UPS returns

Retailers have some ground to cover. Narvar, a premium post-purchase experience platform released the findings of its State of Post-Purchase Experience report today. The survey found that 72 percent of polled shoppers value on-time delivery among all other efforts that will build loyalty. A little transparency will go a long way, according to the report: 60 percent of shoppers want an accurate delivery date and 51 percent want to be notified if something goes wrong.

Narvar conducted a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. online shoppers between the ages of 18 and 65 prior to the peak holiday shopping period. The survey set out to analyze how consumers felt about engagement with brands — specifically during the moment between purchase and fulfillment — and key takeaways for retailers.

As purchasing power rises, retailers and brands are presented with a good problem of sorts. With more options of how and where shoppers direct their spending, vendors are faced with the growing challenge of connecting with the customer off-line, and quite literally delivering a positive experience to maintain their fleeting loyalty and attention.

Shoppers have been fair-weather spenders up until this point. Deliveries from even the most reputable of department stores and e-commerce sites have fallen short in quality shipping services. It’s perhaps because of this 49 percent of shoppers worry about their package being damaged in transit; the concern didn’t originate out of thin air.

Engagement doesn’t stop at the doorstep. Pesky return policies that often feature hefty sums can deter shoppers from revisiting a retailer. According to the survey, “an on-time, easy delivery experience was ranked over loyalty points, responsive customer service, and association with a good cause, among others when it comes to becoming a repeat customer.” The statistics don’t lie — 70 percent of consumers said an easy return or exchange would likely convert them to a repeat customer.

Deliveries are a source of anxiety for many shoppers — 49 percent to be exact, the survey said. Transparent shipping details communicating the actual location of the package, its en-route status, and convenient printable return labels will do wonders for customer satisfaction and loyalty. “Sixty-five percent of consumers want to print a label and send the item back; this rises to 73 percent when looking at high percentage online shoppers,” the study said.

Reports, data and survey findings all have pointed to consumer demand of personalization. That might be overshadowed by an old-fashioned thank-you note — 61 percent said their satisfaction with a product will be influenced more by a simple thank you than personalized recommendations, guided how-to’s or examples of how to use a product. Consider the unboxing experience here: Imagine the customer delight of unearthing a thank you note in addition to finding a product dutifully wrapped? Home run.

The survey also confirmed that Millennials and Generation Zers are highly influenced by their social communities. The news is potentially old but worth discussing the stats. The report said, “Those under 30 are much more interested in seeing how others are using the same products than the general population.” Thirty-seven percent of respondents falling into the age group said that photos of others wearing the same product would make them more satisfied with their purchase.

It’s important to note here that the shopper is in control through this journey and research. She’ll be much more pleased with her purchase upon sourcing her own inspiration rather than being force-fed trends from the retailer they just endorsed. Shoppers are smart today; allow them to show their stuff.