The Impact of a Negative Shipping Experience

Larry just bought his first pair of brand-name basketball shoes online from a well-known retailer. He found them the cheapest at this particular store and was extremely excited about the purchase since his first game was in two weeks. Luckily, this retailer also provided a shipping option that allowed Larry to receive his shoes just in time for the game. As the date approached, Larry was reluctant to find out that his shoes didn’t arrive the day they were supposed to. He quickly called the retailer up and customer service was unable to find his package- it had been lost. Although Larry was refunded his money, he had to wear an old pair of shoes to his first game all because Larry’s package was lost.

Debbie forgot that she was throwing a dinner party in three days. She went out and bought all the things she needed for it but had just gotten home from the store when she suddenly remembered that she needed a new set of wine glasses. graph-for-negative-effectsShe went online and looked to see if her favorite retailer sold the ones she was looking for. Lucky for her, they had 2 sets in stock that could be shipped to her home via 3-day shipping- just in time for her party. When the date arrived, her package didn’t, so she called up customer service. Turns out, the package was deemed undeliverable because the carrier “couldn’t verify the address” and the package was sent back to the warehouse it came from. Although Debbie was refunded her money, she and her guests had to drink wine out of highball glasses all because Debbie’s package was delayed.

Derek’s daughter was turning 15 this year and he had no idea what to get her. He scanned through pages and pages of gifts online and finally found the perfect one. He was going to give his daughter a brand new camera since he knew she loved photography. With plenty of time to spare, he ordered one online and chose standard shipping since it was the cheapest. His package arrived a couple of days before his daughter’s birthday, but had a couple of dents/rips here and there. Not thinking much of it, Derek taped up the tears and wrapped it for opening. When Derek’s daughter opened it, she was so excited until she saw the broken lens. Although Derek could order a replacement free of charge, his daughter couldn’t play with her new gift all because Derek’s package was damaged.

It happens all the time. A shipment is lost, delayed or arrives to the customer damaged. Yikes! Although many retailers have policies in place that give customers refunds or replacements, they often don’t make up for the disappointment, or even embarrassment, a customer feels when the inevitable happens.

A product’s journey through the supply chain, in today’s direct to consumer model, is in reality, your customer’s journey. Negative shipping experiences affect repeat purchase and ultimately the lifetime value of the customer. Today’s retailers need to be conscious that the customer journey begins long before the shopping cart and exits long after the product is delivered (or erm.. not delivered).

[Learn more on how to avoid the inevitable]


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