Making Shipping & Delivery Magical


What a week. Let me catch you up!

Jones Road launched our Brow Gel, and it’s already a customer fav.

Also, Gorgias brought together some of my closest friends to celebrate my 30th, and it was so darn special.

For this week, let’s talk about Shipping and Delivery.

Both are rarely magical. A customer's love for a brand rarely blooms from a FedEx tracking number.

But what if you could transform shipping from a boring and tedious task into an aspect of your brand that actually helps with acquisition and retention?

What if delivery wasn't just a necessary evil but an exciting and memorable experience that left customers amazed?

  • Setting Realistic Expectations: Making Promises You Can Keep

  • Creating a Seamless Experience: The Art of Shipping as a Customer Delight

  • Unpacking Success: Brands That Turned Shipping Into Their Superpower

Let’s dive in.

This week's newsie is brought to you by Portless.

Portless revolutionizes the way e-commerce orders are fulfilled. By transporting products directly from China to your customers' doorsteps, Portless saves both time and money, breaking free from the traditional, outdated container shipping model.

In the rapidly evolving DTC/e-commerce landscape, agility and financial health are key. That's where Portless shines. No more ordering inventory 2-3 months in advance.

With Portless, you can:

  • Reduce Shipping Times: Waiting for your inventory to arrive is a thing of the past. Your stock is ready for sale within 2-4 days of manufacture, speeding up your time to market.

  • Ship Worldwide: Portless ships to over 40 countries. Regardless of the shipment's origin, customers enjoy a domestic experience with local last-mile tracking numbers and speedy 6-8 day delivery times.

  • Increase Cost Efficiency: The long list of cargo shipping expenses can chip away at your profit margins. Portless helps brands improve gross margins by up to 40% by eliminating these costs.

  • Respond Swiftly to Consumer Demand: By locating their fulfillment center right near your factories, Portless enables you to stay in sync with market trends, reduce product wastage, and meet consumer demand promptly.

Portless is a much-needed innovation in e-commerce logistics, helping you manage inventory and ship products more efficiently. Discover the future of inventory management with Portless today.

Setting Realistic Expectations: Making Promises You Can Keep

Shipping is more than just an obvious necessity; it's an opportunity to excel where others fall short.

Take Amazon, shipping’s 800-pound gorilla. Amazon's mastery of logistics isn't built on flashiness but on precision. They've turned the quotidian, annoying question of "when will it arrive?" into an exact science.

Set a date, and hit the date. It's simple on the surface, but the layers of complexity behind this reliability are staggering.

And guess what? People love it.

When a customer clicks that "buy" button, they're not just purchasing a product but buying a promise. That promise includes quality, satisfaction, and timeliness.

Break that promise, and you risk fracturing a relationship that could have turned into brand loyalty.

Some practical tips on setting expectations:

1. Communicate Clearly: Transparency isn't just a buzzword; it's a lifeline in the shipping process. Suppose there's a delay. In that case, an honest and well-crafted email explaining the situation and a sincere apology and an updated arrival date can defuse frustration and even build trust.

2. Provide Options: One size never fits all. Give customers various shipping options and the autonomy to choose what works best for them. Oh, and it might just help your conversion rate as well!

3. Underpromise and Overdeliver: This isn't just a clever saying; it's a philosophy. If you promise a ten-day delivery window and deliver in seven, you haven't just met expectations; you've exceeded them. That's how ordinary experiences become memorable.

Take a page out of Amazon's playbook. They set realistic "arrive by" dates and consistently hit them (and even occasionally exceed them). It's not flashy or glamorous, but it's reliable, and in the world of shipping, reliability is king.

P.S. JRB has actually been offering expanded shipping options and Amazon-like “arrives by” dates with PDQ, and it’s been really exciting so far. 👀

Creating a Seamless Experience: The Art of Shipping as a Customer Delight

Shipping isn't just a logistical nightmare to be tackled by your operations team; it's an integral part of the customer experience that's ripe for innovation and creativity.

Here are some ways to go beyond the unexpected and offer a magical shipping experience:

Branding Every Touchpoint: From confirmation emails to tracking updates, every communication regarding shipping is an opportunity to reinforce your brand identity. A cohesive and thoughtful design strategy can make even a tracking update feel special.

Creating Unboxing Moments: How your product is packaged and presented isn't just about protection during transit; it's about creating a memorable unboxing experience. Thoughtful packaging that reflects your brand values can transform a mundane task into a joyful moment.

Leveraging Technology for Transparency: Modern customers expect to always know where their product is. Providing robust tracking and real-time updates isn't just convenient; it's expected. Tools like Portless are stepping in to make this process as efficient and transparent as possible, offering that overall domestic experience with international shipping.

Offer Easy Returns: A hassle-free return process can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one, reinforcing trust in your brand.

Provide Support Along the Way: Use your CX inbox tool to auto-flag shipping inquiries so that you can prioritize support for those tickets. This gives customers peace of mind and shows them you're there every step of the way.

In an era where same-day delivery and one-click purchases are becoming the norm, merely meeting baseline expectations won't cut it. The brands that stand out are those that view shipping not as a necessary evil but as an opportunity to delight, surprise, and build deeper connections with their customers.

The magic of shipping doesn't come from speed alone; it comes from thoughtful attention to every detail of the customer's experience, from the moment they click "buy" to the exciting unboxing.

And who knows? With a little creativity and dedication, shipping might just become your brand's superpower.

For this newsie, I asked folks on X (formerly known as Twitter) about their fav shipping experience and had a few solid examples:

Unpacking Success: Brands That Turned Shipping Into Their Superpower

Shipping isn't just a logistical necessity; it's a strategic tool savvy brands wield with finesse and creativity.

From sustainable practices to at-home try-on programs, let's explore how six companies are making shipping an integral part of their brand allure.

1. The At-Home Try-On Revolution: Warby Parker

Warby Parker, the eyewear sensation, recognized the uncertainty of online glasses shopping and crafted a unique try-on program. Customers can order five pairs of glasses to try at home for free. This risk-free approach, coupled with free shipping and returns, has set a new standard in online eyewear shopping.

2. Green Footsteps: Allbirds and Backcountry

Allbirds, the shoe company committed to sustainability, not only offers free shipping but plants a tree for every pair sold. Backcountry, an outdoor gear retailer, takes it a step further with "carbon neutral shipping" for orders over $50, offsetting the emissions associated with their products' shipping. These green initiatives resonate with the eco-conscious and differentiate them in a crowded market.

3. Recycle and Renew: Patagonia

Patagonia’s dedication to sustainability extends beyond products to include shipping. With free shipping over $50 and carbon offsetting, they've cultivated a loyal following. Their "worn wear" program, allowing trade-ins of used Patagonia gear for discounts on new items, deepens customer engagement and furthers their ethical appeal.

4. Healthy Choices: Thrive Market

Thrive Market, the membership-based online grocery store, understands the modern shopper's desire for sustainability. Offering free shipping on orders over $49, they also pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. This commitment to both the environment and the wallet has bolstered their reputation as a responsible and affordable choice.

5. Fast Fashion Flexibility: Zara

Zara's approach to affordable and flexible shipping, including free in-store pickup, keeps customers coming back. Their timely and convenient shipping practices create a smooth experience that aligns with their fast fashion identity, showing that shipping can indeed be fashionable.

The common thread among these brands?

An understanding that shipping is not merely a post-purchase afterthought but an integral part of the customer experience. It should be “on-brand.”

They're exceeding expectations, engaging customers with their values, and creating memorable experiences that extend beyond the unboxing moment.

In the era of instant gratification, innovative shipping strategies like these set brands apart. It's time to think outside the (shipping) box. Your customers will thank you.

That’s it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!


Eli 💛