How to Excel at Managing Shopper Expectations During the Peak Season

How to Excel at Managing Shopper Expectations During the Peak Season

For the annual peak season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), retailers prepare months in advance to source the best products, create the most enticing marketing campaigns, and plan the most efficient supply chain. Yet all too often, the same retailers fail to devote adequate focus on managing shoppers’ order fulfillment expectations during and after the purchasing process, risking serious damage to their bottom lines and brand perception.

In this article, you will understand the following:

-       Why managing shopper expectations matters

-       How AfterShip can help

-       How other retailers are succeeding in managing shopper expectations

Part 1: Why managing shopper expectations matters

1.     Evolving shopper expectations

In the age of instant gratification, shoppers have increasingly higher expectations when it comes to delivery. A staggering 41% of shoppers now anticipate their orders to arrive within 24 hours. Furthermore, 82% of customers consider proactive communication essential during every fulfillment and delivery stage.

2.     Challenges during BFCM

During peak seasons such as BFCM, the challenges in meeting these high expectations are exacerbated. The surge in package volume leads to slower last-mile deliveries, made worse by unpredictable factors like adverse weather. Maintaining timely delivery becomes a daunting task. And surges in demand can overwhelm retailers’ support teams, leading to slower response times.

The Critical Question: With the deluge of packages during BFCM, how can retailers address the ever-higher shopper expectations regarding package delivery?

Part 2: How AfterShip can help retailers better manage shopper expectations during peak seasons

Retailers need reliable solutions to address these challenges, and this is how AfterShip can help:

1.     Accurate delivery estimates

AfterShip empowers retailers to provide shoppers with accurate and transparent delivery information, building trust. Using AfterShip Tracking's branded tracking pages, retailers can offer real-time tracking statuses and estimated delivery dates (EDDs) based on AfterShip EDD capabilities. This ensures shoppers can easily check when their package is expected to arrive. Retailers can also set up EDDs as a date range to avoid overpromising, which can lead to disappointment if not met.

Unforeseen circumstances during transit can be addressed through automated and branded notifications from AfterShip Tracking, ensuring that shoppers are promptly informed if their EDD is revised or missed.

Powered by AI, AfterShip EDD uses machine learning and rule-based algorithms to ensure more successful deliveries and boost customer trust. By continually updating its predictions with dynamic adjustments that consider variables such as holidays, weather, and traffic, AfterShip EDD delivers up-to-date and reliable delivery estimates.

2.     Preparing shoppers for delivery

Shoppers eagerly anticipate their package's arrival, especially during peak shopping seasons. Retailers should provide the expected delivery date and update shoppers about key delivery stages, such as when the package is "out for delivery" or "available for pickup." This empowers shoppers to make the necessary arrangements, reducing the chances of failed delivery attempts.

In regions such as the U.S., where age verification is required for receiving certain items like wine and luxury goods, it becomes even more crucial to enable shoppers to plan ahead.

3. Proactive shopper updates

Retailers understand that after checkout, shoppers are primarily concerned about their packages' status. Questions like when it will be shipped, where it is, and when it will arrive create a significant volume of "Where Is My Order?" (WISMO) requests, overwhelming support teams. AfterShip's rule-based notifications and shipment visibility dashboard offer solutions to manage shopper expectations and streamline internal operations effectively.

AfterShip offers rule-based notifications that enable retailers to keep customers informed about their shipment status proactively. This reduces WISMO requests and reassures anxious shoppers by keeping them informed about shipping exceptions, resulting in better customer experience and their affinity for such proactive-thinking retailers. Having automated rule-based notifications also has the added benefit of lightening the workload on a retailer’s customer service staff. 

In conjunction with rule-based notifications, AfterShip’s shipment visibility dashboard is a centralized hub where you easily monitor shipment status and address customer WISMO inquiries. With the dashboard, a retailer can readily spot shipment exceptions, enabling them to contact carriers proactively to resolve issues before customers notice, helping to reduce WISMO requests. Furthermore, instead of navigating carrier websites individually, retailers can conveniently oversee all shipments in one centralized dashboard, drastically reducing the time and effort required.

Based on aggregated data from AfterShip research, brands typically see a 65% open rate and up to a 75% reduction in WISMO tickets.

Part 3: How other retailers are succeeding in managing shopper expectations

AfterShip has proven to be a game-changer for many retailers, including:

  • Moda Operandi: This leading online fashion retailer uses AfterShip’s shipment notification capabilities to improve the post-purchase experience. Customers can conveniently access real-time updates, reinforcing their comfort with their orders and affinity for the brand. At the same time, Moda Operandi has seen a 65% reduction in WISMO tickets, which has yielded decreases in workload and associated costs.
  • Vivino: The world’s largest online wine marketplace (and most downloaded wine app) uses AfterShip Tracking's fully customizable notifications and branded tracking pages to significantly enhance the customer experience. Customers are notified when their favorite bottles of wine would arrive and are provided personalized product recommendations. The AfterShip Tracking-enabled engagement has not only helped to manage shopper expectations but also created new monetization opportunities. In addition, Vivino has witnessed a 50% drop in WISMO tickets, thanks to proactive and on-time delivery updates enabled by AfterShip Tracking.

Shoppers today expect rapid deliveries, emphasizing the importance of maintaining transparent and proactive communications at every fulfillment stage. During BFCM, the challenges of meeting these expectations are magnified with package surges, weather disruptions, and overwhelmed support teams. But with AfterShip Tracking and AfterShip EDD solutions, many retailers are finding success in managing shopper expectations—by not overpromising, preparing shoppers for deliveries, and reducing WISMO requests.  Savvy retailers, such as Moda Operandi and Vivino, can attest to the effectiveness of AfterShip in managing shopper expectations and enhancing their brand perception.