E-commerce has transformed the ways customers collect, invest in, and consume products, and the collectable, valuable, one-of-a-kind goods are no exception. Emerging marketplaces and traditional sellers alike are finding their footing in creating the experiences customer expect online.
All too often, businesses consider their job done after checkout. However, the post-purchase experience is an excellent opportunity to create brand trust, and set yourself up for higher customer lifetime value.
So, what are the elements to consider when creating a post-sale strategy?
Understand your space
As e-commerce adoption accelerates, buyer behavior and expectations continue to change. Delivering a simple and intuitive checkout and post-sale experience is important while understanding that this might look different across all industries and businesses.
Establish your priorities for your buyer's experience in conjunction with your inventory and your brand values. If you sell unique or valuable objects, the post-sale process will differ from a standard lower-value transaction. While speed might be necessary for shipping coffee filters — packaging and safety take priority for a valuable antique.
Set the right expectations to ensure success
In a world of instant gratification, it helps to distinguish your unique products and services from any other online retailer. Many contribute to creating post-sale experiences — marketing, shipping coordination, and customer service all play an important role. Providing buyers clear expectations and sharing relevant resources while browsing creates checkout confidence. Clear messaging at checkout also helps set the right expectations for transit. How a good is delivered is just as important as how it’s purchased in the first place.
It's equally important to create the same understanding in-house. Having a shipping strategy is not just about figuring out how to offer next-day air — it’s about creating a system to ensure trust at each touchpoint and ensuring your team is prepared to support that system.
Work with what you have
Whether a new marketplace or a retailer selling online for years, you may have existing tools to manage your inventory. While some commerce platforms can manage your inventory, they fall short when it comes to shipping and the post-sale experience.
As an inventory management system, these platforms may have limitations regarding what type of inventory you can ship, where you can ship to, and the customer service offered along the way. This can prevent you from scaling by limiting the inventory you host and who you can sell to. These systems may also display inaccurate shipping pricing at checkout, ultimately leading to you eating the cost. Simply put, many online storefronts fall short after "Buy Now," which is only half the battle.
There are ways to leverage logistic expertise and customer service within these infrastructures. For example, if you're hosting your inventory on a Shopify storefront, consider installing Arta's Shopify App to automate global fulfillment while providing white-glove post-purchase experiences for your buyers. In this case, businesses can maintain their inventory in a familiar storefront but back it up with sophisticated quotes, tracking, and customer service. This unlocks new inventory types and ensures that a pleasant experience is had, all the way through delivery.
Give the people what they want
More than ever, buyers expect options at checkout. In some cases, it's best to give buyers full transparency, and in other scenarios, it's wise to make choices on their behalf to avoid overwhelming them and maintain brand cohesion.
Let's take transit insurance as an example. You can give your buyers the option to add transit insurance during checkout, or enable it to be automatically included. If you're giving your buyers the option, it is also essential to consider their experience should they have questions about the policy. Who is fielding those questions? In the case of a claim, who is managing that claim? All these elements ultimately reflect your business and brand.
Even more options
The rates and options you show at checkout can make or break a sale. If your inventory is diverse, you're all too familiar with the fact that one size does not fit all. Arta's shipping service tiers are thoughtfully designed around object types and logistic opportunities. Our service tiers are made to ensure we can offer the smartest and most cost-effective means of transport for any particular transaction. This means we'll consider the object's route, value, medium, fragility, size, and weight to return the best choices for fulfillment.
Growth within e-commerce enables global connection, and your fulfillment network should be able to support that growth, not hinder it. You must be familiar with cross-border shipments and all the rules and regulations you must comply with. If you don’t have experts in-house, leverage external experts to ensure your buyer has a pleasant experience throughout the shipment's journey through customs.
There are significant opportunities for client retention and brand loyalty after the sale. What proves effective for one business and product may yield different results for another. As brands continue to expand their presence in the realm of e-commerce, a substantial amount of work is required both within the business itself and in educating buyers to create a seamless post-sale experience.
It's important to remember that there is no universal solution, as business structures, technical resources, and inventory are all significant variables that influence the approach. Lean on experts, like the team at Arta, where you can, and ensure e-commerce growth creates opportunities for your business rather than blockages.