COVID-19 served as the catalyst for radical change in almost all of our lives. Businesses, schools, and restaurants all had to adapt to the new climate the world was faced with. As 2020 unfolded, we saw the shift from in-person, to online shopping really start to take off. So much so in fact, that in the US, eCommerce grew by 44% in 2020.
With this much growth, growing pains were inevitable. Nothing can change that radically without causing ripple effects. Towards the latter half of 2020, eCommerce was even more in demand. Shopping for everything you needed online became just as normal as shopping in person. We started seeing delays in shipping, traffic jams with cargo freight liners in the ocean, as well as an array of other logistical nightmares to address with COVID-19 still running rampant.
With the first quarter of 2021 behind us, we are seeing the first glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. Life as we know it appears to be returning to the life we knew before the pandemic. Want to know something that won’t go back to the way it was?
This past year has reshaped our expectations for online shopping, and has brought more of a demand for a strong online presence and a good user experience. With that in mind, this week, we are going to be going over what customers are expecting from eCommerce shipping this year. Let’s dive in.
Major Takeaways from 2020
People are shopping online more than ever before, so how can we make the online buying process better?
The question at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. Seriously, though. We already shopped online a ton, but last year sent it over the edge. More and more people are looking to minimize contact with others during the pandemic, and understandably so. Companies who had an online surge last year learned a lot about what was working well for them, and what they could improve upon.
Consumers want their products, and they want them as fast as they can get them. People want to be able to easily navigate your webpage and have a smooth checkout experience. The shipping process has a newfound focus on safety and cleanliness, all throughout the supply chain. So many variables of the online shopping experience were forced to be addressed, with customers having little to no other options for buying.
The perspective that 2020 brought was a good thing though… As difficult as the year was for all of us, we learned what was working well, and what needed some attention. The overall structure of eCommerce wasn’t what needed changing, it was more so the way that businesses went about particular aspects of the fulfillment process. Lack of transparency, communication, diversification, and fulfillment channels have led to many people expecting more than they ever have from online businesses.
So, what are customers expecting in 2021?
3 Things Customers Expect From eCommerce Shipping
How often have you ordered something online, and felt like you had no clue when it was going to get to you? If you are anything like me, it probably happens more than you would like to admit. Thankfully, with online shopping becoming more common, the communication between buyer and seller is improving.
Customers want to know where their package is at, and when they can expect it to arrive. (We’ve all been there.) Delays are all too common right now because of COVID. I can’t speak for everyone, but if a company I just ordered something from is upfront about delays they are facing, and communicate that from the get-go, I am much more likely to be understanding and happy with the experience. The other option is neglecting to communicate with customers what the status of their order is, which leaves absolutely nobody happy.
Communication isn’t just limited to the merchant. The entire supply chain needs to remain in the loop on what is going on. If everyone is on the same page, it makes it a lot smoother for all parties involved.
Thankfully, there are many third-party tracking apps that have come out to allow consumers a more detailed look into where their goods are at. Apps such as Shop let consumers track exactly where their product is the entire way to their doorstep. Firsthand, I will tell you, I am a big fan of this app and the abundance of communication that it provides.
The days of shopping on a computer… Well, they are still here, who am I kidding?
That being said, more and more people are shopping from their smartphones, and having the ability to do so makes their world a whole lot easier. Expect more companies to focus on the interface of their mobile sites, as well as the ease of transactions from various browsers. You don’t want the reason for not making the sale to be your page not loading on someone’s iPhone.
Convenience transcends mobile shopping… Shoppers everywhere are wanting the convenience of fast delivery – and I mean fast. Same-day, one-day, even two-day delivery has never seemed so common. With these speedy delivery times, people also expect quality service and care of their goods. So make sure you are taking the time to ensure your supply chain is in order!
It’s no secret that we all like things to be customized. Before the pandemic, it seemed that if we wanted anything custom, we had to go into the store to get it. That sadly just isn’t the reality these days. Customers want to be able to order what they want, how they want it, all from the comfort of their home. Business owners have had to adapt to allow for consumers to make these custom requests from the online storefront.
Custom shipping options are just as much relevant now than ever before. Easy worldwide shipping still is desired by many. These custom shipping options can help set you apart from your competitors, and help you land that sale.
Some examples of custom shipping options include:
- Insuring high value shipments
- Custom packaging and bundling
- Making expedited shipping available
Though COVID-19 has forced us to rework our business models, it doesn’t mean that every change is made purely to react to something bad. There’s an opportunity to make a much better world for eCommerce, and it pays to be on the leading edge.
Work to create better practices, which will in turn lead to happier customers. If you take into account what customers are expecting these days, you will likely end up better off for it.