Rory O’ Connor is the founder and CEO of delivery management platform Scurri. I caught up with him to find out what his day-to-day role entails.
We also chat about the importance of post-purchase CX, customer expectations, and ecommerce trends.
Tell me about your role… what does a typical day look like for you?
My work schedule is always busy but always interesting… we continue to commit to investing in both our high calibre of people and talent, as well as a continuous product development roadmap to ensure our solution remains future-forward.
I take an active role in interviewing potential new Scurri employees because maintaining our company culture and exceptional client servicing record is paramount in creating the long-term value-first relationships we seek to build with our customers.
I also spend a significant amount of my time out on the road, meeting with our clients and technology and fulfilment partners, as well as attending industry events to ensure we have a first-hand understanding of the trading conditions, challenges, and opportunities our customers are experiencing.
How important is post-purchase CX and where do retailers typically go wrong?
The customer journey doesn’t stop at the point of purchase and retailers and their carriers and 3PL (third-party logistics) providers must focus on a communication-led post-purchase delivery experience. While most retailers are not responsible for the last mile, they can take control over keeping their shoppers informed – after all, an informed customer is a happy customer. Most shoppers see the post-purchase experience as the most important part of their shopping experience, and the fulfilment, shipping, delivery and returns stage is when they are most “emotional” in their buying journeys, making it a mission-critical period for driving customer satisfaction.
[W]hile eliminating ‘Where is my order?’ (WISMO) enquiries completely may never happen, there is always the opportunity to reduce them through timely and considered customer-friendly communication.
Of course, nobody wants anything to go wrong, they want to get their parcel as soon as possible. But that isn’t necessarily about getting the package the very next day or even the same day, it’s simply about the parcel arriving when promised and the consumer being able to track it all the way from dispatch to their doorstep. It’s about having those ‘it’s in transit’ or ‘it’s out for delivery’ notifications in an easy to understand and well branded format, communicated in an on-brand fashion, and to the customers’ preferred communication channel or device. If retailers are providing an amazing delivery experience to their customers, they’re significantly less likely to have to pick up the phone to customer services or leave a negative review because there’s a problem.
‘Where is my order?’ (WISMO) enquiries are something that retailers can easily take control of and, while eliminating them completely may never happen, there is always the opportunity to reduce them through timely and considered customer-friendly communication. Additionally, keeping a consumer updated on their purchases’ journey is also an extra chance to engage with them at a time when they are more likely to interact with a brand or retailer. Our research has found shipping updates have a 117% higher open rate compared to other forms of email communication, meaning it presents an important stage in reaffirming the customer’s loyalty or driving consideration for their next purchase.
How can retailers improve post-purchase CX?
Providing consumers with timely notifications of their purchase’s process is only achievable with the correct data and connected systems. Harnessing data enables retailers to track an item each step of the way – from the moment of checkout, through its warehouse, the final-mile and when it gets into the consumer’s hands. This is key to understanding a successful delivery but is arguably even more important when something goes wrong.
Increasingly retailers, like other industries, will continue to assess how AI can potentially drive efficiencies…
Delivery data enables retailers to pinpoint problem areas and make informed decisions. This can be in their own organisation – for example, if there is a snag at the warehouse stage, or during label printing or carrier collection. Having this event information will allow retailers to make sense of their operations by highlighting issues with individual delivery partners and can show if a certain carrier is experiencing delays. This data visibility can open up a conversation with the carrier and give them the chance to “fix whatever is wrong” and perhaps avoid the need to switch carriers.
What do ecommerce retailers need to do in order to succeed in tough market conditions?
Winning retailers seek out competitive advantage. When it comes to last mile delivery, the retailers that are thriving are focusing on a superior delivery management experience not just last mile carrier connectivity. Retailers need to be able to take control of their delivery management experience to win each basket conversion.
Given evolving and ever higher customer expectations, retailers must take ownership of the end-to-end delivery experience…
Consumers are more informed when it comes to online purchasing and will evaluate all options, including the choice of delivery options available at the checkout. Controlling the delivery management experience by default means controlling the fundamental delivery pillars of cost, offer, operations, issues, growth, and experience.
Given evolving and ever higher customer expectations, retailers must take ownership of the end-to-end delivery experience, from offering the right carrier and service on each and every transaction, through to a branded post purchase shipping communication.
Can you name a retailer that has impressed you in the past year and why so?
The Perfume Shop is a great example of a retailer delivering a true omnichannel experience despite offering a product not traditionally associated with online purchasing. An example of its continual innovation designed to deliver an excellent online experience is its Fragrance Finder tool, which allows customers to quickly and easily find new fragrances via personalised scent preferences based on perfumes and brands they already like.
Additionally, the seasonal nature of its products creates huge delivery demand spikes around key gifting dates in the year, meaning the business has to build agility and scalability into its operations to continue to deliver customer experience to shoppers.
What trends or innovations do you predict for your industry in the next 12 months?
Inflation and the cost-of-living crisis will continue to impact the ecommerce market in the UK. While I predict ecommerce sales will move into positive territory by the end of the year, retailers seeking to return to pre-pandemic sales levels will need to focus on maximising profitability of their own first-party customer data. This will see an increased focus and awareness of opportunities within the post-purchase phase – including a move toward cross-selling and up-selling through branded tracking emails as a valuable additional revenue channel.
Increasingly retailers, like other industries, will continue to assess how AI can potentially drive efficiencies. As sales and marketing teams will remain under pressure to keep their cost of customer acquisition (CAC) at an all-time low, there will be an increased focus from retailers on activities that maximise the profitability of their existing customer database and turn otherwise one-off customers into repeat purchase brand advocates.
What’s next for Scurri?
Our focus remains on delivering our vision of connected commerce. This seeks to empower brands and retailers as they proactively take control of their fulfilment processes by leveraging Scurri’s innovative technology that improves the customer experience, boosts loyalty, and delivers all-important revenue growth.
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