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Doing Our Homework

Building Great Ecommerce Customer Experiences

Don’t forget about packaging

Amazon recently struck a deal with Universal Studios to ‘wrap’ their packaging in bright yellow to promote the July 10 release of the movie Minions. Many publications discussed the opportunities that this type of advertising could provide retailers, but in our office, we chatted about how much fun it would be to get those special edition boxes. It turns out we’re not the only ones as the boxes are already appearing for sale on eBay. It got us talking about the physical element of the ecommerce customer experience.

At Tenzing, we’re big believers in ‘eating our own dog food’ – whether that’s testing out site optimizer on our site or going above and beyond to understand our clients and industry better. One way we do this is by encouraging our employees to shop online. No one takes this charge more seriously than our Vice President of Service Delivery, Elizabeth Scott.

I don’t know if everyone in our industry takes their ‘homework’ as seriously as I do, but over the last few years my family and I have embraced online shopping. It is like Christmas every day in our home, with packages arriving constantly. Is it strange that the delivery people don’t ask my name anymore? Shopping online has helped me understand our customers and industry better and at this point, I just couldn’t go back to a busy mall parking lot.

As well as being an avid online shopper, I am very familiar with the business and technology of ecommerce, so it takes a lot to impress me. I manage Tenzing’s support and service teams, so I know a lot about delighting customers and providing exemplary service. The shopping experience does not stop once the customer has checked out and left the site; you can create meaningful touch points even after they receive their package. Recently there have been two online shopping experiences that did just that, and I wanted to share these relatively small, simple ways that retailers can elevate the customer experience.

michael korsFirst up was Michael Kors – I ordered sunglasses online last month. As a first time customer, I did some mulling over the purchase, visiting both the mobile and desktop sites a couple of times before purchasing. Needless to say the site was fast on both devices, performance was smooth and the site was easy to navigate. To be honest, the site experience was not what impressed me; I expect this type of experience.

I think a lot of retailers underestimate the impact they can have with their packaging. In an online purchase, the packaging represents a customer’s first physical interaction with your product and brand. There is an incredible opportunity to make an impact, to inject personality into an otherwise non-descript part of the buyer’s journey.

simonsAnother retailer that comes to mind when I think of elevating the physical element of an ecommerce transaction is Simons. La Maison Simons is an iconic department store that has operated in Quebec for almost 200 years. Their in-store experience is focused on a strong customer service, and locals can spot the iconic green shopping bag from across the street.

By upgrading their packaging from a simple brown shipping box, Simons has tied the online shopping experience back to their stores, leveraging an iconic element of their brand to elevate the ecommerce experience.

Keep in mind, the extra touches from these retailers wouldn’t have mattered if their site didn’t function properly, or their shipping was delayed. These are tactics to consider once you have built a complete shopping experience and are looking for extra elements to delight your customers.

– Elizabeth Scott, VP of Service Delivery at Tenzing


Editor’s Note

I couldn’t agree more with Elizabeth’s sentiment – in fact, when we discussed the idea for this blog post, I thought immediately of one of my favorite online stores.

Net-a-porter is recognized all over the world for its success as a luxury ecommerce destination, and part of their success comes from their attention to the customer experience, including the physical elements. The first time I ordered from the site, I was blown away by the sleek, beautifully tied box. Inside, I was thrilled to find a small bag with a measuring tape and notebook – for me to measure and record my sizes for future purchases. As a marketer I was amazed that they had created a memorable experience for me, but also addressed one of their businesses challenges. Many people don’t want to order apparel online in case it doesn’t fit – here they gave me all of the tools and instructions to ensure future purchases would fit perfectly. It continues to be one of my favorite sites, and years later, I still have that measuring tape.

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