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In a market environment where brick & mortar retail sales have been flat or negative and where many traditional retailers have filed for bankruptcy or lost major market share, developing & maintaining new sources of growth has been a matter of life-or-death. For most if not all retailers, especially apparel & fashion, cosmetics, luxury goods & jewellery and consumer electronics brands, major revenue growth channel for past couple of years has been eCommerce and online sales. The race to eCommerce capabilities development, either directly in form of owned DTC eCommerce outlets or via third parties in form of eRetail partnerships (Wholesale.com) or marketplaces likes Amazon has been intense, but also organisationally transformative. eCommerce capabilities and online sales growth development became shareholder's meetings top agenda point attracting major investments and management attention.
However, most if not all management attention and investments are focused on pre-purchase phase of customer buying experience, while post-purchase phase has been ignored or left unmanaged. So, in search of eCommerce growth most companies invest heavily into online advertising and online presence through an ever expanding digital marketing performance tech arsenal and ecosystem that evolves around search, acquisition and conversion optimisation. At the same time everything that happens after the check-out button often receives much less attention, especially from marketing & brand departments who, often from siloed departments' perspective, consider this part of consumer journey solely the supply chain department's area of expertise and responsibility.
Two crucial indicators and prerequisites for revenue growth are positive customer brand relationship and repeat purchases - customer loyalty.
Ignorance of post-purchase phase of the eCommerce shopping journey seriously obstructs short-term, but more importantly long term and continuous revenue growth perspectives. Size of the missed opportunity can be estimated by looking at two crucial indicators and prerequisites for revenue growth - positive customer brand relationship and repeat purchases - customer loyalty.
Brand Purchase Experience
According to the U.S. consumer survey done by IBV (Institute for Business Value) in 2011, out of 3 phases of brand experience (pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase) respondents clearly marked the post-purchase phase as the most influential over their retail brand relationships and their willingness to promote a given retailer to other consumers. Consumers have made it clear that brand experiences during the post-purchase phase have the greatest overall positive or negative impact on their brand relationship with retailers and their inclination to shop that retailer over competitors. So, it’s imperative that you remain ever aware of the fact that after you’ve thanked your customer for her order, you’re just beginning the most influential phase of his brand interaction with you.
Brand experiences during the post-purchase phase have the greatest overall positive or negative impact on their brand relationship with retailers and their inclination to shop that retailer over competitors.
Whether the customer will do his eCommerce shopping with you or your competitors depends on his experience with your brand. Out of three phases - the post-purchase phase carries most weight and is most influential in defining the total experience. So whether customers will choose to continue to shop with you or competitors depends mostly on post-purchase experience he has and had with your brand. Of course, an evaluation of the experience is always in comparison to your brand promises, but also relative to other retailers' performance in this segment. Namely, it is the collective performance of all retailers customers interact with within a single market that shapes implicit customer expectations and market performance averages.
Whether customers will choose to continue to shop with you or competitors depends mostly on post-purchase experience he has had with your brand.
So, if you're ignoring your eCommerce post-purchase experience, whether it delivers to to your brand promises, but more importantly how it compares relative to other and best performing retailers, you're ignoring the most influential prerequisite of revenue growth.
Repeat Purchases and Customer Loyalty
The post-purchase is an essential, yet often overlooked, stage of the eCommerce customer journey. Given that across the board repeat customers account for 40% of store’s revenue, it’s important to have a strong post-purchase strategy in place in order to provoke repeat engagement, encourage referrals, and drive more revenue. Obviously, acquisition is important because you can’t have a repeat purchaser if they never make that first purchase, but ignoring this very profitable customer segment by ignoring the post-purchase experience as the main driver of repeatability of purchases will directly negatively influence the revenue growth potential.
Across the board, repeat customers account for 40% of store’s revenue, so it’s important to have a strong post-purchase strategy in place
Repeat customers are an important revenue and profitable customer segment worth investing into. To name a few, repeat customers are easier to sell to, they spend more at key times (such as holidays), they are 9 times more likely to convert, and repeat customers spend more on average. The relative size of repeat customer segment purchases to total revenue will depend on your customer retention strategies, but more on the post-purchase experience as most influential part of the customer journey. So, if you're ignoring the eCommerce post-purchase experience you are directly obstructing the growth of your repeat customer segment and repeat purchases as important drivers of total revenue growth.
If you are ignoring the eCommerce post-purchase experience you are directly obstructing the growth of your repeat customer segment and repeat purchases as important driver of total revenue growth.
Focusing on post-purchase and driving eCommerce growth
The length of delivery time, variety of delivery options, tracking visibility and communications, how your product is packaged, the ease of exchanges and returns—it all contributes to your brand perception (promises you make) as a whole. Meeting them or failing them has a significant impact on your top line revenue. The importance of the post-purchase brand experience in deepening or undermining the brand relationship that a consumer has with a retailer is unquestionable. It's influence on the growth or decline of repeat customers segment as well. So how do you turn things around and start focusing on your eCommerce post-purchase experience to drive growth?
The length of delivery time, variety of delivery options, tracking visibility and communications, how your product is packaged, the ease of exchanges and returns—it all contributes to your brand perception (promises you make) as a whole.
SO DIGITAL GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BRAND EXCELLENCE PLATFORM is a management tool that helps companies formulate, evaluate, and improve their e-commerce strategies by providing a systematic assessment of competitive performance of post-purchase experience across markets. Trained researches in target countries perform actual purchase of products from target e-retailers, recording their every step, while answering standardised scale based scorecard with average 200 data points to provide insight into comparative performance of leading e-retailers on selected dimensions.
It audits the most influential phase of customer brand relationship by contrasting the customer shopping experience across stages of delivery, tracking, packaging - out of box experience, returns & refunds ( the reality) versus brand set expectations (the promises). Our platform enables competitive cross industry performance benchmarking of best performing e-retailers across dimensions of online (post)purchase experience, including but not limited to, phases of delivery, tracking, packaging - out of box experience, and return & refunds.
To start driving your eCommerce growth by focusing on post-purchase experience contact us today for a free no-commitment one-on-one walk through of the solution & service and use client case of Nike (EMEA).
SO DIGITAL | GLOBAL BRAND EXCELLENCE SOLUTIONS is a technology company based in Amsterdam specialised in serving headquarters of global brands. We are proud partners of leading global digital growth brands like Nike (EMEA) and Uber (EMEA), but also other brands like TomTom (WHQ) and AS Monaco. With offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona and Balkans we help global brands reduce complexity cost of global branding by delivering speed, scale and efficiency in execution across markets.