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Delivery matters – why it’s never too early to prepare for Black Friday success

November may seem a long way off but, as one of the busiest shopping days of the year, retailers can’t begin preparing for Black Friday soon enough. Each year, millions of people flock to online stores in a bid to bag the best bargains in this pre-Christmas retail bonanza. But, with recent research revealing that convenience and speed of delivery are more important to Black Friday shoppers than deals and discounts, it’s essential that retailers can give customers the delivery experience they want, while managing an uplift in demand. 

This is no small undertaking. Preparation is essential. Retailers must take steps now to ensure their delivery infrastructure is capable of offering the necessary consumer choice in time for Black Friday. 

Creating an ideal delivery experience

Delivery is key to customer satisfaction.  A recent consumer survey found that “free delivery” and “fast delivery” were the top two factors for shoppers when considering making an online purchase.  Convenience is important, too, as seen in the rising use of PUDO (pick up / drop off) delivery options, where shoppers pick up their purchases – and drop off returned items – from dedicated lockers or pick-up points. Retailers must take trends like these into consideration when preparing for Black Friday this year. 

Here, then, are five tips for creating a delivery experience fit for the peak shopping season:

 Give customers the delivery options they want: some shoppers expect next-day deliveries to their front door, while others would prefer to pick up their parcel from a locker or pick-up point. Retailers must prioritise personalization and give shoppers the shipping solutions they seek. 

 Make delivery options clearly identifiable: the inclusion of badges and labels for different options makes it easier for shoppers to find what they want at checkout.Adding an image of a locker next to a shipping choice, for instance, highlights that it’s a PUDO option. 

 Create opportunities for remarketing: taking control of order-tracking and delivery updates allows retailers to ensure all communications use their own branding. This can increase loyalty and help make customers more open to remarketing opportunities.

4 – Retain revenue from returns: almost a third of Black Friday purchases risk being returned, each costing retailers an average of £20. With consumers expecting to send items back without fuss or cost to themselves, it’s hardly surprising that returns are known as a £7 billion nightmare for retailers. Converting returns to exchanges, however, will help retailers retain revenue. 

5 – Aim to make Black Friday greener: almost a third of consumers choose brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices and values.  Retailers should make more sustainable delivery options available to customers, capturing and measuring delivery-related carbon emissions to demonstrate the success of their sustainability strategies. 

Start to prepare

Delivery options, labelling, branded communications, revamped returns, and greater sustainability will all go a long way to creating the best possible delivery experience. But it requires each part of the delivery process to work seamlessly together.  Multiple integrations and processes may be needed to manage the various aspects involved. And making significant changes to infrastructure during peak season is almost impossible.  

Rather than wait – and risk potentially costly disruption to the delivery and returns process – ecommerce and multi-channel retailers should start to prepare now.  Theforthcoming summer sales period can serve as an opportunity to test whether they have the infrastructure in place they need to give their customers what they want on Black Friday and during peak season.

The right preparation will always include investing in the best infrastructure and the right technology. Online retailers should centre the delivery business on a scalable multi-carrier delivery & experience management system that can manage everything from checkout through returns.  This minimizes the risk of disruption and creates a better experience for the customer. 

nShift helps ecommerce and multichannel retailers provide outstanding delivery experiences.  Learn more about how we can increase conversions, lower costs, and grow loyalty.

David Carey, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience, nShift

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