How to Win the Waiting Game

You build your brand experience to optimize everything about the online shopping experience. Mobile Responsive? Check. SEO? Check. Awesome product copy? Check. Beautiful product photos? Check. Optimized shopping cart? Check. Your customer punches in her credit card details, sits back…and waits.

What will happen next? Your customers are probably experiencing a wide range of emotions right about now.

  • Excitement (I can’t wait to get my new Darth Vader thumb drive!)
  • Anticipation (I hope this candle has a $5,000 ring!)
  • Urgency (This gift better arrive in time for my friend’s birthday!)
  • Wariness (Will my new umbrella work like it says?)

Chances are your customers are checking back frequently to find out where their packages are. Has it been shipped? What is the estimated delivery time?

Providing shipping and tracking information for your customers is a best practice for multiple reasons. First, customers expect it. Second, providing the information reduces strain on customer service (Where is my package? When will it arrive?) Perhaps most importantly, tracking information also reduces chargebacks. Customers are less likely to cancel an order when they see it’s already en route.

But is there a way to leverage what is basically a transactional experience for the customer into more brand engagement? Turns out, your customers are checking on their delivery tracking a lot. Furthermore, the customers that do check their orders, do so more than once.

Instead of bumping your customers off to the shipping carrier and forfeiting any possibility of an up sell, why not bring them directly back to your site? Sophisticated brand retailers like Nordstrom, Bonobos, and One Kings Lane have all shifted their delivery tracking to an onsite model. In fact, by implementing onsite delivery information, Symphony brands noticed an immediate increase in visits – over 10% of landing page sessions were checking on the status of their orders.

Remember that this is basically free traffic that you would have been sending directly to FedEx, UPS, or USPS. Considering how much energy and money goes into getting website traffic, onsite tracking offers brands an easy way to up sell and reinforce brand identity.

Savvy brands want to own as much of the customer experience as possible: onsite tracking provides a way to re-engage customers during the waiting period from the excitement of the order to the “moment of truth” when your customer receives her awesome new product.

(You did use your own unique packaging, so your customer had another great brand touch point, right? Of course you did.)