Unlocking Consumer Desires: Navigating the Fulfillment Experience

This is a guest post from Marissa Incitti. Marissa is the associate director of content for Feedvisor, where she oversees and executes the company’s content marketing strategy and initiatives. Before joining Feedvisor, she was the content marketing manager for a Fortune Global 500 omnichannel commerce technologies and operations company. She brings over a decade of content, product, and marketing experience to the SaaS technology space.

In a market where customer loyalty hangs on hassle-free transactions, fulfillment experiences are paramount to retaining online consumers. Critical elements like fulfillment and pricing can make or break a seamless shopping experience.

From hidden shipping fees to evolving buyer preferences, businesses must understand the post-purchase experience customers expect. Below, we examine what shoppers want most from their fulfillment experience and how to ensure you meet them.

3 Key factors that influence online purchases

Many factors influence online purchases, such as pricing and discounts, shipping and delivery, product reviews and ratings, trust and security, mobile optimization, and social proof, to name but a few. Among these though, the dominant forces are convenience (in the form of shipping) and cost. Both elements carry significant weight in consumer decisions and comprise the core of the digital shopping experience. 

Free shipping wins customers

In Feedvisor’s sixth annual report, 70% of consumers chose free shipping as a crucial factor when shopping on their primary online shopping destination, Amazon. Given the recessionary mindset that today’s consumers have adopted, offering free shipping will increase your chances for repeat buyers — a difficult feat when customers are willing to forgo their brand loyalty in favor of the best deal.

To offer free shipping while still protecting your profit margins, consider tips like:

  • Set a minimum order amount that qualifies for free shipping, which encourages customers to spend more while also offsetting costs.
  • Reserve free shipping for specific products or categories with higher profit margins. By doing so, you still provide an incentive without applying it across your entire inventory.
  • Leverage loyalty programs where customers pay an annual fee in exchange for free shipping on all orders (think Amazon Prime or Walmart+). Those who sign up enjoy free shipping, and you can boost your consumer loyalty.

Transparent pricing inspires trust

Consumers are willing to invest time to find the best deals online, with 76% saying they price-match specifically on Amazon. That includes final fees at checkout.

Source: Feedvisor report

Fees are a nuisance for customers and brands alike. On the business side, merchants are forced to accommodate higher fees and shipping costs by passing them along to shoppers so they can make even a small profit. However, that requires businesses to determine the optimal price point to maintain profitability amid extra fees and costs while safeguarding their brand reputation.

Thankfully, brands can save time and boost profitability by leveraging an AI-powered price optimization technology like Feedvisor’s AI-powered Repricer. These solutions are built to find the right balance between demand and value. Using sophisticated algorithms and data-driven insights from market trends, Feedvisor’s technology considers various fees based on a seller’s category and aligns them with their profit and sales goals to return optimal prices. By leveraging these tools, merchants can offer competitive deals and ensure profits while enhancing their brand’s perception among consumers.

Beyond AI-powered tools, effective pricing strategies also involve proper inventory management to avoid issues such as overstocking, which incur additional storage costs. Improper inventory management can lead to selling out and last-minute reordering at higher costs. In these scenarios, businesses may pass on these costs to consumers by adjusting their prices, often without providing clear explanations. By prioritizing efficient inventory management, businesses can steer clear of these situations and uphold transparent prices.

Speed and communication win conversions

In the dynamic and highly competitive eCommerce market, securing conversions extends beyond the cost of a product. While price and free shipping undoubtedly hold significance, two standout factors — fast shipping and communication — have emerged as pivotal elements influencing purchase decisions.

Fast shipping ranked the second most important factor in deciding whether or not to purchase a product online, with consumers now expecting not only competitive pricing but also prompt and efficient delivery. The takeaway: Free is great, but customers don’t want to wait.

Additionally, communicating expected delivery times, quality control measures, and your partnerships with reliable shipping carriers help manage customer expectations and build trust. 

We found customers, who are acutely aware of potential issues in the shipping process, highly value customer service (52%) and positive product reviews (54%) in the online shopping experience as well. This makes it imperative to have a responsive and helpful customer service team ready to address concerns. Further, positive feedback fosters trust, leading to repeat buyers and potential brand loyalty.

Wrapping up — Offer fast and free shipping with transparent pricing

Cost, time, and convenience all play a pivotal role in shaping consumer preferences and experiences in the eCommerce industry. To adapt to buyers’ demands and fluctuating desires, businesses must prioritize transparent pricing, fast and efficient shipping, and an overall refined fulfillment process. Brands that take the initiative to alter their strategies and align with buyer needs are poised for sustained success and customer loyalty.