“With the boom in e-commerce, customers have become collectors of delivery experiences.” So says Thierry Spencer, a specialist in customer relations and Deputy Director of the Académie du Service*. Service quality is thus a priority when creating enhanced customer experience and preference in a marketplace.

 The challenge is always the same for any retailer breaking into a marketplace: to create a smooth vendor experience so that the end customer benefits from optimal delivery. And that goes in any circumstance, including difficult times like this current period of raw material shortages and rising transport costs. In an ideal world, the end customer should not even realize there is a problem somewhere. For the end customer, the only thing that matters is the delivery of their product on time.

 

In terms of customer experience, delivery is just as important as purchase

Let’s not forget that this is the era of convenience, of commodity. Consumers ordering online now expect more practicality and immediacy. In this regard, 89% (1) of professionals say that the priority for consumers is faster delivery. An expectation which leaves no room for approximation; a promise made to the customer must be kept. This is why vendors are strongly advised to externalize their logistics, via a Fulfillment solution. In fact, the fulfillment of orders and goods distribution are not their core activities. Thanks to externalization, vendors save time and money. Above all, they benefit from the expertise of a logistics partner. When a customer orders different items from several retailers, they have as many delivery experiences as products, with distinct lead times and delivery modes. This explains why going through a recognized player is a real advantage; a player such as Octopia, who has shipped over 23 million packages annually to date and delivers directly to 20 countries in Europe. Octopia works with some 3,000 French and international vendors. Vendors who are happy not to have to deal with this operational aspect because Octopia manages it for them with total flexibility and guided by 4 paramount criteria:

  • Speed of execution,
  • A fair price,
  • Rock solid reliability,
  • A broad range of options for greater choice.

“Choosing a Fulfillment service provider means that a vendor can optimize all four, which is difficult when you work alone”, Benjamin Hamilton, Octopia’s Fulfillment Director, explains.

With this excellence factor in mind, Octopia’s Fulfillment module enables a vendor working in several marketplaces to centralize all their stock and shipping information in a single place. As the sole captain at the helm of their business, they can steer all their activity more easily.

 

Virtuous delivery makes for a happy customer experience

 Octopia’s Fulfillment service not only offers all delivery modes, from home (D+3-5), to express (D+1) and pick-up point delivery (J+3-5), it also takes environmental constraints into account.

“Octopia organizes a tailor-made delivery service and is committed alongside its partners to reducing its environmental impact, in particular by using electric vehicles and recyclable packaging”, the expert explains.

This is in line with consumer expectations: 55% (2) of consumers say that, in the future, they will not buy from distributors, brands or a marketplace that do not meet their expectations in terms of online purchasing. Respect for the environment is their primary concern. Around 70% (2) of consumers would like to see distributors and brands adopting more ecological practices (less packaging, reduced carbon footprint and environmentally-friendly delivery vehicles).

 

Delivery service, a building block of loyalty

The strategic step in customer experience

Delivery is the physical contact point with the end customer. Well-designed delivery is an excellent way for the vendor to optimize the customer’s experience and encourage repeat purchases. If the delivery process is smooth for the customer, with adequate tracking, then it’s easy sailing for the vendor! To achieve this, information must be easily accessible; for the customer who wants to know where their package is in real time, and for the vendor who can steer their business with more precision. Multiple flows complicate this task. “But not for us, with an average 250 million updates per day”, he emphasizes.

 

High-quality service, a mark of confidence for the customer

The trust a consumer places in the vendor is also based on the range of services on offer. Returns management is a key service. Professionals have fully taken this message on board and are working to improve their returns management: 38% (1) say they have implemented a more flexible returns system. "From experience, we know that in France, between 2% and 4% of orders are returned, an average which can be higher for certain categories”, Benjamin admits. “The vendor doesn’t have time to waste on this potentially costly aspect. That’s why we offer to handle the customer’s return declaration, the recovery and identification of the product and its return to stock.”

 

The complete tailor-made Fulfillment solution

Lastly, thanks to efficient Fulfillment, the vendor has access to all the logistics information they need to communicate effectively with their customer. “This also has a positive impact on the customer’s perception. Feedback tells us that vendors who integrate Fulfillment by Octopia (compared to those who don’t) generate 15 extra points on the all-important Net Promoter Score (NPS)** loyalty indicator”, he points out. “Of course, the vendor isn’t left to fend for themselves at the helm of the portal which provides access to all their flows; they are assisted by an account manager and our support teams, who provide guidance in managing this tool”.

Support doesn’t stop there. The aim is to continue offering facilities to vendors to maximize their business. How? By incorporating artificial intelligence. “We hope that, in a near future, our tool will be able to propose strategic decisions to them in one click, such as the immediate transfer of goods from one warehouse to another in anticipation of a surplus in orders for a geographical area”, he announces. Enhanced forecasting and optimized business for the vendor, thus.

 

Discover Octopia Fulfillment

 

(1) Havas survey/Paris Retail Week, September 2021

(2) "Future Shopper 2021” study, WPP, September 2021

*The Académie du Service is the French leader in business consulting for the development of service culture and enhanced customer relations.

** Net Promoter Score (NPS): Percentage of customers who assess the probability of their recommending a company to a friend or workmate at 9 or 10, minus the percentage placing this probability at 6 or less on a scale of 0 to 10.