Late deliveries are the classic lose-lose for both retailers and their customers. They are particularly painful during the holiday season, when the calendar creates a drop-dead deadline and shipping volumes balloon.
UncommonGoods took steps to deal with this challenge well ahead of the holiday season. For Father’s Day 2017, the retailer used a delivery intelligence platform from Convey to proactively identify shipments that were going to miss their promised delivery dates — days ahead of the actual deadline. UncommonGoods used this information to expedite new shipments guaranteed to arrive at their destinations on time. Meanwhile, existing in-transit shipments were intercepted by the carrier and returned to the warehouse.
“We take that promise very seriously,” said MC Halfpenny, Director of Operations at UncommonGoods in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “You’re trusting us to take care of your favorite person. We’re not into overpromising and underdelivering. What we say we’re going to do is what we want to do.”
Relying on carrier data alone can hamper retailers’ abilities to improve the delivery experience. Even if carrier performance data is complete and accurate 100% of the time, it still only tells part of the story. Even when carriers meet all their delivery deadlines, issues such as missed pickups cause delivery delays for the end consumer. Because of such delays, UncommonGoods communicates to work against the order promise date, not the estimated delivery date.
Keeping The Shopper On Brand
Prior to working with Convey, UncommonGoods sent order confirmation emails that included a tracking number. But these emails would link to the third-party carrier’s pages to provide information on where the product was and when it would be shipped, taking the shopper away from the UncommonGoods brand. With Convey, the retailer was able to streamline the marketing of its post-purchase experience under its own brand, all while improving operations behind the scenes.
“With the text message signups that can happen on Convey on that tracking page, the customers can know something’s going on,” Halfpenny said. “On the other side of that, we have a dashboard called the command center that our customer service team also is monitoring. With the dashboard, the team can see issues such as address corrections. When you’re sending a lot of gifts, sometimes a purchaser doesn’t actually know the address of their gift recipient. With the command center, we can anticipate something is wrong when that happens, and will be able to correct it and ensure the product gets there in time. If for some reason we can’t do it with a package that’s already on its way, we will typically reship that out at our expense.”
Post-Purchase Feedback Improves The Experience
UncommonGoods requests that shoppers provide post-purchase email feedback on all packages.
“People share details,” Halfpenny said. “Sometimes they’re voicing frustration, and because there is still time, we can solve that issue and make it right. That’s been a great opportunity for a shopper to communicate back with us.As we build up this history of them knowing they’re going to get this kind of experience, they’re going to expect it from us — as they should.
“The good news is that type of feedback is much easier to work with than a phone call from a customer waiting on the other side of the line,” Halfpenny added. “When you’re getting back to an email within our set goal of two hours, it’s a lot easier to handle that.”