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  • Writer's pictureChris B.

Judge the Journey: Introduction

Updated: Aug 30, 2020

Young woman on couch opens a package that she's received in the mail

We are starting a new series on our blog called “Judge the Journey”, where we will discuss and rate our own customer journey for shipments that we receive. The facet of the customer journey that we are especially interested in is everything that happens after checkout -- when most brands shut it down and others kick it into an experiential high gear.

Prior to starting Ship Simply, I ran a medium sized, brand focused eCommerce order fulfillment company. We had a tagline that hung throughout our facility: "Every package is a person with a story." I'll tell the full story behind the tagline in a future writing. Essentially, we were inviting our employees to consider the impact of the quality of their work as it related to the individual person's life that was on the other side of their package. This mindset caused our employees to initiate some of the best ideas that we brought to our clients for recommended enhancements to their packaging and overall fulfillment experience.

I’ve found over the years that brands spend lots of effort on product design and marketing to get you to buy, but often stop caring much after that. However, companies that see this as an opportunity to continue building their brand and invite their customers into a long-term relationship end up generating far more repeat customers and typically spend less on marketing overall. Don’t forget the old adage about how it’s much less expensive to keep a current customer than it is to earn a new one.

The categories that we will look at are:

Communication – Things start off pretty easy. Does the brand communicate my order details through an order confirmation? Did I get a tracking confirmation when the order shipped? Was there another communication in the process that delighted me or was there one that caused problems (or more likely, not one at all)?

Shipping timeline – Did my order ship quickly, start moving soon after, and arrive swiftly? Did the brand leave me wondering why we need retail stores when companies can so effectively deliver products to the comfort of my own home with just a few clicks?

Fulfillment accuracy – Did I get the right product and the correct quantity? Was anything missing or broken?

Packaging presentation – This is where a lot of brands start to miss the mark and the best brands really shine. How did it look when the package arrived? How did it look when I opened the package? Did I feel like what I paid for the product was honored or represented in the packaging display? Did the package engage one of my other senses besides sight? Did anything about or inside the package (aside from what I ordered) make me feel delighted? Delighting customers is one of the experiences we help our clients focus on.

Continuity of brand / Tells brand’s story – Customers connect with a brand through the story aspect of the brand. This is why we pay more for some brands even though another may offer something identical for less. We relate to a brand’s story; it is what separates the brand from others. How well does the brand continue this narrative through the communication, packaging, and follow-up from the order?

Wow factor – Will this experience cause the average consumer to take a picture and post on Instagram? Will people feel so proud of the purchase, either because of the unboxing experience or the perception of value creation (monetary or emotional), that they will want to tell others about the experience?

Inviting customer into a long-term relationship – Brands should be selling a product and crafting an experience to make reorder easy and a given. Did the overall experience create this relational connectivity? Do they stay in touch just the right amount to remain relevant but not annoy?

Some of the brands that we will "judge" in upcoming writings will be Allbirds shoes, Leesa mattresses, Lovesac furniture, Hari Mari sandals, Criquet Shirts, MVMT watches, and Stitch Fix, to name a few. We would love to hear from you if you think we should rate a brand that you are fond of or that you think makes a strong effort to build a relationship with customers through the fulfillment and unboxing experience. Or maybe ones who miss the mark.

See you on our next “Journey”!


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