Cartoon depicting the question of build versus buy

4 Questions to Ask Before You Build a Post-Purchase Platform

It is a tempting idea: build your own post-purchase platform and take complete control of your post-purchase fate. With no third-party to deal with, you are the gatekeeper, and the platform can be anything you want it to be.

But before you get too excited, ask yourself:

  • Which member of my engineering team is going to take the time out of their already-busy schedule to build this platform?
  • Then, after it's built, who's going to take the time to maintain it?
  • And time constraints aside, how much will it cost my business to run and maintain the platform?

When you really start to dig into what it means to build an entire end-to-end post-purchase platform—from order tracking to home pickup for returns—you realize it takes a lot of manpower, money, and time to do properly.

With that in mind, if you're seriously considering going for it on your own, here are 4 questions to ask before you build a post-purchase platform.

Can we surface a clear EDD upfront?

Given that customers are giving you their hard-earned money, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they want to know exactly when they can expect their order. In fact, it's so important that 60% of shoppers say that they’re more likely to choose a retailer that can tell them the exact date a package will arrive.

Your ability to show shoppers when they can plan to receive their order on the product detail page, the checkout page, and the order confirmation page is essential to delivering an exceptional post-purchase experience.

Critically, you want to make sure your EDD is:

  1. Highly visible before the carrier scan when customers are at their most excited.
  2. 100% Accurate—broken promises mean frustrated customers, and frustrated customers means losing out on repeat business.

Can we deliver proactive communication in preferred channels?

Where do your customers go to get their order updates? Whether it’s through email, messenger app, or SMS, your post-purchase platform should not only deliver the right message at the right time, but through the right channel to the right customer.

While most shoppers prefer to receive order updates via email, 1 out of 3 want to hear from retailers in multiple channels—a number that's sure to rise in the years ahead.

Can we handle all the carrier integrations?

98% of consumers say they feel better about a company if they’re immediately notified when something goes wrong.

In order to notify customers when there's a delivery exception, you need to be able to access data from various carrier systems about order statuses, then normalize the carrier codes to fit into certain specific buckets.

On top of that, you’ll need to keep up with constantly changing APIs and functionality on the carrier side—there unfortunately is no ‘set it and forget it’ way to go about this.

Can we simplify the returns process?

Self-service is the way to go when it comes to returns. By allowing your customers to initiate their own returns online, you streamline the process for them and optimize the process for your business (you can enforce any business rules around returns, easily facilitate omnichannel options, etc.).

From capturing return reasons about individual products upfront to pinpointing the most logical distribution center according to location (or item, return reason, etc.) an easy, step-by-step online return portal will help minimize the financial and operational impact of ecommerce returns on your business.

For more on what to consider before deciding to purchase or build a post-purchase solution, download our eBook, Build vs. Buy: A Guide to Choosing the Right Post-purchase Solution for Your Business.

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