The selling process does not end once an order is placed. After an order is made online your are still in the process of selling. This is because when a product is ordered there are chances of them being returned. The average rate of product returns on online marketplaces can range from 5-35%. To bring down this rate of returns you can try after sales services which have proved helpful in many cases. In addition to decreasing your returns, after sales services can also help you lure in customers to purchase more.
When IOS asked Twitter followers what are the ideal practices after a sale we received the following response –
There are a set of after-sales activities that online sellers need conduct for effective online retail. These smoothen the sales process and increase chances of repeat sales. Here’s what you need to do to keep customers interested:
Conduct quality checks
Checking the quality of your products is a good practice. It allows you to ensure only the cream of the crop is delivered to your buyers. Final quality checks (QCs) should be conducted before packing your products for delivery. Make sure the product is intact and even its original packaging is perfect. Over time, while your products lie in storage, there are chances of damages being caused. By inspecting your goods you can avoid shipping bad units to valuable online consumers.
If you plan on providing your goods to online marketplace fulfilment centres, make sure to check all units before sending them across. This way the platform has only your best products to deliver to customers.
Match the product order
Besides quality, you will also need to check if you are readying the correct product while packaging. Follow the correct SKU codes printed on your manifest and products. This way you know you are delivering the correct items. Besides product mix-ups, you could also run the risk of shipping incomplete orders to your customers. For example, you sell a particular dress with a belt and coat but you forget to pack these accessories with the dress and send it off for shipping, you will have returns to face.
Delivery of wrong products entails negative reviews from customers and fines from online marketplaces plus shipping charges. This also goes for freebies that are promised to customers online but not packaged with the product. Make sure your packaging team is aware of your promotion plans and is ready to complete all orders precisely.
Personalise every order
You can make things personal, by thanking your customers through words, rewards and a little something extra. Leave thank you notes in your product packages to show your appreciation for their interest in your goods. These notes can include a discount code for your products on marketplaces. Or, you can include style guides along with them to help your customer get the most out of a product (like a scarf, belt, coat, jacket, etc) they bought from you.
You can also add catalogues of you current products for the season. This way, customers can check out other products and styles you have to offer. These little activities can help improve the customer’s perception of you. You can also throw in a request for reviews into the packaging. It can get you the visibility and attention you need to stand out on an online marketplace.
Take your packaging seriously
The main purpose behind product packaging is to protect your products from the elements and rough handling. There are multiple ways to wrap a product, but the best thing to do is follow marketplace packaging guidelines to avoid any damage to your products. And, in turn, returns. Besides the compulsory marketplace packaging, sellers can also use their own brand packaging to boost luxury vibes and create an air of sophistication. Your own packaging can create a lasting impression on buyers so make sure you keep it interesting. However, remember, additional layers of packaging add to your costs of shipping. So, package wisely.
Ensure timely pickups
With lakhs of online sellers to cater to, courier companies are not going to wait around for you to finish your order preparations. This means your products need to be checked and rechecked way before the pickup person drops by. To help you speed up your process to keep orders ready for pick up make sure you:
- Have sufficient packaging material
- Have enough stock available
- Have your products packed when the courier person arrives
For products to reach their destination fastest it is ideal to dispatch them on the same day the order is placed.
Pick the right fulfilment centre
Based on the demand for your products, choose a fulfilment centre. Say you receive most of your demand from cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. Try to get your goods into the fulfilment centres in these cities or locations close to these. Amazon mostly allocates fulfilment centres to online sellers based on categories and availability. For other platforms, you can choose where you want your products to end up. With your goods closer to the places where demand originates, you can cut down delivery time even further.
Remember, the main takeaway here is customer experience. It may seem like you are doing unappreciated work after a sale, however, if you slack when it comes to pick-ups, delivery, packaging or even product quality you run the risk of obtaining negative reviews, bad publicity and ultimately no sales. That is why you need to keep selling even after a sale online.