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Fast & Free: How to Price (or “Unprice”) E-Commerce Shipping to Perfection

According to the zero price effect, traditional cost-benefit models cannot account for the psychological effect of getting something for free. “Free goods have extra pulling power.” (source)

A store could be offering a free ice cream cone or even a free sticker worth less than a penny. Regardless, there we are waiting patiently, grinning ear-to-ear for the opportunity to get something for nothing.

There’s no better example in e-commerce than “free shipping.” 

Let’s discuss the arguments for and against providing free shipping from an e-commerce merchant’s perspective. 

Shoppers hate add-on fees, and speed matters

According to recent research by The Baymard Institute and shared by Shopify, the #1 reason why shoppers abandon checkout is because “extra costs [like shipping and taxes] were too high,” accounting for 55% of total cart abandonment. 

A 2021 global consumer insights survey conducted by PWC showed “fast/reliable delivery” as consumers’ #1 overall consideration when shopping online (ranked top three by 41% of respondents), beating out eleven others, including “in-stock availability of items I want (35%),” “ability to quickly and conveniently navigate the website to find products I’m interested in (30%),” “availability of online customer reviews (26%),” and “a good return policy (31%).” 

Want to reduce cart abandonment (and increase conversions) for your online shop? The research is clear: offer your customers fast order fulfillment, and don’t charge them for it.

Despite the body of evidence, many e-tailers remain skeptical about the merits of offering “fast and free” delivery, with “erosion to profit margins” being among the most common reasons given.

There’s a cost to “free” shipping

While free shipping is a proven way to get customers to buy from you, providing it isn’t exactly “free” for retailers. 

E-commerce shipping can sometimes be a very significant expense for retailers, particularly when it comes to expedited deliveries (learn how Ohi keeps fulfillment costs low for sub 2-hour, same-day, and next-day delivery) or heavier/bulkier goods. 

But what if you can generate ROI from offering “fast and free” delivery? Might there be a scenario where you’d want to eat free shipping costs in order to reduce cart abandonment (or increase conversions) and even increase customer satisfaction (i.e. through a better and faster delivery experience), leading to improved customer lifetime value?

To understand that scenario better, we need to first establish the ROI of fast shipping (or what Ohi calls “instant delivery”).

The ROI of instant delivery

Previous research from Ohi (based on actual anonymized client data) demonstrated a substantial boost to repeat purchase rates and customer lifetime value (CLV) for customers whose orders were delivered in less than two hours (via Ohi 2-hour instant delivery) versus those whose orders were fulfilled with standard UPS/FedEx 3-5 day ground.

Because immediacy and convenience are so valuable, instant delivery helps merchants grow in a major way. 

BUT (and this is a big “BUT”) – it can only do that if customers select instant delivery at checkout. And therein lies the rub. 

Brands that charge for instant delivery consequently have fewer customers choose instant delivery at checkout—thereby forgoing the retention/growth boosts they would have otherwise enjoyed.

Does it make sense to charge for instant delivery?

New research from Ohi shows that Ohi-enabled merchants that price instant delivery either (1) free, (2) free above an order amount threshold, or (3) in line with their standard shipping, have instant delivery picked five times more often than when instant delivery is priced higher than standard shipping (e.g. 3-5 day ground).

What’s more, merchants that (1), priced instant delivery this way (i.e. free, free above a threshold, or in line with standard shipping), and (2), had been optimized* on the Ohi platform, saw on average a 26% increase to repeat purchase rate (when orders shipped via Ohi 2-hour/same-day/next-day instant delivery vs. standard delivery), while those that priced instant delivery higher than standard shipping saw no improvement in repeat purchase rate.

When you consider how cost-effective instant delivery can be for many brands (e.g. learn how Greater Than saves 20% with instant delivery versus standard ground shipping), it’s not hard to see that charging more for instant delivery is counterproductive to increasing profits.

If this loss in potential ROI from not getting selected in checkout and the cart abandonment mentioned earlier aren’t enough to dissuade you from marking up e-commerce delivery, consider this piece of research: when retailers charge a high shipping fee relative to product price, shoppers believed retailers did so to earn additional profit (rather than simply to pass shipping costs on to the customer). It’s not a great look for any brand that aspires to be customer-first.

The overall implication here is that brands should strongly consider offering “fast and free” e-commerce delivery, allowing more customers to enjoy the best customer experience and setting the stage for increased retention and business growth.

How to offer free shipping

Now that we’ve established that “fast and free” shipping is great for conversions, amazing for customer retention, and can more than pay for itself, here are some pointers on how to make free shipping work for your brand.

  • Streamline the number of shipping options you offer in checkout to prevent choice paralysis and to ensure your customers easily find the option that’s best for them
OLIPOP has seen a 150% increase to CLV through “fast and free” Ohi instant delivery. This simple and clean shipping screen is optimal.
Too many choices can lead to abandonment, and the lack of an Ohi instant delivery option here results in cost-prohibitive expedited shipping costs.
  • If margin is a concern, consider including your average shipping cost as part of the product price, especially if you primarily sell DTC or if you are selling hard-to-find or highly unique products. This allows you to benefit from the “zero price effect” with free shipping and avoid preventable cart abandonment. Plus, your customers may not “feel” the additional dollars as much when they’re baked into the product pricing.
  • Free shipping with order minimums: If you’re concerned about losing money by giving away free shipping for low-value orders, you can simply set an order minimum for free shipping. Free shipping above a basket threshold can serve as a powerful incentive for customers to buy more from you, while protecting your bottom line.
  • Promote free shipping. (“If a tree falls in the forest…”, etc.) If the goal is to maximize sales, you need to be committed to letting shoppers know you offer free/”fast and free” delivery. A few common places to highlight this: website ticker (a horizontal announcement bar at the top or bottom of the screen), homepage leaderboard or box banner, product page (near add-to-cart button), in checkout, marketing emails/SMS, on social posts, and in paid advertisements.

At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

*Merchants “optimized on the Ohi platform” are those with at least 200 orders shipped via Ohi instant delivery in the last 30 days and an efficiency rate greater than 30%. Efficiency rate is the percentage of Ohi clients’ orders within Ohi’s serviceable zips that Ohi does fulfill.

The DTC Playbook: 10 Essential Plays to Accelerate Direct-to-Consumer E-commerce Growth

The DTC Playbook
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With the modern consumer facing an unprecedented proliferation of new brands, marketplaces, and in-your-face advertising, it has become critical for growth-focused DTC companies to create better customer experiences.

That’s why Ohi has published The DTC Playbook: 10 Essential Plays to Accelerate Direct-to-Consumer E-commerce Growth.

This complimentary playbook provides DTC decision-makers with best practices to:

  • Create next-level pre and post-purchase experiences
  • Leverage instant delivery to meet customer expectations
  • Expand and enhance your e-commerce tech stack
  • Enable subscriptions to boost customer retention
  • Adopt sustainable e-commerce

Ready to take your direct-to-consumer channel from good to great?

Deliver Drinks Faster: How DTC Beverage Brands Can Benefit from Instant Delivery

Many beverage brands jumped on the direct-to-consumer bandwagon during the pandemic, and brands that were already DTC made big returns. And as more people ordered drinks online, these DTC early birds were the first to disrupt the beverage industry. 

Plot twist: the game is no longer only about having an online presence or selling directly to consumers; consumers now want beverages faster.  

This early success attracted a slew of new DTC-focused players, creating competition within a niche market. Even large omnichannel beverage brands had fear of missing out, so many also began selling DTC to stake their claim in a growing market. Meanwhile, marketplaces like Amazon, with Prime Now delivery, were already leading the fast delivery trend. 

All of this has resulted in the present situation: if your DTC beverage business doesn’t provide instant delivery, your beverage business will cede market share to competitors who do.

Why DTC Beverage Brands Need to Harness Instant Delivery

With  Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, and quick commerce marketplaces like GoPuff delivering drinks within one to two hours, why would any customer be interested in ordering directly from a beverage brand’s website? 

These top retail giants have set the bar for convenience very high, driving up consumer expectations by delivering many of their essential and not-so-essential products within an hour or two. 

And if your DTC beverage business doesn’t upgrade to Amazon-like delivery speed, you will eventually lose customers to leading marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, or other big companies that are on top of their instant delivery game. 

Beverage delivery challenges

While the one to two hours delivery window isn’t an unrealistic standard to meet, most direct-to-consumer brands lack the fulfillment capabilities to provide rush delivery all on their own. Even when brands have an in-house micro-fulfillment warehouse, fulfilling orders comes with its fair share of challenges such as warehouse rent and equipment, labor, utilities, insurance, materials, inventory management software, shipping, etc. 

Furthermore, fulfilling and shipping beverages safely is another challenge, especially delivering glass bottles over long distances via services like UPS/FedEx, which charge by the weight. There’s always the impending risk of breakage, resulting in losses and, worse yet: unhappy customers. 

And if it’s a drink that requires refrigeration, for instance, a kombucha, then there are the absurdly high costs associated with shipping weight, extra-packaging materials, and expensive cold packs.

In short, traditional delivery options require beverage brands to spend a significant amount of extra time and money.

That’s where instant commerce comes into play 

As your instant commerce partner, Ohi will help your DTC business stand toe-to-toe with Amazon or big-box stores like Walmart.

Traditional e-commerce fulfillment is harmful to the planet, as orders travel by plane or ground over long distances. 

On the other hand, Ohi’s instant commerce solution is fast, sustainable, and cost-effective. Because we keep our inventory “hyperlocal” in micro-fulfillment centers across major metropolitan areas, this helps our partner brands deliver drinks within two hours or same-day. In addition, it’s vastly more cost-effective as there’s no long-distance delivery involved. 

After your beverage business teams up with Ohi, we will first analyze your product demand at the SKU level. Then, a dedicated team will continuously work with your operations team to ensure there is always sufficient inventory across Ohi’s nationwide micro-fulfillment centers. 

In addition, our technology will constantly monitor delivery speed and consistency, adjust courier efficiency, and other factors to guarantee your customers always receive their ordered beverages within the delivery window they selected.

Top DTC-Focused Beverage Brands Benefiting from Instant Delivery

Olipop 

Olipop is a leading fizzy tonic brand. The maker of a new kind of soda makes their sodas from all-natural ingredients, combining the benefits of prebiotics, plant fiber, and botanicals.

Although Olipop has a powerful omnichannel e-commerce presence, the brand believes that a direct-to-consumer strategy is vital to its success. And to meet its high customer experience expectations, the brand required a D2C/DTC fulfillment partner.

After teaming up with Ohi, Olipop’s ROI has undergone a steady boost. Olipop now delivers its consumers fast delivery of its sparkling tonic alongside a fantastic post-purchase experience via Ohi’s platform. 

In addition, many of their customers order subscriptions regularly now. With Ohi, Olipop customers can schedule and reschedule deliveries within seven days and three different time windows.

Olipop saw a 150% increase in customer lifetime value (CLV) and a 140% lift in lifetime orders for Ohi-shipped orders (versus non-Ohi).

The notable increase in repeat purchases highlights the value of “fast, free, and flexible” delivery for customers and shows just why Olipop’s customers have rated Ohi 4.6/5 stars for exceptional service.

Health-Ade

Health-Ade is one of the country’s most prominent pro-biotic kombuchas that encourage people to #followtheirgut.

The DTC-focused beverage brand was looking for a better alternative to traditional 3PLs in its major metro areas to reduce fulfillment costs while offering a fantastic customer experience.

Traditional e-commerce fulfillment was not a good match for Health-Ade: they realized that delivering glass bottles over long distances via UPS/FedEx using a traditional 3PL would be impractical. In addition, there is the risk of breakage, high delivery weight, and extra-packaging costs. Lastly, kombuchas need to be refrigerated to retain freshness and probiotic qualities, demanding the use of expensive cold packs.

Ohi enabled Instant commerce for Health-Ade to help them deliver Kombuchas to their customers within a week of deployment. And Health-Ade’s customer lifetime value (CLV) has since increased by 49% on orders shipped with Ohi (versus standard FedEx/UPS), reflecting how valuable the instant delivery experience is to customers.

Athletic Brewing Company

A leading non-alcoholic beer brand was looking for an instant commerce solution to improve its customer experience and enable D2C growth.

With its wonderful-tasting, non-alcoholic brews made from premium quality, all-natural ingredients, Athletic Brewing Company is spearheading a craft beer revolution. Founded by co-founders Bill Shufelt and Jon Walker for “the modern beer drinker”, these low-alcohol beers are for people who aren’t willing or able to withstand the effects of alcohol intake. 

Unsatisfied with the traditional 3PLs fulfillment functionality as they were not D2C-friendly, Athletic Brewing partnered with Ohi.

After teaming up with Ohi, Athletic Brewing has seen a 30% lift in repeat purchase rates (Ohi-shipped orders versus orders that ship via FedEx/UPS). Athletic Brewing customers rate Ohi an average of 4.7/5 stars.

The above-discussed success stories sum up the difference instant delivery can help make. 

Deliver Drinks Faster!

85% of consumers will shop elsewhere for better options when delivery speeds are too slow. Slow delivery speed remains a primary reason for shopping cart abandonment. However, instant delivery is said to have contributed to higher conversion rates. In fact, it is the biggest motivator for 68% of shoppers.

The beverage market is ripe for rapid expansion; however, if your DTC business doesn’t keep pace with the marketplaces and large retailers, you’ll inevitably lose market share. 


About Ohi
At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

Instant Delivery: How Top D2C Brands are Leveraging ‘Speed’ as a Competitive Advantage  

News flash: the slow and steady tortoise no longer wins the race.  

The modern shopper’s need for fast delivery has intensified, thanks in large part to the expectations that industry bellwethers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target have helped shape in the past couple of years.

Direct-to-consumer brands and smaller retailers literally have zero chance of protecting (much less growing) their market share without similarly adopting the ways of the speedy hare. 

Fortunately, the emergence of instant commerce and micro-fulfillment players like Ohi empowers them to close the gap and even out-compete many leading marketplaces when it comes to e-commerce fulfillment.

How top DTC brands are leveraging instant delivery

Instant delivery is way more than just a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s a must-have upgrade, and it’s very much mandatory if you want to meet your customers’ expectations.

A 2021 global consumer insights survey by PWC revealed “fast/reliable delivery” as consumers’ #1 overall consideration when shopping online.

And businesses who don’t upgrade to at least Amazon-like delivery speed will eventually lose out to Amazon or other big retail companies that are solving for instant commerce.

Happy customers help you grow your brand’s bottom line. According to proprietary Ohi research, the D2C brands that are leveraging instant 2-hour delivery had 24% higher repeat purchase rates compared to same-day delivery and an astounding 61% higher repeat purchase rates when compared to standard UPS/FedEx.

Instant delivery is game-changing for D2C-focused brands, and here are a few success stories that illustrate that very point.

Top DTC Brands Benefiting from Instant Delivery

Olipop’s CLV has grown by 150% with Instant Delivery 

Olipop is a leading fizzy tonic brand, the maker of a new kind of soda made from all-natural ingredients, combining the benefits of prebiotics, plant fiber, and botanicals.

Although the brand has a solid omnichannel presence, they believe a direct-to-consumer strategy is crucial to growth. 

And for that purpose, the brand needed a D2C/DTC fulfillment partner to meet its high customer experience expectations.

Olipop’s ROI has steadily increased since teaming up with Ohi.

Thanks to the flexible and fast delivery of its sparkling tonics on Ohi’s platform, Olipop now provides its customers with a tremendous post-purchase experience that matches its excellent pre-purchase experience. As a result, many of their customers have repeat subscription orders; with Ohi, Olipop customers can schedule and reschedule deliveries within seven days and in three different time windows. 

For Ohi-shipped orders, Olipop experienced a 150% higher customer lifetime value (CLV) and a 140 percent increase in lifetime orders (versus non-Ohi).

The significant increase in repeat purchases highlights the significance of “fast, free, and flexible” delivery for customers and explains why Olipop customers rate Ohi 4.6/5 stars for exceptional service.

Ovira more than doubled its repeat purchase rate

For centuries, women have endured painful periods (dysmenorrhea), pains associated with endometriosis. Ovira is a DTC-focused company devoted to helping women end this pain. Ovira’s revolutionary device, Noha, minimizes pain using pulse therapy. 

Because period pain can be spontaneous and unbearable, Ovira wanted a fast delivery of the Noha device.

Ohi seemed like the perfect instant fulfillment partner Ovira sought to meet its customers’ need for convenient and fast delivery.

Having teamed up with Ohi, Ovira now delivers delightfully fast, on-brand, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable brand growth. 

With instant delivery as part of its post-purchase customer experience, Ovira’s repeat purchase rate has more than doubled (+120% for Ohi-shipped orders in comparison to orders shipped via FedEx/UPS). In addition, Ovira’s customers who ordered with Ohi rated us an average rating of 4.7/5 stars. 

These numbers clearly emphasize what it means for Ovira’s customers to have instant pain relief products.

Health-Ade’s customer lifetime value topped 40%

To minimize fulfillment costs while providing a great customer experience, one of the country’s most popular kombucha brands sought a better alternative to conventional 3PLs in its major metro areas.

Health-Ade, established in 2012, has quickly developed a nationwide customer base that adores its kombuchas for their delicious taste, an exciting variety of flavors, and countless health benefits.

Kombucha has special handling/transport requirements because it must be refrigerated to maintain peak freshness and probiotic qualities.

Traditional e-commerce fulfillment wasn’t a good fit for Health-Ade: they realized that delivering glass bottles over long distances via UPS/FedEx using a traditional 3PL wouldn’t be viable. First, there’s the risk of breakage. And then there are the ridiculously high costs associated with shipping weight and extra-packaging materials and the need to keep the kombuchas cold, typically necessitating the use of expensive cold packs. 

Health-Ade required more efficient handling of e-commerce fulfillment in its most critical metro areas.

Ohi delivered on all that and more.

Ohi enabled instant commerce for Health-Ade allowing them to deliver Kombuchas instantly to their customer base within a week of deployment.

After partnering with Ohi, Health-Ade has seen its customer lifetime value (CLV) increase by 49% on orders shipped with Ohi (versus standard FedEx/UPS), showing just how valuable the instant commerce experience is to customers.

Health-Ade’s customers have rated Ohi an average of 4.6/5 stars for service excellence.

Athletic Brewing Company experienced a 30% increase in their repeat purchase rate

Athletic Brewing, a non-alcoholic craft beer brand, was looking for a faster and more reliable fulfillment partner and had been unimpressed with traditional 3PLs’ fulfillment capabilities and overall lack of D2C-friendliness.

As impressive as Athletic Brewing’s products are – beers brewed from high-quality, all-natural ingredients for “the modern-day beer drinker”- they needed an instant commerce solution to kick their customer experience up a notch and drive meaningful D2C growth. 

After learning how Ohi could elevate their customer experience and drive significant ROI while keeping its powerful brand front-and-center, the brand turned to Ohi’s instant delivery solution.                                                                                            

Athletic Brewing provides its customers powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences via the Ohi platform.

Athletic Brewing now enjoys a 30% uptick in repeat purchase rates on Ohi-shipped orders compared to orders delivered through FedEx/UPS. Additionally, athletic Brewing customers rated Ohi an average of 4.7/5 stars.

With Ohi’s shipping options – 2-hour, same-day, and next-day delivery – the DTC-focused brand delivers great-tasting beers to its customers alongside a custom-branded post-purchase experience. 

Customers receive real-time tracking information via email/SMS (tailored to Athletic Brewing’s brand guidelines), allowing them to track their orders to their doors.

So how does Ohi do it? 

We keep our inventory “hyperlocal” in micro-fulfillment centers in major metropolitan areas. This enables our partner brands to deliver their products to customers within the same day or two hours – in time for a spontaneous dinner, a late or early morning drink, or to relieve period pain. 

We’re proactive – our dedicated teams analyze your brand’s product demand at the SKU level, consistently working with the operations team to ensure there’s sufficient inventory available across the micro-fulfillment networks. In addition, Ohi’s account managers work with brands to ensure seamless procedures while identifying ways to boost efficiency and ROI for our partner brands.

Our technology constantly monitors delivery speed and consistency within the Ohi network, modifying courier utilization and other factors to ensure customers get what they ordered within the chosen delivery window. 

And because we keep our inventory as close to customers as possible, our packaging and last-mile shipping are also more environmentally friendly. 

Fast & free wins the race!

Many of the world’s top marketplaces and big retailers are already looking beyond same-day delivery and upping the ante once again with sub-hour delivery options.

And with 15-minute delivery becoming a thing in New York City and elsewhere, your D2C brand crossing the finish line in 3-5 business days just won’t suffice any longer. The race will have been long over before your brand reaches the line.

About Ohi
At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

Get Sticky: What is Customer Stickiness and How to Achieve it with Your DTC Brand

Acquiring new customers is only half the battle. You have yet to convert the newly acquired lot into second-time buyers and reduce customer churn. 

Once you bag that second purchase, your focus should shift to expanding and increasing these customers’ lifetime value (CLV) even more. And to achieve that, you need to ensure you provide a customer experience so good that they want to stick around – a “sticky” experience. 

Jes Kirkwood, a content strategist and storyteller, writes that customer experience is one of the two core pillars of customer retention; the thing is, you can’t grow if your customers don’t stick around. 

But what exactly is customer stickiness and how is it related to customer retention and customer loyalty? 

What is Customer Stickiness?

To define it simply, customer stickiness is when a customer continues to shop at your e-commerce store because something about your online store compels them to keep coming. It could be free and fast shipping, your product quality, your pricing, pre and post-purchase customer experience, emotional appeal, discounts and promotions, etc. 

No one sells cold drinks in cold weather better than Coca Cola. Coke  remains one of the best known beverage brands, winning hearts and taste buds since well before the classic Coca-Cola days. The beverage brand has successfully created a sticky brand experience centered around ‘émotional appeal,’ via adverts – and it works well.

How is customer stickiness related to customer loyalty and customer retention? 

Customer stickiness is the launching pad for customer loyalty and retention both, because sticky customers are easier to turn into lifetime customers who are loyal to the brand. How do you think Coke managed to create a cult-like customer base? 

It’s important to remember however, that customer stickiness is a result of a key benefit or value customers derive from a business – something they can’t get elsewhere. 

It focuses on fostering new relationships with customers, while customer loyalty strengthens pre-existing relationships and develops after stickiness.

As for retention, that’s when these customers continue to choose your brand because trying out new products or brands is far too inconvenient. 

So, how can you make your DTC brand create a sticky brand experience? 

Once you get a customer to go from one purchase to two purchases, you increase their chance of making yet another purchase by 95%. Give these customers a reason to come back and  stick to your business with these tried and true ways:

Be proactive about your post-purchase customer experience

A report by Salesforce shows that 80% of customers say the experience provided by a company is as important as the products and services they sell. And 42% said they would break up with a brand because they didn’t get customer support. 

This shows just how important a winning post-purchase experience is, especially if you want to increase customer stickiness. Here are a few ways your brand can create a sticky brand experience for shoppers:

a) Customer onboarding 

The post-purchase period is a crucial time for you and your customers. It’s the most important step in the customer life-cycle – an opportunity to build relationships with shoppers. 

In fact, 88% of buyers in a survey said they’re more likely to remain loyal to a business that provides welcoming, educational onboarding content. 

Customers who you’ve rolled out the red carpet for are more likely to continue buying your products in the long haul. 

b) Spice it up with fast & free delivery

Fast and free delivery has become an essential component of a winning post-purchase experience. Almost all the major retailers, online and offline, are beginning to add the element of speed to their service. Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, Target, etc. leverage fast and free delivery to make their customers stick around.   

Ohi helps its partner brands create a sticky brand experience by enabling them to offer customer-pleasing post-purchase experiences such as sustainable and instant delivery. 

c) Keep customers in the know with real-time order tracking & on-brand updates 

For many brands, the customer experience journey comes to an end when they make a purchase. That sort of attitude is a no-go in today’s fast-paced e-commerce world. The customer journey doesn’t end following the purchase; it continues with shipping, tracking, product updates, returns, reviews, and other post-purchase services.

d) Simplify the returns & refunds process

IKEA is a great example of a company that offers sticky returns and refunds policies. Shoppers have 365 days to exchange or return their products. This makes for a stellar value proposition, because it’s considerably longer than the usual 60 days.

It, however, may not be possible for every brand to follow in IKEA’s footsteps which is why many, if not most, progressive and forward-looking e-commerce brands these days are offering VIP customers membership-styled return options. They reward high-value, loyal customers with a more personalized and flexible shopping experience to keep them coming back for more.

e) Hear your customers out – ask for post-purchase feedback

Nothing shows your customers they are valuable better than asking for feedback about the product or post-purchase experience and actually taking it to heart.

Customer feedback will help offer you insight into what aspects of your product or service are working well and what aspects require improvements.

Think of unhappy customers as an opportunity. They could just leave you bad reviews on your social media channels, or even worse, anonymously put you on blast all over the place. Instead, invite them to contact you privately to share their experiences, trusting that you are sincere about addressing any concerns.

f) Sustainable e-commerce fulfillment

Did you know that 80% of consumers in a survey said that sustainability is important to them? Meanwhile, about 60% said they want to make a change in their shopping habits to be more sustainable. 

While value and ease of purchase are still the main drivers of purchase decisions, sustainability is climbing higher on the list. Consider supporting sustainable e-commerce however you can – from carbon-neutral delivery to even more modest approaches like supporting micro-fulfillment services, as they reduce the amount of fuel that is needed per delivery and minimize the need for wasteful exterior packaging.

Differentiate your unique value proposition (UVP) & be consistent with it

We know that customer stickiness is essentially derived from the transactional value that your customers get from your business or product only — your unique value proposition (UVP).

It highlights a unique benefit or feature that differentiates your online brand from every other business in the industry, showcasing the most compelling reasons why a potential buyer should become a lifetime customer.

Whatever that value is, it’s imperative that everyone on your team knows about it. Your unique value proposition should power your sales and marketing messaging, and unlocking it should be a key point of focus for customer support and success teams.

Take Patagonia for instance. Their UVP isn’t a product or a feature, it’s their reason for existing. And their UVP adds value to their die-hard customers by helping them make a difference. 

“We’re in business to save our home planet.”

This UVP distinguishes Patagonia from its competitors by defining it as more than a fashion label. It’s a way of life and a movement committed to making a difference. Patagonia epitomizes a number of its distinguishing features in a single sentence:

  • Fair Trade Certified Clothing – produced from organic cotton ( free of pesticides, herbicides, and GMO seeds)
  • An exchange program wherein shoppers can trade-in used equipment for store credit
  • 1% of sales is donated to the restoration and preservation of the planet

What we really love about Patagonia’s UVP is that it doesn’t make the customers feel like they are being shoehorned into purchasing. They understand that together with the business they are making a difference.  

Having the ingredients alone isn’t enough; mixing them together thoughtfully is what matters most. Whether you have the best price on the market or a key feature your competitors lack, or something else entirely, reminding customers how you’re different and better will help boost customer stickiness. 

If practiced the right way, even a unique flavored syrup created by some pharmacist – yes, Coca Cola – can be turned into a world-beating brand that transcends its category.

Bottom line? 

Yes, that will eventually grow, too, (pun intended) because the stickier your customer is, the easier they are to retain. By making existing customers stickier you take an important first step toward fostering long-term customer loyalty.

Why Creating an Impactful Post-purchase Experience is Important for Your E-commerce Business

Why Creating an Impactful Post-purchase Experience is Important for Your E-commerce Business

A customer just ordered from your e-commerce store. You’re on cloud nine, and why wouldn’t you be – you just converted a prospect into a customer. But as exciting as getting orders is, you can’t rest on your laurels just yet.  

This is only the third stage of a buyer’s journey (shown below). You are now no longer accommodating a prospect looking for a solution, you are now dealing with a consumer who is looking to get value from your brand and products.

What happens after a purchase is just as important to the bottom line as the initial purchase. Data from Salesforce shows that 80% of customers say the experience provided by a company is as important as the products and services they sell. Meanwhile, 57% of customers said they stopped buying from a company because of a competitor who delivered a better experience.

And yet, most e-commerce businesses are reluctant to invest in or even properly understand the post-purchase experience. 

So, what exactly is the post-purchase experience (PPX)?

To define it simply, it’s how you treat a customer after they have made a purchase from your e-commerce store – the journey that commences right after checkout. 

A lot goes into designing a post-purchase experience that will convert skeptical buyers into raving fans. How do you think Amazon took over the marketplace landscape? From super-slick fulfillment to timely feedback requests, simple returns, and refunds, they’ve nailed many aspects of the buying journey – at least when it comes to a marketplace-based shopping experience.

Components of a winning post-purchase experience

Now that you know what the term “post-purchase experience” entails, here’s a look at some typical touchpoints of a post-purchase experience:

  • Fast, on-time delivery (such as through Ohi’s 2-hour, same-day, and next-day delivery options)
  • Real-time order tracking & updates that are on-brand
  • Product care tips and optimal usage suggestions
  • Simple returns & refunds process
  • Post-purchase feedback
  • Value-adding upsells and cross-sells
  • Sustainable e-commerce fulfillment

A great after-sale experience will encourage retention, increase sales, and improve your brand’s reputation.

A few good reasons why your e-commerce business needs to optimize post-purchase customer experience

In the words of Kristen LaFrance, the head of Shopify’s Resilient Retail series:

“In e-commerce, you don’t have the same face-to-face sales interaction that you would in a retail setting, so you have to take care of some of those steps post-purchase when you finally have a direct line of communication with the customer.”

Optimizing the post-purchase experience can therefore be an excellent customer retention strategy, and it doesn’t require brands to spend a king’s ransom to do so either. And with better first-party customer data, direct-to-consumer (DTC/D2C) brands should have a competitive edge here, because understanding customers better is the key to optimizing the post-purchase experience. 

Optimizing the post-purchase experience will increase customer retention, improve AOV and repeat purchase rate. 

Once your e-commerce business is relatively well-optimized, your top priority shifts to retaining customers.

Repeat customers are, after all, the holy grail of your e-commerce business, and a well-optimized post-purchase experience will help increase the average order value (AOV), reduce customer churn, and increase customer lifetime value (CLV), which all ultimately dictate your bottom line.

This is why Ohi focuses on amplifying the e-commerce post-purchase experiences for its partner brands. By enabling ultra fast delivery (including sub 2hr) and on-brand, customizable post-purchase communications, Ohi helps brands deliver a positive and powerful post-purchase experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

The impact? Ohi brand partners see significant ROI, including an average 28% increase in conversion and up to 120% higher repeat purchase rates.

It’s how you foster brand loyalty!

To build long-term brand loyalty, emphasize how your customers will benefit from sticking with your brand. Setting up a memorable post-purchase experience will help you influence how your customer thinks, and most importantly, how they feel about their purchase and their relationship with your brand.
When you deliver exceptional post-purchase experiences, existing customers develop loyalty toward your brand.

Part of the reason for enhanced loyalty is that these positive customer experiences can help foster an emotional connection, which studies have found capable of driving as much as a 306% higher LTV for your online business.

An optimized post-purchase customer experience also leads to higher customer advocacy. 

According to Nielson, 92% of customers said they trust the product recommendations provided by their family and friends.

When you offer care and support even after they have purchased from you, you give them a reason to stick with your company.

A positive post-experience results in happier customers, higher retention, better reviews, and more positive word of mouth for your company. Make absolutely sure your brand is doing everything in its power to provide the best PPX on the market and drive as many potential consumers through the entire customer lifecycle, from the minute they encounter your brand to the point where they are self-propelled advocates for your brand and your products.

What helps people, helps business – Leo Burnett (American advertising executive) 

Post-purchase experience is not limited to a post-purchase “thank you” email. And going beyond just an email is the difference between standing out and fading out in the customer’s memory. You have to push the envelope – expand your idea of what a memorable post-purchase customer experience truly entails: from checkout and order updates to fast delivery and delightful unboxing experience, to post-purchase offers and beyond.


About Ohi

At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

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