E-commerce: difficulties in the post-purchase stage
Digital Marketing Consultant
In our May 28 blog post, we wrote about broken customer journeys in e-commerce with a particular focus on the hurdles in the awareness, consideration and purchase stage of the customer journey.
In today’s article, we will dive into the difficulties e-comm stores are experiencing in the post-purchase stage, in particular the millennial’s desire for instant gratification (read: consumption) and his or her expectation to return unwanted or unfitting goods free of charge.
We want it NOW. And if we don’t like it, we want to return it for free.
A major challenge for e-commerce is the customers’ desire for instant consumption. In the good old days, one could walk into a store, grab an item, pay for it and instantly consume it. Nowadays, when you order online, albeit convenient, you will have to wait for its delivery. Companies are making increasingly aggressive promises and in today’s e-commerce landscape, same-day delivery has become the norm, in many cases even co-existing with a “money-back guarantee” and free returning option. This, although convenient for the customer, is a nightmare for every e-commerce store, big and small.
Drone delivery to exceed customer expectations
One way to meet same-day delivery that not only meets but far exceeds customer expectations, is drone delivery. A 2019 study in the U.S. indicates that consumers are willing to pay an additional $10 for such a delivery. Drones are in full development and it is certainly premature for larger organizations to make drone delivery the norm, but there is undoubtedly potential for smaller companies to set themselves apart this way and for large companies to position themselves as pioneers by embracing this technology in pilot projects.
The money-back guarantee nightmare
The money-back guarantee is a more complicated issue. Especially in fashion, this is problematic. There are two main reasons customers want a money-back guarantee: on the one hand there are people selecting an incorrect size and they want a free return; on the other hand, there are people who try to exploit the system by ordering clothes online, using them for a party, and returning them the next day (it’s called wardrobing).
Most companies try to address the first problem with size charts. However, everyone who has ever bought online knows what a convoluted process that is. It’s nowhere near an in-store experience. A way to take it to the next level, is to augment your website with a virtual showroom where you can instantly speak to a store merchant. He/She can see your body shape through video-chat and will be able to provide much better advice and assist you in selecting the right size. We should not underestimate the time it takes, but once a customer has been taken through this process, the sizes will not have to be retaken the next time and we acquire a happy and returning customer.
The wardrobing phenomenon is prompting companies around the world to become creative. Several companies have already equipped their apparel with huge stickers that, when removed, make the apparel non-returnable. Others are keeping tabs of people who are frequently returning and blacklist them for future returns.
E-commerce has been on the rise for years and it looks like it will keep rising. It is very important for companies to shift their business model around this relatively new trend and to keep adapting their business model as they move through higher stages of saturation. Every time a business model changes, the primary focus should be on the customer journey.
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