Creating experiences customers expect, deserve and appreciate


A gargantuan shift towards online shopping has happened in 2020, with ecommerce seeing a decade of growth in just three months. Data from Salesforce’s Shopping Index shows global revenue from online sales in the second quarter of 2020 grew by a massive 71 per cent year on year.

In addition, the KMPG-BRC UK Retail Sales Monitor reported online non-food purchases accounted for 39.3 per cent of all sales in August 2020 compared to 29 per cent last year. This surge in online orders has been seen across all industries, including fashion, and is set to continue.

Even when the pandemic is finally contained, ecommerce platforms are likely to retain this increased popularity. With customers spending so much more of their lives online, they want to receive the same high-quality service as they do in-store. Satisfying customers’ digital expectations, therefore, is the biggest challenge retailers face.

But how do they do this? Fashion retailers need to revisit their customer personas and adapt them to this new normal. Additionally, reviewing their entire customer journey and investing in cutting-edge technology to fill the gaps is paramount. By revisiting their digital strategy in this way, the fashion brands that are succeeding in this new world have one thing in common: they have made customer experience their top priority.

Meeting customer expectations

So, what do these brands know about customer expectations that their rivals don’t? A survey by market research company Forrester found 70 per cent of customers said they would not shop with an e-retailer again if it failed to inform them of a delay.

But it is what parcelLab discovered about the current post-sales strategies of e-retailers that is most compelling. The parcelLab UK Shipping Study 2020: Fashion Edition found 93 per cent of fashion retailers ignore their customers after dispatch. In addition, 99 per cent do not tailor shipping messages to the customer. This lack of post-purchase care is a big problem for fashion retailers that rely so heavily on customer loyalty.

How should fashion brands adapt to a changing world?

The question many executives are asking is how do online fashion brands not just improve customer satisfaction, but exceed expectations? Trailblazers in the industry are achieving their goals by regaining full control of the end-to-end customer journey. Secondly, they are creating a fully branded customer experience, rethinking customer values and priorities and using omnichannel marketing to reach more and
more customers.

They are also investing heavily in the customer journey after checkout by hosting order status pages in their own ecosystems. These provide greater visibility, generate fewer customer inquiries and, if used correctly, turn post-sales communication into future repeat purchases.

How parcelLab is making a difference

By using real-time data, from the brand, the carrier and the customer, and targeted communication, parcelLab helps forward-thinking brands revolutionise the customer journey by closing the post-sales experience gap. That’s why many fashion retailers, including Farfetch, s.Oliver, Gerry Weber and Shoe Zone, are choosing to partner with parcelLab.

We help create and send the right messaging notifications to the customer at the right time

A leading operations experience platform, parcelLab gives businesses control of their post-sales customer journey. They are helping brands to create bespoke post-purchase communications that are clear, reassuring and, most importantly, manage customer expectations. Research by parcelLab reveals that when fashion companies get these comms right, customer inquiries are 25 per cent lower.

Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and chief executive of parcelLab, says: “Composing post-purchase communications may seem a simple task, but it is amazing how many companies get them wrong. That’s infuriating for the customer. All they want to know is, ‘When will my parcel arrive?’, ‘Where is it?’, ‘Is it on time?’ and ‘Are there any issues?’ We help them to create and send the right messaging notifications to the customer at the right time.”

Helping customers to engage better with consumers

With its smart data engine and targeted communication, parcelLab also helps companies to increase repurchase rates dramatically.

Buxhoidt explains: “In fashion retail, there is one universal constant for brands; that is to always return happy customers. The 500-plus global brands we work with recognise the value of investing in operations experience. In fact, they experience a 90 per cent increase in repurchasing rates from our communications. That’s pretty significant.

“Sending personalised and proactive post-purchase notifications to customers is an integral part of the customer journey. Not only does it build trust, but it unlocks the door to increased customer engagement. When customers feel engaged, they are much more open to reading emails.”

Take parcelLab’s research data, for example. It shows transactional emails have click rates three times higher than marketing emails and generate four times more revenue. Therefore, the evidence seems to show fashion brands that go the extra mile to produce thoughtful transactional communications will also generate more sales.

So, what should these transactional emails look like? Buxhoidt says the pandemic has created what he calls “the next new customer”. This is somebody who not only expects the post-purchase experience to run like clockwork, but also wants content that adds value.

Buxhoidt says: “It might be a message, which also includes a video tutorial on how to build the bike they’ve just bought or user-generated content showing styling ideas for their new garment. Whatever the value-add, it presents the brand with a unique opportunity to reinforce the notion that the customer made a great choice buying from them. It is this kind of personal interaction that binds the customer to the brand and increases customer lifetime value.”

The future: the power of post-purchase communication in a pandemic

Buoyed by its success, parcelLab launched a brand-new returns experience hub within its platform this year. The interactive tool will enable brands already working with parcelLab to communicate across the entire customer journey, adding the final piece to their operations experience puzzle.

You really do sense that Buxhoidt, who likes to surf in his spare time, and the team at parcelLab will make even bigger waves as more fashion brands begin to realise the largely untapped value of operations experience.

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