Customer experience is top of mind for just about every retailer hoping to survive and thrive in today’s incredibly competitive and difficult economic environment.

But while many retailers focus on topics like personalisation and minimising the number of steps in the purchase journey, they shouldn’t forget that an important part of overall customer experience is the post-purchase experience they deliver.

According to Narvar, a customer experience platform provider, ”a retailer’s ability to make the post-purchase experience seamless can be the difference between a one-time transaction and a loyal, repeat customer.”

As part of the company’s State of Post-Purchase Experience Report, it polled more than 1,000 adult consumers in the US who have made a purchase online in the past year.

It found that almost half (49%) worry about their packages being damaged in transit, and an almost equal percentage (42%) don’t believe their packages will be delivered on time.

On-time delivery is critical to building repeat customer relationships. 60% of those surveyed indicated that they are more likely to make a purchase from a retailer that can give them a firm delivery date, and 72% indicated receiving a package when it is supposed to be delivered was the number one factor in making another purchase from the same retailer in the future.

The second most important thing retailers can do to encourage repeat business is to make the return process easy. Although there is a lot of emphasis on the ability to return purchases in-store among omnichannel retailers, 60% of the consumers said they prefer to have the ability to print a shipping label and send items back on their own.

That percentage jumps to nearly two-in-three (73%) for consumers who make many online purchases.

Making the right investments

Narvar’s study hints at why Amazon has been investing so much in supply chain management and building out its own logistics network, going so far as to invest in creating its own air cargo network.

Unfortunately for Amazon’s competitors, consumers are holding all retailers to a higher standard today. As the company explained…

The ‘Amazon Effect,’ the idea that Amazon’s fast and free shipping approach allows the company to differentiate itself and capture greater market share, is no longer exclusive to Amazon. Shoppers today hold all retailers (including Amazon) to the same high standards for the post-purchase experience.

Retailers that are able to create effortless and engaging experiences after customers click buy have an opportunity to increase sales and customer loyalty.

Interestingly, Narvar’s study also suggests that retailers might be investing in areas that consumers don’t see tangible value in, such as post-purchase personalisation.

For example, ”when asked what information would make them more satisfied with a purchase, 61% of people said ‘a simple thank you’ matters most, more so than including personalized recommendations, information on how to use the product better, or examples of how others are using the product.”

While this doesn’t mean that retailers shouldn’t make investments in areas like personalisation, the numbers make it clear: post-purchase, retailers get the most bang for their buck long-term by focusing on the basics, namely making sure that packages get to customers on time and that customers have an easy way to return items they don’t want.

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