Use Your Supply Chain to Earn
Customer Loyalty

Loyalty is a big word. One could argue that most business decisions can be linked back to the idea of establishing, building, or improving customer loyalty, since it translates to revenues and repeat purchases, as well as better customer satisfaction, advocacy, and brand love. In fact, up to 15% of a business’s most loyal customers account for 55-70% of its total sales, according to research done at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Loyalty is a feeling that comes from experiencing brand love in different ways, from special in-store experiences to discounts or vouchers. But as digital commerce grows, every touch point throughout the supply chain is becoming an opportunity to build loyalty. For example, when receiving a food delivery, it is within the hands of the delivery company to amplify the experience and fuel loyalty through a gift, a voucher, or just by setting a standard of service for how delivery people should act upon arrival. In a sense, as retail and food moves away from physical stores, there’s a gap for delightful moments such as the sweets alongside your restaurant check or those free complimentary samples that come with a cosmetics purchase.

At the same time, technology is creating new touchpoints to engage and delight customers throughout the supply chain, such as instant communication and visibility with drivers, opportunities to rate and review the service, and an overall layer of transparency. All this ultimately lets people select the most convenient delivery options for them – click and collect, one-hour deliveries, or a specific time window.

As businesses constantly look for ways to improve and optimize the supply chain with customers in mind, they need to factor in a few elements that will allow them to leverage the supply chain in order to fuel customer loyalty:

Where does the loyalty lie? This is a crucial one, especially for brands using a third-party service for their delivery logistics. Many business owners want to scale their delivery capabilities as soon as possible and partner with third party delivery logistics companies. The question is, would the customer have your brand in mind or will they think of the delivery service first? While a brand such as Domino’s owns the brand experience throughout the supply chain (from vehicle branding to the logo in the hat), other chains, which work through a third-party delivery partner, aren’t able to integrate or roll out their loyalty programs or marketing promotions. So if you deliver through a third party, think about how you can make your brand and experience stand out to ensure that loyalty always remains with your brand.

Who is the face of your company? Since cashiers, waiters, front of house, doormen, and other crucial customer-facing roles are removed from the equation when a product is delivered, it is important for companies to train, prepare, brand and equip drivers and delivery staff accordingly. After all, they are the face of the company and the way in which they interact with customers plays a key role in their ultimate satisfaction. Besides providing superior customer service, the company’s delivery staff should also communicate brand messages, wear your brand, and distribute marketing materials such as vouchers, upcoming offers or samples.

How can I make up for the missed physical experience? The fight for customers’ hearts and minds intensifies when businesses can’t rely on a controlled environment where they can delight customers and pull out all the stops to pamper them with a memorable experience. Some companies are getting creative to ensure the magic of retail is delivered to their customers. For example, high-end designer brands such as Gucci or Louis Vuitton gift wrap every online purchase and include the retail bag within the parcel. Other retailers include stickers and freebies in their deliveries as a gesture meant to delight customers when they receive their purchase. As competition gets tougher and delivery becomes the standard, companies will have to think harder to find ways to surprise customers with actions and gestures that will make customers feel loved and pampered.

While convenience, speed, and service sit at the heart of delivery logistics – earning customer loyalty should sit at the top of the agenda. It’s time for companies to make every touchpoint as memorable as possible, building lasting brand affinity and customer loyalty.

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