Jun 18, 2015

Here's a quote from Patrick Wall of Metapack:

"The most important promise you make an e-commerce customer is to deliver"

Make sense? It should. Pick any Amazon Marketplace product on Amazon.com (who have one of the largest repositories of user generated reviews on the planet) and see how many of them talk not about the product but about the speed, accuracy, and quality of the delivery service. You'll note, however, that we're looking at the Marketplace products here, not Amazon's own deliveries. We're not looking at Amazon's own deliveries because Amazon have got them (mostly) right. Amazon, in fact, lose a staggering amount of money when it comes to shipping (an estimated $11 per Amazon Prime customer according to Time).

So, are Amazon completely insane? No, they're not.

What Amazon understand is how hard won and how valuable an e-commerce customer is. They understand the true value of customer retention versus customer acquisition and they know that $11 is a small price to pay for a customer who is willing to pay $79 to be a customer in the first place.

The point here is that the most important part of your e-commerce strategy isn't something that your web designer, SEO specialist, UX specialist, copywriter, graphic designer, or software developer is going to think about. The most important part of your e-commerce strategy is what happens to that order after it has been taken. It's what happens after it has fallen out of the bottom of your e-commerce website and into whatever system you're using to manage your stock, warehouse, and dispatching.

Impress a customer with a quick, cost-effective (or better, free) delivery, and they are significantly more likely to return to your website for a second purchase. With customer retention estimated to be as little as 20% of customer acquisition, this should be a no-brainer. However, it is the area that the vast majority of e-commerce businesses, especially start-ups, fail at.

So, when you're next looking at your e-commerce strategy, put yourself in the customers' shoes and ask yourself what they expect from you. The answer is simple: they expect you to deliver.