A courier partnership means partnering with one or two courier companies to deliver your products, while courier solutions is a centralized hub of couriers that finds the most competitive rate to deliver your product. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches and making the right choice can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Just because a purchase has been successful doesn’t mean your responsibilities as an ecommerce business are finished. Regardless of who you select as your courier company, your customers will still associate service delivery with your brand, so it's vital that you maintain communications with them until their journey is complete.
Your first communication to your customer does not happen through an email, but rather through how your online store appears to your customer. A poorly designed website will immediately dissuade your customers from making a purchase as there is always the fear that a ecommerce store might be a scam.
Make sure your user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is at a professional level. UI describes the visual appearance of your site, the graphics, the colour scheme and branding. UX describes the layout of your site, how users interact with buttons, how they move from one page to another, and most importantly, how they select their product and checkout.
Designing Your Purchase Email Sequence
Your business should invest in a comprehensive automated email sequence that updates your customer on where their product is in the delivery process (You shouldn’t worry about over-communication here). Many ecommerce platforms and courier services offer some sort of communication process, but we also recommend signing up for Mailchimp or a similar service and integrating it with your website.
Typically, this sequence will consist of the following:
A payment email to indicate that your customer’s purchase has been successful, accompanied by an invoice or receipt
A confirmation email that assures your customer that their purchase has been allocated to a stock item and that their delivery is being prepared
An ‘It’s on its way’ mail to let your customer know that their purchase has been handed over to the courier. Ideally, this mail will include a tracking number that your customer can use to track their delivery.
An ‘It’s arrived’ confirmation mail to show that your business and the courier company is in-sync, which can also include a link to provide a review for your business
Whether you’re all in with your ecommerce business or using it for passive income, responding to support emails in a timely manner is vital.
Failure to communicate when your customer reaches out to you is at best going to get you a bad review and at worst, a refund request. If you can’t respond at all hours of the day, make sure you have an automated email response explaining the timeframe in which they can expect you to reply.
Refunds and Returns
Your refunds and returns policy needs to be clear on your site so that your customers have the opportunity to review what they’re engaging in. You’ll also need to be aware of South African laws such as the Consumer Protection Act, and know your responsibilities in line with them.
Unless your product is an expectation to the respective laws, you’ll most likely be obligated to offer a return system. It’s vital that you understand the logistics costs involved with returns and understand how that cost will affect your bottom line.
To find out more about how to select and operate your product delivery process, checkout our ebook, Couriers, Costs, and Ecommerce