An user-friendly ordering and fulfilment system will reassure customers and increase your credibility. Once you have gain their trust and provided a positive experience, customers are more likely to place another order with you rather than purchasing from a new provider.
- Let customers use the same order form for multiple purchases. On one occasion, I had to complete three order forms when booking three nights accommodation merely because the dates were not consecutive.
- Provide options for multiple shipping and billing addresses. Customers may want to separate business and personal purchases or buy gifts to be sent to different addresses.
- Leave sufficient space on your order form for writing suggestions, special requests or comments.
- Give multiple payment options e.g. payment in full by credit card, cheque or bank transfer.
- Offer alternative remittance methods e.g. internet, mail, fax or phone.
- Provide a currency converter adjacent to prices to enable visitors to assess value. Link to a free converter such as the one at www.x-rates.com
Shipping & delivery
- State shipping and handling costs before customers are required to enter personal and financial details. This will allow potential customers to assess the total cost of the product and then take an informed purchasing decision.
- Provide various delivery options e.g. Standard, Express or Overnight.
- Supply shipping methods according to their preferences in regard to price, speed, security and tracking capabilities e.g. Swift CD uses a table to layout the different shipping options. Each method gives an estimated delivery date, the cost and whether it includes a tracking system.
- Create your own shipping formula to differentiate yourself from competitors e.g. Williams Sonoma, a retailer specialised in home furnishings, provides a ‘white glove’ delivery service for selected products. The service includes the delivery, unpacking, inspection and assembly of the item.
- Provide an order tracking system to enable customers to check the status of their online order.
- Offer conditional delivery promotions such as free shipping based on:
- Value of order e.g. ‘free shipping for order over…’
- Item e.g. ‘free shipping on selected items’
- Type of shipping e.g. ‘free surface shipping’
- Destination e.g. ‘free nationwide shipping’
- Quantity e.g. ‘free shipping for 3 CDs or more’.
- Pay special attention to packaging. Let your customer feel it’s Christmas when they receive your well-presented parcel.
Be prepared, a satisfied customer will return for more!
Adapted from the book 200 Marketing Ideas for Your Website by Henriette Martel, website strategist, consultant and professional speaker.