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Jim Agger
 
March 11, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping | Jim Agger

Ecommerce Customer Experience Doesn't End When the Order is Placed

It's easy to think that as soon as you process an online order and ship it from your wine warehouse, it isn't your responsibility anymore. However, this couldn't be further from the truth because there a number of things that could go wrong before shipments reach customers. Competitive wine shipping can make or break new clients' perception of your brand. 

This is very apparent when people are purchasing holiday gifts for a family member or loved one, and packages don't arrive on time. Through difficult weather in December, many major carriers experienced delays that impacted holiday purchases. In addition, 1-800-Flowers failed to deliver candy and flowers for many customers on time for Valentine's Day, according to Multichannel Merchant. These issues can easily prevent a first-time customer from ever shopping from your online wine store again. To compound matters further, during some of these peak times, retailers didn't even answer their phone lines when clients called to complain about the poor service. 

Ecommerce fulfillment is clearly a competitive differentiator. As customers continue to express a preference for shopping online, they have higher demands and expectations for deliveries. For omnichannel retailers to succeed in the future, they will need to extend thorough customer service from the time shoppers first access their sites until items are delivered. 

How to improve shipping wine for better service
Online retailers that have gained the best results are those that offer high-quality fulfillment options to their customers. You don't need to deliver wine with drones to see more online wine sales! You don't need to stress about competing with vendors that can offer free shipping. The following tips can help guide your ecommerce fulfillment strategy to better serve customers:

1. Implement real-time wine inventory software
Breaking down silos between channels can improve order processing and shipping, a separate article for Multichannel Merchant said. All winery enterprise systems need to be integrated to avoided shortages or errors. Real-time visibility can prevent orders from slipping through the cracks. 

2. Create shipping fee transparency
Have you ever tried to buy something for a bargain online and had the shipping costs come out to almost as much as the total? This is one of the most common causes of shopping cart abandonment, Ecommerce Times said, citing a survey from Pitney Bowes. Nearly half of online shoppers will ditch a purchase for solely this reason. Product price points aren't always a good indication of shipping costs. You can consider giving shipping estimates as customers add items to their carts.

3. Assess your fulfillment strategy
California wineries may struggle to offer the same delivery to customers on the East Coast. It may be a good idea to assess fulfillment locations to provide a more consistent experience. Operating from a warehouse closer to a large customer base can reduce delivery costs, Multichannel Merchant stated. 

4. Provide as much information as possible
Shoppers can grow frustrated simply from not knowing the status of their orders. Smaller retailers often neglect to give customers tracking numbers for their orders, according to Ecommerce Times. Clients may end up contacting customer support, and this can create more work for agents, especially when deliveries are on schedule. Giving shoppers this information during the transaction can cut down on these support requests.

5. Offer great customer service
In the event that something goes wrong with an order, having staff on hand to field customer complaints can go a long way toward building a lasting relationship. Even informing shoppers in advance that there will a delay can prevent dissatisfaction and frustration. 

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