Retailer with improved logistics

How to Use Logistics as a Means of Brand Differentiation

Brands die a slow death when they’re burdened with one-time shoppers.

And one-time shoppers are most prevalent at brands with a poor post-purchase experience.

That’s why here at Narvar we’re helping brands grow by evolving the shopper experience—specifically, what happens after people click ‘buy.’

Where Narvar is betting big

The post-purchase experience suffers when brands don’t think deeply about their logistics:

  • How do we ship and why?
  • Where can we expand our delivery experience?
  • What can we do to improve our efficiency with returns?

These questions (and others like them) can lead brands to process improvements that cultivate longevity through sustainable, profitable growth.

Therefore, powering operational efficiency for our customers (be they long-established brands or up-and-coming challengers) will be the key area of focus here at Narvar for the foreseeable future.

From our vantage point, the #1 call driver for customers is tied to the shipping and delivery experience. Helping brands understand how they can use shipping and delivery as a means of differentiation is critical. We want our clients to be able to engage shoppers with personalized experiences, whether those shoppers are getting an order delivered to their homes or they’re picking up in store.

We are also investing heavily in returns.

Retailers are struggling right now against the weight of tremendous inefficiencies in returns and reverse logistics—it takes almost four weeks to get products back from shoppers. 

This is especially challenging for apparel and footwear retailers where much of consumer demand is driven by seasonality and rapidly changing tastes. Every day that to-be-returned merchandise sits in the customer’s closet or in-transit waiting to get back for resale, retailers lose money.

Fortunately there are many ways brands can use intelligence and data to make sure products are in-stock (i.e., ready to sell) while enhancing the post-purchase experience at the same time.

The other reason we’re investing in returns is because the convenience and choice that consumers want in their returns experience isn’t provided by most retailers right now. 

That “missing piece” of the returns experience is why more than 60% of consumers find ways to manipulate return policies (e.g., saying a product is “damaged” in order to process a return that’s outside the normal return window). In fact, 40% of shoppers say that if returns were more convenient they’d follow the rules.

Long story short, a huge portion of returns inefficiency could be eliminated by offering more convenience and choice, not just for order delivery, but for order returns as well.

Look at our clients

If you look at the work some of our customers are doing with our platform in terms of the returns experience, you’ll see some really interesting things.

My favorite is the way in which brands are starting to segment customer profiles to dictate return policies.

Brands are giving their VIPs longer return windows and other personalized niceties like free returns or instant refunds as a way of improving the post-purchase experience for their most valuable customers.

Non-VIPs (i.e, one-off buyers), however, are seeing shorter return windows from brands, and are being asked to pay return processing fees to help offset the cost of returns. Not only does this help brands guard against needless revenue loss, but it also gets products returned and resold faster—something that’s immensely valuable with all the supply chain constraints retailers are experiencing.

Keeping things easy

At the end of the day, everything we’re doing at Narvar is about removing friction for shoppers.

Less friction means less effort. 

Less effort means a better customer experience.

And a better customer experience?—Well, that’s the key to getting customers to come back again and again.

For the brands we serve (and those we aspire to serve), we will continue to pour resources into the development of technologies and services that will make life easier for your customers.

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