While e-commerce had been steadily increasing as a purchasing channel of choice, it has exploded because of COVID-19 as consumers rely on online ordering to meet their needs for essentials or even just a little “retail therapy.” But after the satisfaction of clicking “buy” comes the agony of wondering where and when the product will arrive.
In fact, nearly 70% of consumers said the ability to track orders was one of their top three considerations when buying a product online, and 56% said it was a top consideration when ordering a luxury item. That’s according to the fourth annual Global eCommerce Consumer Research Report conducted by Metapack, the leading provider of e-commerce delivery-management technology to enterprise retailers and brands.
“Having a superior branded tracking experience is critical in all situations, but even more so when you are conducting cross-border commerce,” said Duncan Licence, vice president of global product at Metapack.
Is your retail experience delivering the reliability and continuity that customers crave, particularly in today’s uncertain times? Here are three reasons comprehensive tracking is more important than ever to build trust in your brand.
Customers seek a higher comfort level in their purchases.
Today’s environment opens the doors for brands to attract and retain customers at unprecedented scale, and successful companies will seek to enhance their online experience now to make it more engaging as consumers continue to shelter in place.
The challenge for brands trying to expand their market is conveying to consumers that they have the product available and can deliver it on time, accurately and at a reasonable price, said Randy Moore, principal at LogistiPoint Consulting. “These expectations have only accelerated due to COVID-19, and providing clarity and confidence around the full spectrum of shipping and delivery parameters is a crucial component for brand loyalty.”
One key way to instill that trust is with solid tracking. In fact, in Metapack’s survey, consumers said the ability to track delivery was one of the top two things that would encourage them to shop more internationally, with the highest numbers coming from shoppers in China (47%), Russia (44%), France (41%) and both the U.K. and Japan (39%).
Customers are more likely to shop cross-border.
With the click of a button, customers can summon goods from anywhere, and brands that aspire to capture global market share have to entice customers to look outside their respective countries.
If you’re not yet taking advantage of the global customer, you’re missing out on a huge and lucrative market: Global e-commerce sales topped $3.46 trillion in 2019, a nearly 18% jump from 2018. Metapack’s research found that 30% of all consumers said they had bought goods from overseas between two and five times in the past 12 months. We can assume that those numbers will skyrocket throughout 2020 as consumers’ shopping choices remain limited.
One important way companies can earn consumer trust is to localize and brand their tracking notifications rather than outsourcing it to the carrier, a strategy that is even more important in cross-global purchases where the parcel might be delivered by a shipper the customer doesn’t recognize. “Having a great experience with a branded tracking option is especially critical in cross-border transactions,” Licence said.
Customers want to keep tabs on the process.
Just offering a delivery date isn’t enough anymore, given customers’ expectations of seeing the item move through all stages of its journey from ordering to delivery to potential return.
Yes, brands need to prepare themselves for the eventuality of returns because customers are increasingly creating a brick-and-mortar experience at home by ordering different items and sizes to try on.
Even before the pandemic, nearly 30% of consumers in all markets (and a whopping 62% in China) were ordering multiple products, expecting they would return some. And while shoppers want to make sure that it’s easy to return items, they are even more concerned with finding out when the money will be available.
One of the most appealing scenarios, Moore said, is a process where retailers can accept a returned package at a central location and immediately credit the shopper’s account.
Making Tracking a Point of Differentiation
Brands are most likely to succeed in the vast cross-global opportunity when they create a frictionless experience. And since consumers in different markets have varying preferences, it’s vital to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, Licence cautioned.
That’s why Metapack’s Delivery Tracker might be for you. The software offers a branded tracking portal that enables retailers and brands to display the delivery status for their e-commerce customers’ orders and ensure consumers have a superior user experience. And with more than 500 global carrier integrations, it supports tracking worldwide to easily manage both cross-border and domestic activities. “By providing detailed insight and analytics, our tracker allows you to extend your brand experience throughout the entire post-purchase cycle,” Licence said.