More than 2 billion people will shop online in 2020.
With nearly a quarter of the globe’s population buying products and services through the good ol’ world wide web, you can imagine how different each unique shopper’s online cart is from everyone else’s.
Despite the billions of differences between each shopper’s product preferences, geographic locations, payment methods, and more, all of them still have two things in common:
- They buy a bunch of their stuff online.
- They really want to know where their stuff is.
Conquering the most common customer service question
“Where is my order?” Or WISMO. (IFYKYK, ya know?)
Is this truly the most common question bogging down online shoppers? If you think about it, this isn’t surprising at all. Even though online retail boasts incredible benefits to the consumer, it’s also inherently risky.
“Consumers choose products from pictures, click virtual ‘buy’ buttons, and hand over invisible money all with the hope that a physical truck shows up to their physical house with a physical product.”
With so much underlying risk involved, it’s only natural that shoppers get a li’l antsy when the status of their purchase is up in the air.
Even under normal circumstances, a package marked “in transit” sparks mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety: “Will my package arrive on time?” “Will it arrive at all?” “What if I don’t like it?”
From the online seller’s standpoint, you know all too well that a sale isn’t final until a package arrives safely at its destination and your customer loves it. And until your customers have your product in their hands and are pleased as punch, they’re going to be asking the same question as their online shopping brethren: Where. Is. My. Order?
Whether you’re the consumer or the seller in this transaction, WISMO is a serious issue that affects everyone in online shopping. Explore the woes of WISMO with us, and learn how to bring much-needed peace of mind to your customers as we dig into:
2020: The year of WISMO
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on our personal, social and economic landscapes. And as social distancing has become commonplace, it’s no surprise that more consumers are going online to buy the things they need.
Since March 1, ecommerce sales have surged almost 30%. But as sales have risen, so have delayed shipments, stolen packages, and—you guessed it—WISMO inquiries.
This isn’t just our opinion either. Google Trends is showing searches for “track package,” “lost package” and “where’s my package” are individually at all-time highs. 🤯
Consumers are relying on online retail more than ever before, but with “where’s my order” searches blowing up, it’s obvious that there’s a breakdown happening somewhere between “buy” and “delivered.”
What’s going on here? Well, we have a hunch.
WISMO: Always a symptom, never the problem
If your support squad is receiving more WISMO inquiries than usual, it’s important to remember that WISMO isn’t a standalone problem, it’s a symptom of bigger issues happening behind the scenes.
If you want to get into the weeds of how COVID has affected shipping and delivery, you can take a look at our full breakdown here (trust us, it’s worth it). But for the sake of keeping things simple, there are four main factors contributing to the current spike in WISMO.
- Unclear delivery timelines: The uncertainty brought on by COVID forced every major carrier to suspend guarantees, stop gathering signatures, and extend their delivery windows to prioritize the delivery of essential goods. Most importantly, these delays haven’t been relayed to consumers who get stuck wondering what’s taking so long.
- Poor (or no) tracking: While many retailers offer tracking solutions, few offer solutions that customers actually adopt—either due to lack of convenience, lack of visibility, or both. Without user-friendly purchase tracking, consumers are left without insight into where their packages are, which drives them to you for answers.
- Demand for essential products: As overall ecommerce sales have risen, specific product categories have blown up. According to Adobe, virus protection (like hand sanitizer and the like) is up 817%, medications is up 175%, and canned goods is up 69%. A surge like this in any industry, especially essential goods that get priority, is bound to bottleneck even the best delivery infrastructure.
- Increase in package theft: Increased theft has been consistently reported all over the US since early March, and Route has seen claims for stolen packages jump over 133%. When a porch pirate strikes (erm, when a package is stolen), you can bet the first question a customer has is “where’s my package?” Many online retailers don’t have an easy way to insure or resolve theft, which leaves both sellers and consumers wondering what to do next.
TL;DR—Consumers are relying on merchants and carriers to deliver the things they need most, especially in this era of contactless shopping. But with no accurate way to know when packages are going to arrive, no guarantees, and increased theft, your customers are being left in the dark.
No matter what causes a package to be seemingly lost in the ether, customers are still going to turn to you with their WISMO questions, and it’s important to be ready with answers. While some of these underlying problems are out of your control, the typical online retailer has more power than they think when it comes to stopping these issues at the source.
WISMO: The true cost to online stores
Make no mistake about it: WISMO calls are the worst. They waste time and resources, and unless your business is set up with the right tracking tools, these questions are rarely met with answers that satisfy your antsy customers.
When your customer support is fielded by real humans, each and every interaction can cost as much as $6. This means WISMO has a big, fat direct impact on your bottom line.
Imagine your customer service team gets 100 WISMO calls, emails, or chats per week. If everything goes smoothly in that interaction, you’re spending around $600 every week, $2,400 every month, and a whopping $28,800 every year all in the name of WISMO.
But let’s be real, customer service varies drastically from industry to industry, and company to company. If you really want to know what WISMO is costing you, we recommend taking this analysis a step further by using this formula. 👇
Note: This equation only shows a fraction of the total business cost of WISMO calls, given that it does not include lost potential revenue from churned customers.
When trying to answer these inquiries, online retailers also have to remember that consumers have high expectations during the final stretch of their purchase journey. They want to be kept in the loop, reimbursed if something happens, and able to interact directly with the brands they purchase from.
Expectations are so high in fact, that 57% of consumers report that retailers are mediocre at best when it comes to the delivery experience. This means that customers aren’t receiving the details or transparency they deserve after trusting brands to fulfill their purchases.
Not being able to meet your customers’ expectations costs more than a few bucks per support call. A poor experience could cost your brand repeat purchases and customer loyalty.
WISMO inquiries are going to happen, but there are steps your store can take to minimize their impact on your bottom line and brand affinity.
WISMO: The health monitor of your post-purchase experience
In a weird way, not everything about WISMO is the worst. In fact, you could start using it as a quality metric for your store’s post-purchase experience.
The amount of WISMO inquiries you get every day is a direct translation of your shop’s overall post-purchase experience. If you never hear a peep from customers wondering where their stuff is, your post-purchase experience is firing on all cylinders. But if your support team is inundated with calls and bogged down by trying to trace order after order, you know something is wrong.
“Use WISMO as a signal to review your post-purchase flow, uncover tracking gaps, tighten communications, and turn a notorious cost-center into a seamless brand-building channel.”
Post-purchase customer expectations
How important is the post-purchase experience, really?
This part of the customer journey is just as—if not more—important than every other step along the way. It’s the last touchpoint your customer will have with your brand, and if it goes sour, it could be what they remember most about shopping with your store.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at the numbers.
93% of consumers want proactive shipping & delivery updates.
Consumers expect to know the location of their order, and they become anxious if they’re left in the dark.
Think about it: Consumers today can track the exact location of their pizza (thanks, Domino’s), their food deliveries, and their rideshare drivers. With so much transparency in other industries, shouldn’t there be better delivery transparency for online purchases?
To the modern consumer, it feels unnatural NOT to receive real-time updates on the status of their packages, which in turn compels them to clog your support lines with calls to relieve the dissonance.
81% of consumers say receiving proactive order updates plays a critical role in repurchasing decisions.
There isn’t a more important goal in ecommerce than increasing customer lifetime value (LTV). Repeat purchasers cost brands less to acquire and attract, and they commonly end up spending more per order than one-time purchasers.
Ask yourself, are your customers returning? Do they come back time and time again? If they do, are they spending more per order? Building a loyal customer base that consistently buys your stuff is the difference between your brand being a household name and a one-hit-wonder.
So, if something as simple as proactive order communication can increase the chances of repeat purchases, don’t you think it’s worth optimizing?
74% of consumers report delivery is most important to the overall shopping experience.
Yet in the last 15 years, the online delivery experience has hardly changed.
After placing an order online in 2005, customers would receive a confirmation email with a tracking number and the retailer’s customer support line.
In 2020, after making an online purchase, customers receive a confirmation email with a tracking number, the retailer’s customer support line, and (for some lucky customers) a few additional emails with order updates. 🙄
That’s the sum total of innovation that most online retailers have adopted when it comes to online package tracking.
(Note: In the same span of time, we’ve developed self-driving cars, created meat out of vegetables, and even made artificial intelligence so good that we’ve given robots citizenship status. The future is now, people!)
At the end of the day, we can do better than burying delivery status emails in overcrowded inboxes. Case in point, the average American has 500 unread emails in their inbox.
Conquer WISMO and improve experiences
So you may be saying to yourself, “This is all right and dandy, but where does the rubber hit the road? What can I actually do to improve my shoppers’ shipping and delivery experiences?”
Well, for starters, you can implement first-rate tracking services and immediately boost your customers’ trust while also organically driving down your WISMO inquiries (and costs).
But let’s take this one step further.
You shouldn’t be spending a dime dealing with WISMO
Ok, that’s not true.
No matter how tight your post-purchase experience is, there will always be outliers and outside circumstances, e.g., a global pandemic, that will prompt the occasional phone call or email from a curious customer.
But answering WISMO inquiries should never be a major part of your customer service activities. You hired these people to deal with major issues, improve customer experience, and help you drive brand loyalty—not to spend time copying and pasting tracking numbers.
Free up your service team, improve the post-purchase experience, and nip WISMO in the bud with solutions that tackle the problems that cause chaos in the first place.
(Buckle up, it’s shameless plug time 🤫)
Route was built to bring the post-purchase experience into the 21st century. So, if you really want to decrease WISMO and its associated costs, it’s time to look at a solution that was built to conquer it.
With dynamic visual tracking, real-time shipping updates, and premium order protection, Route gives your customers total peace of mind after they purchase. No more wondering where their orders are, no more worrying about lost, stolen or damaged packages, and no more reasons to clog your support lines with costly WISMO inquiries.
WISMO: The trend your store shouldn’t pick up
While WISMO might be blasting off in Google Trends, it’s definitely something your store shouldn’t latch onto anytime soon. As 2 billion consumers head to online retailers in their time of need, now is the time to keep your WISMO count low and your post-purchase experience awesome.
Adding Route into your post-purchase experience brings clarity and trust to your customers in an era when they need it most. Merchants who use Route are able to address every underlying problem (within their control) that leads to spikes in WISMO inquiries. Route delivers features like:
- Visual Tracking™ that drives 2-3X more engagement per order than email. More individual engagement equals less reliance on your support team.
- Push notifications that have a 97% open rate, compared with just 25% for email. Increased visibility equals less reliance on your support team.
- The easiest resolutions to issues. When 87% of consumers are more loyal to a brand that reimburses them for a lost, stolen or damaged package, problem resolution can be the difference between a one-time and a repeat customer. Peace of mind during shipping equals (you guessed it) less reliance on your support team.
The delivery experience you provide now is going to leave a lasting impression on your customers who are counting on you. The more transparency and reassurance you can provide with delivery timelines, tracking status, and issue resolution, the more customers are going to see your brand as one they can trust—even in times of uncertainty.
If done right, your post-purchase experience can significantly reduce the burden on your customer support team, drastically lower unnecessary costs, and drive repeat business by building customer loyalty. 👍
If overlooked, your post-purchase experience can create hundreds of hours of unnecessary support tasks, decrease customer satisfaction, and increase churn. 👎
So what’s your next move? Adding to the WISMO frenzy, or creating an experience that brings peace of mind to your customers amidst the chaos?