Options such as flexible delivery slots, routing to an alternative address, or even environmentally friendly logistics could all be key factors that move your customer to the check-out. So, what are the options with Parcel Connect?
To your customers, how you ship products can be just as important as what you sell. Delivery has become an embedded part of the customer experience in e-commerce, only growing in importance during the pandemic. A satisfying delivery experience not only improves conversion rate, it can boost repeat purchase and customer retention as it provides an overall good customer experience - 54% of shoppers say that are more likely to buy again if they have named-day delivery, for instance1. So what are the options you should be considering when setting up the perfect shipping experience for customers?
Start with delivery tracking and notifications
At the very least, recipients want to be able to track their shipments throughout the delivery journey. They want that warm glow of knowing their goods have been dispatched and are now winging their way across the continent. Real-time, online tracking is evidence that their purchase has been successful. Then comes the pre-delivery notification. As customers get savvy to the supply chain, they know that goods pass through several stage-gates. The pre-delivery SMS or email tells them that their goods are safely in the hands of the courier who will drop them off. This will also be the first time they get to know when delivery is due.
Offer a wide range of delivery location options
Of course, that proposed delivery date might not suit them. They may have other plans and need to push back, ‘Sorry, I’m at a conference on Thursday. Let’s make it Friday’. Or they might prefer to have their package delivered to their workplace, or to that nice neighbor they trust, or their parents. Either way, they’ll want the option of asking for the goods to be delivered to an alternative address. This could even be a local service point like the café they pass on their way home or a locker station. The more flexible your courier can be, the more your customer will like it.
And sometimes there’s a last-minute change of plans. Maybe your Customer got called into the office on their day off. If you can offer them the option of being able to change the drop-off point mid-delivery, you’ll be seen as a retailer worth doing business with again.
Offering alternative delivery options says a lot about your attitude to customer service.
If at first you don’t succeed….
But occasionally, even though your courier has done everything to accommodate your customer’s wishes, they’re simply not around. This is when you need a service that goes the extra mile – or the extra day in this case. Missed deliveries are a fact of life, but the company that returns a 2nd time is much more likely to keep your customer satisfied.
Cash on Delivery is still pretty common
In many parts of Europe, customers prefer to pay for their goods when they receive them. In Germany, for instance, where very rigorous delivery paperwork is required, an invoice is the norm. In others, such as Italy2, Cash on Delivery is considered an important option. To your customer, this is normal practice, and your courier company needs to be able to handle cash or card payments and provide different payment methods.
And then there’s the sustainability issue. As more people move to online shopping, environmentally friendly delivery options have become increasingly important. Being able to offer a ‘GoGreen’ delivery option that offsets greenhouse gases is going to matter more and more as Europe drives towards a Zero Carbon future.
Cost-effective returns and real customer service
Finally, then, your customer has their goods. Mission accomplished? Not quite. First, you’ll need some kind of record. An electronic signature from the customer as proof of delivery – or a timestamp for the drop-off from the courier company is an excellent option - especially if it’s automatically forwarded to you. After all, great service works both ways. Unfortunately, so do transactions. Your customer receives their goods and decides, ‘actually, I’ve changed my mind…”. Happens all the time. So, a logistics network that is geared to return to the customer’s home to collect the unwanted goods, or go to the service point or locker to pick them up, is key to your survival in 21st-century e-commerce. Returned goods have to be handled quickly, efficiently, and, most of all, cost-effectively to reduce the impact on your bottom line.
And sometimes, despite everything you’ve done to keep the customer informed and happy, they still have delivery concerns. Are you going to handle them all yourself, or are you going to partner with a logistics provider who can field your customers’ questions and deal with any delivery issues for you?
So do you want a carrier that ties you into a limited service? Or do you want one that understands all the delivery options your customer expects in 28 countries across Europe, handles the returns and queries – and lets you get on with the business of running your business?
Parcel Connect delivery options at-a-glance:
Customers want certainty. Just where and when their goods will arrive. With Parcel Connect, as soon as their shipment reaches their country, they’ll receive an email or SMS message telling them when their goods will be delivered.
If your customers have a preferred day for delivery (including Saturdays in many major cities) we’ll hold onto their parcel until it’s convenient for them. Especially useful if they’re away on holiday!
If your customer changes their plans, we can change ours. Parcel Connect allows recipients to update their final address mid-delivery, so we can take it to their workplace or another address where they’re staying.
Missed deliveries happen – after all, no one knows where they’re going to be every minute of the day. When they do occur, we’ll automatically give them another chance to receive their goods at a convenient time.
We have over 70,000 service points across 28 countries in Europe including more than 10,000 secure locker stations. We’ll drop-off their parcel at the nearest one, and let them know it’s waiting for them, giving them up to 7 days to go and collect it.
Should your customer wish to return their goods, we’ve made it simple for them – and you. You can create a pre-printed returns label to send with the shipment, so all they have to do is seal the goods, stick on the new label and return it to their nearest service point. In many countries, it can even be collected from the customer’s property.
Allowing your customers to pay in cash or by payment card when they receive their package is another way you can support customers. Payment on delivery means that card details don’t have to be collected online, which for many customers is a big security concern – but you can still make the sale.
An electronic signature is the best way to know your shipment has been delivered successfully. And with Parcel Connect, this will be automatically forwarded to you so there’s no need to chase it up.
Sustainability is a big deal to a lot of people – including DHL. By choosing Parcel Connect’s GoGreen option, your shipment will be delivered – and returned, if necessary – in an eco-friendly way with verified offsetting of greenhouse gases. If you use this service regularly you can gain ‘Green Sender’ accreditation for your business.
In the unlikely event that a customer has a query or a complaint, our team will help to get the issue rectified, quickly, ensuring your customer satisfaction scores stay high.
Knowing where your shipment is on its journey gives you – and your customer - greater peace of mind. Because of the unique way our Parcel Union last-mile providers connect to the Parcel Connect network, we can keep you updated every step of the way.
Parcel Connect includes pick-up from your facility as part of our standard service. But for major shippers with larger volumes going to specific countries, you might want to add in a Direct Injection option too. It can help you speed up transit times and save money by skipping network sorting points – connecting with the Parcel Connect network at the origin or destination country – or somewhere along the way.
Goods containing lithium batteries can be difficult to transport with some carriers. But Parcel Connect has in-depth expertise at handling these and other dangerous goods, so talk to us about how we can help.
Arrange a callback today to speak to one of our e-commerce experts about the best options for you and your business.