For most Americans, shopping online is nothing new. In fact, 53% of Americans purchased something online in 2011. But while shopping online is not exactly novel, it’s still a process that can be fraught with indecision, uncertainty and, when something occasionally does not meet expectations, frustration for consumers. For some online shoppers, there are a lot of unknowns when buying sight unseen, such as:
  • Am I sure this is the right color?
  • Will the quality meet my expectations?
  • Will it fit?
  • What if it arrives broken or damaged?
  • What if the package gets lost?
  • What if the package is delivered, but I’m not home?
  • How long will I have to wait for a refund after I make a return?
Fortunately for e-tailers, many of these concerns can be addressed and minimized in two simple steps allowing customers to feel comfortable clicking “buy now”. 1. Have a clear, well-defined returns policy. Returns policies that clearly state when an item can be returned and for what reasons can give would-be purchasers the confidence to click “buy.” Review your current returns policy and ensure that it includes specific instructions on how and where online returns can be made—can they be returned in-store? Do they include a pre-paid returns label? Can they be dropped off at any U.S.P.S. location? 2. Provider your customers with detailed package tracking information. Partner with a reverse logistics company that provides detailed data for both retailer and consumer. Newgistics’ Transit Triggers service starts with dynamic barcodes on our delivery and SmartLabel® return shipping labels. They’re embedded with an extraordinarily rich level of data, integrating tracking information with order-specific details. Here’s how Transit Triggers Work: Once an order ships, parcel scan events can generate automated customer emails containing updates on shipment status as well as precisely targeted marketing messages. So while you’re providing peace of mind, you can cross-sell similar merchandise or offer promotions based on the customer’s order history. Newgistics even enables you to start notifying customers about tracking events sooner, since we provide visibility on outbound parcels as soon as they enter our network. Even when orders are returned, you can transform the anxious wait for an account credit into a positive brand interaction that promotes repeat purchases. Eliminating the “black hole” of uncertainty with an easy-to-understand, customer-centric returns policy and an accessible package tracking system goes a long way toward building a shopper’s confidence and improving their willingness to purchase online.  While shopping online may have lost its novelty, shopping online with greater confidence will not go out of fashion.