Yotpo’s research on ecommerce stores found that 94% of purchases are for products with 4- or 5-star reviews. This shows how much trust consumers put in the word of their fellow shoppers. How do you get more positive reviews? Offer points to your happy loyalty program members in exchange for their feedback. User-generated content (UGC), like written reviews, photos and videos, boosts brand trust and, ultimately, sales,” he added.

Try ShipStation today to optimise the last mile in your end-to-end customer experience.