An empowered customer has a lot of ramifications throughout the supply chain. When that customer has the ability to demand greater customization in exchange for loyalty—or even for the sake of a lone order—efficiency and accuracy become crucial. Your customer-facing assets should go hand-in-hand with your delivery capabilities, and that means building a successful ecommerce experience and pairing it with the right shipping solutions. However, with the amount of how-to guides and self-advice out there, determining where to start can be something of an uphill battle: here are a few shortcuts.
Customization Visibility Shouldn't Be a Struggle
Even if your customization is comprehensive, if users cannot find or reach customization menus with ease, you're missing the mark. The restrictions now facing organic reach on Facebook, for example, has made an untethered microsite a tempting alternative to many big-name advertisers. Essentially, if you have to fight to get to your customers, you're expending energy that should be going into your message, and they're far less primed to pay attention. Microsites neatly solve that volume/reach issue while promoting creativity. Just look at e-commerce giant Amazon's mobile-first strategy as a template for other businesses. With 50% or more of your customers flowing in from mobile sources, you simply can't afford to consider implementing responsive mobile navigation and display as an afterthought.
Shipping Is Still Part of the Experience
The excitement of finding and purchasing a product isn't the end of the line for a customer; they've still got your brand on the brain until they're holding the package and opening it to discover the contents. Your shipping solutions shouldn't be seen as a means to an end, but rather an extension of the brand experience you're trying to promote. Do your packing materials feature any branding? What is the first thing a customer sees when he or she opens their package? Think of your shipment behaviors as a race car. Yes, it's important in both cases that they travel quickly and keep their inner contents safe, but the design and showmanship of the entire package are what makes them memorable. If you haven't added "racing stripes"—branded tape, package stickers, custom invoices inside the box, etc.—you've got an excellent opportunity to drive home brand recognition in your hands.
Respect the Bias of Your Voice
If someone were to ask you who makes your type of products best, there's a pretty solid assurance you won't name a competitor. You're brand-steeped and brand loyal, and while that's a good thing for your company, it doesn't hold much weight for the consumer. Those shopping on ecommerce platforms consider reviews to be one of the larger perks of skipping the brick-and-mortar experience. They want to hear from unbiased fellow consumers when they're considering one choice over another. A smart company gives would-be reviewers a space in the spotlight, using, as Susannah Morris points out for BigCommerce, their experiences as free content and suggestion engines. Also bought/also viewed mechanisms give indecisive customers an alluringly organic path to follow, rather than bouncing off your site. Have a wealth of honest reviews waiting for them at the end of that path and you're golden.
Your shipping solutions and website performance shouldn't be a check box on a to-do list; they should be treated as fluctuating and adaptable moving parts in a successful commerce engine. Your customer is expecting a lot out of you because your competitors are constantly striving to outdo what you already have in place. Don't give their eyes a reason to wander—make sure they can reach you easily, get what they need, and continue to stay impressed long after the box is on the truck.