Pitney Bowes (Stamford, Connecticut), a global technology company that provides commerce solutions in the areas of shipping and mailing, data and ecommerce, has launched Consumer Connect – a new self-service post-purchase marketing solution for retailers and brands. “Retail marketers spend a tremendous amount of time and money attracting consumers and getting them to click the ‘buy’ button – only to leave them in the hands of third-party shipping partners for tracking and notifications until the package is delivered,” said Lila Snyder, EVP and President of Commerce Services at Pitney Bowes. “This created the opportunity to introduce Consumer Connect – a self-service marketing tool to engage consumers during the critical post-purchase experience. For the first time, we’re putting control of that experience fully in the hands of retail marketers. We know from industry data that a package will receive an average of eight tracking requests between shipment and delivery. In most cases, that experience is basic, boring and off-brand. Consumer Connect addresses this issue, transforming shipment tracking into a dynamic extension of a retailer’s brand experience, and ultimately driving more meaningful consumer engagement and new revenue opportunities,” she added.
Consumer Connect allows consumers to track shipments, stay informed by email and SMS updates, receive relevant promotions and product offers, initiate returns with ease, and continue to engage with retail brands in meaningful ways in the moments “when the brand promise matters most.” Retailers benefit from converting tracking moments to merchandising moments, on-brand tracking experiences, targeted post-purchase consumer engagement, seamless returns (according to the Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study, 92% of consumers will buy again from a brand if returns are easy), and The Publisher – a 24/7 self-service CMS (Content Management System) that allows retailers to customize their branded, post-purchase experience in minutes. “Consumers are going to love Consumer Connect for the brand-consistent, immersive experience,” Snyder added. “Retailers will love Consumer Connect because it will help to drive sales, decrease call-centre volumes, and increase customer loyalty.”
Why post-purchase matters and the consequences of getting it wrong
According to the Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study, 90% of online shoppers in the U.S. will take an action that can hurt a retailer’s brand in response to a bad post-purchase experience. Their reactions range from sharing their frustrations on social media to never purchasing from the offending site again. Among millennials, 30% will go public about their poor experience, complaining in an online review or social media post, potentially affecting the buying decisions of their entire social networks.
The importance of the post-purchase experience to consumers was further validated by retailers. According to the study, successful high-growth retailers (with 25% or greater year-over-year revenue growth) place a greater emphasis on the post-purchase consumer experience than their slower-growth competitors. This includes providing services such as free returns and day-definite guaranteed delivery. Some 54% of high-growth retailers offer 2-3 day free shipping, while 60% of low- growth retailers (with 10% or less year-over-year revenue growth) offer 4-7 day free shipping. High-growth retailers also tend to meet or exceed consumer demands for accurate, real-time tracking, free and fast shipping, easy returns with pre-printed labels, prompt refunds and even attractive branded packaging. “Successful high-growth retailers and brands not only exceed their customers’ expectations on the post-purchase experience, but they leverage every consumer touch point to build brand awareness, further strengthening customer loyalty,” said Snyder.