According to Deloitte, “Neuroscience studies can be used to identify motivating elements that increase customer motivation-to-buy. This is in addition to removing distractions in the online shop and thus improving the overall shopping experience”. It gives retail businesses a better understanding of consumer decision-making, which in turn helps provide the best eCommerce delivery experiences.

More specifically, it allows organisations to understand the non-conscious response that humans have when they’re exposed to certain stimuli. Interestingly, according to Prof Gerald Zaltman from Harvard Business School, 95% of our purchase decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind.  

Why focus on post-purchase experience 

Recently, we conducted a first-of-its-kind barometer. This is based on the 40 elements that scientific studies suggest are the most important for customer experience across the buying journey. Pre-purchase and post-purchase points are emphasised within this.

The study delved into the mind of customers to predict the likely human response to online shopping stimuli. The average customer journey score for fashion retailers was 80.7 out of 100. There wasn’t much disparity either among brands.  

These results show that most retailers are pretty much hitting the mark when it comes to offering excellent delivery experiences. But if all brands are doing a good job, how can any hope to cut through the noise? 

While it’s reassuring that the neuroscience analysis shows relatively consistent scores, this also poses a challenge. In a market this crowded, with customer acquisition costing five times more than customer retention, competitive edge is absolutely business critical. No one wants, or can afford, to blend into the pack. 

The secret to wowing customers today is not chasing competition and offering the benchmark standard. You must go above and beyond. And going by the results of this study, post-purchase experience is where this opportunity is.  

Wowing your customers in the post purchase phase  

Assessing the pre-purchase and post-purchase barometer split, the latter scores were, on average, higher than pre-purchase. It suggests that the delivery and returns experiences we saw were likely to create a more positive response in customers. 

However, the post-purchase experience can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is where brands can innovate and make a point of differentiation. On the other, if their experience is only good but not outstanding, shoppers will likely go somewhere else.  

With this in mind, what can brands do to stand out from the crowd?

Here is a four-point action plan: 

  1. Don’t lose momentum on delivery experience innovation investment – because your competitors aren’t. Any lapse in progression in this space is likely to see you fall behind. 
  1. Delivery experiences begin before the buy button – so use delivery and returns as a conversion tool. Neuroscientists have noted that consumers abandon their purchase for several reasons, both consciously and unconsciously. Current industry figures show that the basket abandonment rate is 70% over the whole web, and the biggest cause of this is unexpected shipping costs. Therefore, it is important to clearly show the returns process and delivery options at this stage to influence the buy button.   
  1. Look to parcel tracking, customer delivery and returns updates as a lever to reduce delivery failures and customer contact centre strain. According to our research, 80% of all customer contacts ask, ‘where is my order’ (WISMO) or ‘where is my return’ (WISMR). Meaning delivery is the biggest driver of queries. Self-serve customer tracking pages and regular communications can massively increase customer satisfaction scores, and first-time delivery success while reducing customer service contacts at the same time.  
  1. Make clear, convenient, and consistent delivery experiences a loyalty tool. Our previous survey has shown that 75% of consumers would stop using a retailer if they frequently messed up communication updates regarding their delivery, and 21% said not having regular updates on the progress of their deliveries would make them shop elsewhere. That’s why a strong delivery experience is crucial if you want to keep your customers click happy. 

With a possible recession looming, an opportunity is there for the brands who can differentiate effectively. No doubt, making improvements to your post-purchase offering carries more impact, compared to high-effort low-return marginal gains that happen before the buy button.  

With delivery experience alone making up to 35% of the overall customer journey experience, this is where the difference is made.  This is how brands can ensure their offering is great enough to stand out in such a competitive market.  

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