Tips to ramp up Christmas sales

With online shopping booming and Christmas gift buying just ahead of us, Australian online retailers can increase sales and convert visitors to customers by enacting changes to their delivery and returns systems.

“Delivery, returns and theft concerns make online shoppers cautious, and this impacts online retailers,” says David McLean, CEO and founder of parcel collection point network, Hubbed.

“It’s not good for a brand’s reputation if deliveries don’t arrive as intended or go missing. As a consequence, brands suffer from poor customer experience.”

Online shopping in Australia continues to set a cracking pace with purchases up 26.9 per cent year-on-year (YOY) for the 12 months to 31 July 2021. Lockdowns in NSW and VIC only added to delivery volume. NSW purchases increased 12.6 per cent from 27 June 2021 to 21 August 2021.

In Victoria, online shopping grew 14.5 per cent week-on-week in the seven days to 21 August.

“This increase in consumer behaviour has a flow on effect when it comes to the last-mile delivery sector and potential delivery hiccups,” says Mclean.

As online shopping continues to rise and Covid-19 limits driver availability, timely deliveries will be stretched.

“Supporting density of delivery for carriers helps improve delivery timeframes. Carriers dropping off large volumes in a single drop to a Hubbed location increases their delivery efficiency and reduces carbon emissions.”

Here, Mclean shares his top tips for improving ecommerce delivery and returns.

1 Offer multiple delivery options. This satisfies increasing consumer demand for choice and control. Customers are placing just as much emphasis on how and where they receive their purchase as the purchase itself. Same day, next day and express delivery options are just the start.

2 Ensure you have a good returns model in place. A strong refund and returns policy can mean the difference between converting a visitor to a customer. A sound returns policy gives confidence to the buyer, while a streamlined refund process, preferable with a convenient drop-off location, offers peace of mind and helps combat buyer hesitancy.

3 Consider sustainability. Reducing your carbon footprint and showcasing actions taken towards sustainability resonates with customers. Brands should be thinking about everything from their packaging materials to delivery services. Delivery to collection points typically reduces carbon emission by 43 per cent versus delivery to home.  Further missed deliveries create an extra burden on our roads and environment.

4 Support Local. Australians have an innate desire to support Australian business and hyper-local services. Consider partners and suppliers who are using Aussie products in all parts of your product or service delivery. Online shoppers will notice and appreciate it.

5 Have a strong click and collect offer. Enabling customers to choose a click and collect option at a location near them offers increased reliability, convenience, and lowers your carbon footprint through less traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Secure parcel delivery also means less temptation for porch pirates.