In the first two parts of our blog series on developing an ecommerce strategy, we talked about how furniture retailers can succeed in the Discovery and Understanding phases of the path to purchase. In this final installment, we’ll talk about the Fulfillment stage.
The purchase does not end when the cash register closes
Retailers who put less focus on the post-purchase experience do so at their peril. In furniture retail, we’re already well aware of this since a nick or scratch discovered by a customer in their living room can lead to a costly return.
Keeping return rates low is one thing; however, even in a business like furniture where purchases can be spread out over years, a very good or very bad experience will stick with customers.
In an increasingly competitive furniture retail space, legacy furniture retailers can use their advantages to deliver an excellent post-purchase experience, which will improve your chances to earn that customer’s business next time.
Here are some areas to focus on in your ecommerce strategy that will help keep your customers loyal.
Set the shopper up for success before the sale
As a shopper approaches checkout, retailers should start thinking about how to ensure customer expectations are met after clicking the “Order Now” button. Not only will this improve the customer’s post-purchase experience, it will likely improve order conversion rate by making shoppers more confident in their buying decision.
- Provide precise delivery dates on the product page and/or in the checkout process. In a world where fast delivery is increasingly the norm, it’s critical to give shoppers an accurate date when they can expect to receive delivery.
- Tell shoppers what to expect on delivery day. Whether you define it as “white glove” delivery service or something else, ensure shoppers it will be a great experience (and if you’re not confident it will be a great experience, fix this first!)
- Offer in-store pickup as an additional fulfillment option for shoppers who find it convenient.
Blueport retailers pull accurate delivery dates from their back end systems and provide them on the product page, while also offering visibility into which stores the specific product can be seen.
Stay in touch before delivery day
Once the order is complete, furniture retailers have to manage a longer time-to-delivery than most retailers due to special orders. This time period can be anxiety-producing for antsy customers. Here are some ways that retailers can help ensure that time flies until the delivery arrives.
- In the order confirmation emails, provide specific details for each product in the order if the delivery details are different. For retailers on our platform with drop ship programs, Blueport provides separate delivery information for each product to better manage customer expectations.
- Provide regular updates on delivery date or date changes via email, outbound phone reps, or SMS messages.
- Be proactive but also be accessible; make it easy for customers to contact you via live chat, social channels, and call centers.
Check in after the delivery
After delivery, get customers started on a smooth path to their next purchase.
- Ask for feedback via emails, surveys and social channels in order to proactively respond to issues but also to get kudos for your delivery teams.
- Solicit product reviews for your website to help boost organic search rankings and improve customer conversion. Blueport has found that the presence of product reviews, both good and bad, improves revenue per product view.
We made it to the end of the purchase path! We hope this series of blog entries has helped identify areas on the path to purchase where you can make improvements to increase sales and customer satisfaction. The Blueport platform enables furniture retailers to deliver the optimum shopping experience that we’ve outlined here. If you’re looking to upgrade your ecommerce website, contact us today.