Customers have always put the quality of the product they purchase under special scrutiny and rightfully so. For business owners, that means they need to constantly improve this most important aspect and people are now quite aware of that fact. What remains neglected in many cases, though, are some other aspects of purchase, which are very closely related to the whole shopping experience.
Customer is always right
As customers now tend to view shopping as a combination of various elements, sellers have more things to take care of to leave a good impression and gain or keep a customer. One of the features of the overall shopping experience that has gained great importance over the years is delivery. Not only does it have to be flawless, but it should also be as quick and inexpensive as possible.
This poses a great challenge for all companies, especially smaller ones, since they have to find a way to successfully compete with much bigger and better equipped enterprises, without making their end-users pay the price for this battle. So, what are the options available and how can a small, local business survive and improve the shopping experience for its customers.
Streamlining as smoothly as possible
One of the options is to find a direct path to your buyers and deliver your product to them. The problem is how to find them and whether you can find enough of them to keep your business alive. Alternatively, you may offer your products to retailers, without commissioning services from wholesalers. A potential threat here is the amount of time you need to organise the whole network and process of reaching agreements with more individual companies. On the other hand, this method spreads the risk much better, thus providing more flexibility to offer more competitive prices.
Usually, small companies start by delivering products themselves and hope that their business would grow enough to allow them to organise the distribution process in a way that would allow them more time to dedicate to product development and other aspects of business.
Since the price of shipping may have a great impact on the customer’s decision to buy your product or not, you want to minimise the expenses. To this end, you can invest in your own delivery vehicle and hire a driver or turn to modern technology and using one of the platforms that allows you to hire independent owners of moving vans and trucks in your area.
The bottom line is that you need to explore all options before making a decision. If you operate with a higher profit margin, you might be able to offer free shipping, which is a great incentive for many customers. On the other hand, if your margin is already quite low, you must make sure you don’t jeopardise your business by offering a price for shipping that is too low.
One you’ve developed a loyal and stable customer base, you should at least consider hiring a company to deal with receiving orders and shipping out products. Such fulfillment companies offer services related to product storing, credit card processing, packing and delivering, sending e-mails to customers and dealing with returned products.
A thriving business understands the importance of such activities, but can’t afford to waste too much resources on them. Still, chances are that a third-party company will not approach the task with the same passion as those whose name is on the label of the package. That’s why you need to be heavily involved and monitor the process from the beginning to the end.
As you can expect, the list of things you need to consider does not end here. Still, you can’t deny the importance of these seemingly peripheral aspects of shopping experience to the overall satisfaction of your client. So, try getting it right from the start.