We’ve all had good and bad delivery experiences purchasing products online. For ecommerce businesses, providing a good delivery experience will often lead to a repeat purchase. While a bad one will lead to repeat calls to customer service, and that creates a drag on your staff, and hurts your bottom line.
Host Francois Marchand is joined by Anders Ekman—Co-Founder & COO at Ingrid—to talk about how to optimize your business’s delivery experience for your customers and your team.
- Anders’ background [1:32]
- Based in Sweden.
- Co-founded a SaaS company called Ingrid about 7-8 years ago.
- Ingrid’s focus is on improving delivery experiences for end consumers.
- Aims to assist ecommerce companies (merchants) in offering multiple delivery options.
- Emphasizes the importance of showing the right delivery options at the right time.
- What is the most essential component of the ecommerce delivery experience? [2:48]
- The answer is everything, but not everything at once.
- Deliveries are contextual so it depends on not only what you’re buying, but also what time of day you’re buying, and where you’re getting it delivered to. It differs depending on a lot of parameters. It also differs between consumers. Some consumers are price sensitive and others are not. Some want their stuff fast, some don’t.
- Anders strongly recommends trying different things out and analyzing the results to see what works best.
- What is the most overlooked detail of the delivery experience? [6:41]
- A lot of merchants think that the customers want their stuff fast. But that’s a misconception. People want to know when they’ll get their stuff. It’s much better to be accurate by promising delivery in 5 days and delivering it in 5 days than offering delivery in 2-7 days.
- Quick commerce carriers, like one-hour delivery services, have gained popularity in Europe and the US, but their relevance depends on the type of product being delivered.
What a lot of merchants think is that customers want their stuff fast. That’s a misconception. What people want to know is when they will get their stuff.Anders Ekman
- How has Ingrid refined the delivery experience for its own enterprise customers? [10:37]
- One customer sells phone accessories, and they have a policy to sell as much as possible during black Friday week. The delivery times they have aren’t that linear so they helped integrate their shipping system with their warehouse (LWMS). That reduced the number of WISMO (where is my order) requests from 34% to 7%.
- What can ecommerce businesses, big and small, learn from what Ingrid is doing? [13:42]
- The couriers have too much power. So as a merchant, you should do what you can to play them against each other. Find the best courier in each region and push them on delivery times, and challenge them on accuracy in their delivery times and promises. And, primarily, ask for better rates. And know how to steer volumes from one courier to another.
The couriers have too much power. So as a merchant, you should do what you can to play them against each other.”Anders Ekman
- What tools or software do you recommend for businesses who want to optimize their delivery strategy? [16:08]
- Ongoing – a Scandinavian warehouse management system
- When does an ecommerce company know when to bring on Ingrid? [18:29]
- Usually when things aren’t working. Ingrid can sometimes be like a self playing piano—they’re pretty well known in Sweden so inbounds come in naturally.
- The merchants are asking questions like “Why am I offering my consumers such a bad delivery service?”
- Everyone can relate to it because everyone has had bad delivery experiences.
- It starts once they identify some sort of frustration. Some companies will try to do it themselves and that’s sustainable for a while, but as the company starts shipping globally it becomes limiting. So they might contact Ingrid when they realize they want to spend their budget elsewhere other than talking to UPS.
Meet Our Guest
Anders Ekman is the Chief Business Development Officer and co-founder of Ingrid, a SaaS company in the ecommerce delivery space. A business minded entrepreneur with a degree from the Stockholm School of Economics, Anders has 15+ years of experience in building digital companies.
You shouldn’t have one-size-fits-all. You should offer a lot of delivery options and look at the data and see what works best.Anders Ekman
Resources from this episode:
- Subscribe to the newsletter to get our latest articles and podcasts
- Connect with Anders on LinkedIn
- Check out Ingrid
Related articles and podcasts:
- Introducing The Ecomm Manager Podcast
- An Easy Guide To Ecommerce Shipping: Process, Strategies, Methods & Costs
- How To Offer Free Shipping On Your Ecommerce Store: Examples & Solutions
- What Is One-Hour Delivery & How Does It Work?
- Ecommerce Shipment Tracking: How To Use Order Tracking To Boost Your Sales
- Emplicit’s Evan Sherman On How To Reduce Ecommerce Logistics Costs
Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Francois Marchand: Deliveries. We've all had good and bad delivery experiences purchasing products online. For ecommerce businesses providing a good delivery experience will often lead to a repeat purchase. While a bad one will lead to repeat calls to customer service, and that creates a drag on your staff, hurts your bottom line.
Welcome to The Ecomm Manager podcast. Our mission is to help you succeed in your ecommerce journey with helpful, actionable advice from the experts who made it big. I'm your host, Francois Marchand!
Today I'm joined by Anders Ekman. He's the Co-founder and COO at Ingrid, which is a delivery platform that connects merchants, carriers, and consumers to create a better shopping experience. We'll be chatting about how to optimize your business's delivery experience for your customers and your team. So stay tuned to discover the essential elements of a good delivery experience, how to use apps and software to reduce friction, and what ecommerce businesses big and small can learn from what Ingrid is doing.
So Anders Ekman, really happy to have you on this episode of The Ecomm Manager podcast. Thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule. I know you have a lot going on. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do at Ingrid and what Ingrid is all about when it comes to the topic of the day, ecommerce delivery experience?
Anders Ekman: Yeah, sure. First of all, thanks for having me. I'm happy to spread the gospel, talking about the delivery experience. So I take every chance I get, so I'm really happy that you're having me.
Francois Marchand: Fantastic.
Anders Ekman: I'm based in Sweden, in Europe. So it's around 9pm here now, so children are asleep and I'm happy to be chatting to you about the delivery experience.
So, yeah, Ingrid, a SaaS company that I co-founded about seven or eight years ago. And we're all about deliveries and making it easy for end consumers to get their stuff delivered in a way they want to. And we try to be on the merchants. We call them the ecommerce companies side and helping them setting up as many delivery options as suitable and then showing the right ones at the right moment, kind of.
Francois Marchand: That's great. And yeah, since you have so much experience in helping ecommerce businesses set up the best delivery experience possible for their customers, let's jump right into my little series of questions I have for you about the topic today, which is how to set up an ecommerce delivery experience that will 'wow' your customers, right?
So in your opinion and in your experience, mainly what's the most essential component of the ecommerce delivery experience? Is that price? Is it speed? Is it convenience? Is it the choice of carrier or is it everything?
Anders Ekman: Yeah, great question. I think the answer is everything, but not everything at once. And what we've learned over the years is that deliveries are really contextual. So it really depends on not only what you're buying. That might be like easy to understand that if you're buying a sofa or if you're buying some, I don't know, a book or something that you'd like to have it delivered in different ways. But also depending on what time of day you're buying, where you're getting stuff delivered to, if you want it close to your workplace or you want it to your summer cabin or your partner's house or whatever, you might want the different delivery options.
So that's one part. So it differs depending on a lot of parameters. And then it's also differs between consumers, right? So some consumers are just let's call it price sensitive and others are not that price sensitive. So some want their stuff fast, others want it not that fast. And it's really hard to predict in advance.
So what we preach is that you shouldn't have like one size fits all. You should offer a lot of options and you should look at the data and see what converts best.
Francois Marchand: Where do you find that data? Where do you dig it up? Is it something that you find within your own systems? Is it something that you have to install as a integration, like how do you guys track that and optimize it?
Anders Ekman: We have a lot of data on our sides. We of course analyze that, but we've collaborated with some researchers at the university here in Sweden. And they did some advanced statistics stuff on the data we have, and they found a lot of interesting stuff.
So I think you can go really deep or you can just look at the top. But I think if you're really into it, you can go deep and you can find some really interesting stuff. But just looking at the top is also, there's a lot of value there, just like trying out with maybe adding in Canada and the States, there's a lot of home delivery, right?
So, here in the Europe or in Sweden, primarily, but more and more in the rest of Europe, there's a pickup locations and there's a delivery to these parcel lockers or whatever. So try those out and see where that takes you. So experimenting and then see what results you have. Something I strongly recommend.
Francois Marchand: I guess the customer feedback would also come into play. How much does customer feedback help make decisions for ecommerce company? It's trying to figure out, not a one size fits all, like you said, but which option might be the most common to offer.
Anders Ekman: The most common one is usually to have like something that's preselected and it's free or it's cheap. And then you have some premium experience if you want to have your stuff delivered faster, that's the standard way of doing it. But what we see a lot is that you need to challenge truths that you have, like your company, maybe you've been running your ecommerce shop for some years and like three or four years ago, someone decided that the free shipping limit should be, I don't know, about $50 or something, and then you just stuck with that.
And then what we encourage our merchants to do is to try a lot of different set up tests, the AB test it and see what happens if I raised the free shipping limit to $70? What happens if I just have two shipping alternatives or delivery alternatives, or if I have five, how does that impact conversion? And then also changing that, how much I charge for shipping.
Francois Marchand: That's great.
Anders Ekman: Yeah. There are a lot of parameters to screw on if that's the correct word, but like you can twist them or whatever. So, yeah, sure.
Francois Marchand: Yeah. So you can AB test, so you can run some, optimization, evaluations, challenge your own assumptions, challenge, maybe best practices you had that could be outdated at this point.
But in your experience, what's the most overlooked detail in the delivery experience? So meaning, what's a common blocker or pain point that you've noted for the companies that you work for trying to optimize their service?
Anders Ekman: Well, what a lot of merchants think is that customers want their stuff fast. And I think that's a misconception, but what people want is to know when they get their stuff.
So it's much better to be accurate and say that, yeah, you'll get this in five days and then deliver it in five days. Than to say, it's going to be two to seven days because people don't like that time span and they don't like to be disappointed. So it's much better if they can, yeah, to meet their expectations basically.
And we've had a lot of this quick commerce carriers in Europe lately. I mean, you have them like go puff in the States too. So they offer like one hour delivery sometimes. And a lot of ecom companies have been wanting to try that out. But what we see is that it might be really good if you're into Rx drugs or something like that, then it would be really useful to get your stuff within an hour.
But to get like a new shirt really isn't that important to have it that fast. So better to be able to know for sure. Yeah, I'll get it in time for Friday if I'm gifting it. So like it's, it will show up in time, but doesn't have to be tomorrow.
Francois Marchand: So that's where order tracking or shipment tracking becomes really important to have that added experience to your delivery promise is to provide your customers with a tangible tool that can tell them, okay, so my package is still at the warehouse or, a few hours later, oh, it's on the truck now and so on and so forth. How important is that? Nowadays I think because people want that level of detail in the experience, right?
Anders Ekman: Yeah, it's really important. And it's huge cost saving for merchants as well, if you do it right. Because if you don't inform your customers about when their stuff is coming or that something is happening, what will happen is that they will contact you and it will be a WISMO, where is my order, Aaron? Then it will cost you, I don't know, 10 bucks or something for someone to reply to that email or pick up that phone and get back to them and just look it up and say that, yeah, we don't know.
I mean, it's going to be shipped in two hours or something. So what we do a lot is that we try to help our merchants to get going on that communication as early as possible in the buying experience. And so the sooner you can start informing your consumers about that their stuff is on the way, the better.
So traditionally, the tracking journey starts when the order has been produced at the warehouse. When the label has been printed amplified a little bit, what we try to get our merchants to do is start communicating directly after they press the buy button. Because that's when the tracking journey starts for the consumer, right?
Because they don't care about warehouses and warehouse management system and ERPs. They only care about getting their stuff.
Francois Marchand: No, we do. That's right.
Anders Ekman: Yeah. And we see a lot of, I don't know, I don't have the data in front of me, but it's like, 3.2 or something like that times that the consumer check their tracking per purchase.
So it's a lot. And it's also a really good interface to communicate with the consumers. Don't give that communication away to carriers. Keep it on your sites or like keep it in an interface that you control. If it's via email or it's back on your site, good way to work with upsell, a good way to build loyalty and at least not give it to UPS.
Francois Marchand: Yeah, like you were mentioning WISMO, right? Where's my order? It cuts down on your customer service costs because you don't have this volume of calls coming in saying, where's my package? Where's my delivery? That's a lot of money that's being spent on wasted efforts that could just be part of an integrated tracking system or an app or something like that.
So, and I think this is something that you and Ingrid have refined in the delivery experience for your enterprise customers. So can you share like a standout success story of solving that kind of issue for one of your main customers? Cause you've got hundreds of customers, right, so?
Anders Ekman: Yeah, sure. What we did for one merchant, they sell accessories for phones.
So IDEAL OF SWEDEN, they have this policy or to try and sell as much as possible in I mean, for example, during Black week or something. So they have a lot of peak traffic. I don't know why they want to create that headache for themselves, but they do. So they get a lot of like, it's not very linear, the shipping times they have, like where the delivery times they have.
So what we helped them with was to integrate the tracking solution with their WMS. So their system that they use in the warehouse and then the warehouse gave estimates back to our system. So we would know when the order would be shipped. So instead of their consumers calling them up and asking them, where is my order, they could just go to IDEAL OF SWEDEN's website and see, okay, the order will be produced or it will be packed in six hours.
Okay, good. Then I know something is happening at least. Yeah. So that was it, a small change. And then we also of course connected all the carriers. So we've got all the information, tracking information while the order has been shipped. But that reduced the number of WISMO questions or tickets from 37% to 4%.
So like a huge cut, but that's just one example of just preventing or like giving your consumers the tools not to contact you is a usually a good idea.
Francois Marchand: And you think, they want to contact you. You want to be in touch with your customers, but sometimes you don't. Sometimes that helps when you don't have to deal with your customers in troubleshooting questions.
Anders Ekman: Yeah. I mean, just to on the back of that, there's this misconception that a lot of carriers in Sweden or in the Nordics that we see, they pride themselves with having really good and friendly staff. Right? Or like drivers, sure, but no one wants to talk to the drivers.
They just want their stuff left outside the door. So yeah, this like misconception about like, yeah, we want service minded staff that is good, but what you want is just to get your stuff you don't want to, dress up just to get your stuff and they want it outside the door in one piece.
Francois Marchand: You want efficiency, efficient service. Friendly service is good because you'll bump into the drivers once in a while. But efficiency is probably key. You mentioned those figures, like that figure of going from 37% to 4% in WISMO requests. So what's a good baseline in the percentage of requests? Is there an acceptable level that you can keep yourself at if you're an ecommerce business?
Anders Ekman: I think about a third isn't uncommon. So I think like 30% what I've heard. So I don't think ideally Sweden were very, I mean, they were about normal. It varies a lot from if you drop ship or if you ship from your own warehouse, or if you need to source, or if you consolidate like a lot of orders from different, I mean, if you're a marketplace, et cetera, so that it differs from merchant to merchant and business to business too, I suppose.
Francois Marchand: So having said all that, what can the ecommerce businesses, if they're not using Ingrid and that's okay, I mean, but if they are, or if they aren't, what can they learn from what Ingrid is doing? And are there some things that can be applied even if you don't outsource sort of that delivery optimization to an external company?
Anders Ekman: I think the couriers or the riders or the whatever you call them have too much power. I think you should, as a merchant, do what you can to play them against each other. Yeah, I mean, it might sound harsh, but I think there's a lot of money to be saved there. Because when you sign contracts with them, you usually do it maybe a year in advance and you do it based on some like historical numbers and you do it kind of like promise or estimate that you'll give them a certain volume.
And if you reach that volume, you will get lower price like that. But I think it's much better to say that to try to have as, not as many as possible, but more and let them compete against each other and do that also locally. So, I mean, if you have one courier who is managing Vancouver, then try to find the best one there and ask them what rates they give you.
And then if you have another one who is doing California or East coast or something, then find the one who's best there and push them on like delivery times, push them or like challenge them on accuracy and their delivery times and promises. And primarily ask for better rates and then be fast on like knowing how to steer volumes from one to another, cause I think that's the best way to get their attention.
Francois Marchand: Make the competition work for you, not against you. Right? That's the idea.
Anders Ekman: Yeah. If you look at the cost side of a ecom company, deliveries for shipping is going to be, I don't know, maybe the third biggest after salaries or wages and the cost of the stuff you're selling.
So we have some really nice stories where we've just used that competition or like market competition, whatever you might call it, in the favor of our merchants and given them the tools to say that if you don't lower your prices, we're going to give volume to your competitor. And then that usually works very well.
Francois Marchand: Nice. That's great stuff to know. Yeah. Logistics costs are very high. And there's options. So look at the options, make it work for your company and make your business operate with fewer costs. And speaking of costs and resources that you can use to optimize your delivery experience, we talked about a lot of stuff.
Are there, tools and software that you recommend for businesses who want to optimize their delivery strategy internally and take back that control over the delivery experience? Like you said, don't give it to, third party carriers, just if you want to keep it in house or do all the tracking of, so you don't lose that control over your customer experience.
Anders Ekman: It depends on the size of your business, right? Ecommerce is about scalability. We see the best results where we have clients and merchants who have a dedicated person in the ecom managers team who works with just the delivery experience, who has the responsibility for doing all these tests. So find some software that lets you test the checkout so you can test different pricing and different order and different numbers of delivery options.
But then also understands how the order is conveyed or like how it flows through the other systems that you have, like warehouse system, your ERP, your TMS. And also maybe not negotiating rates with the carriers, but is aware of the carriers and knows their weaknesses and strengths.
So there's not like a bulletproof sections or whatever between logistics and the ecom front. Because we see that a lot that there's a logistics team, they do their thing and they're working in the warehouse and they are all about optimizing processes in the warehouse. And then there's someone else working in the business or revenue facing side.
I mean, basically just the ecom side. Sometimes there are is, but like communication between that. So it could be good to have someone who is responsible for that whole thing. In Europe, we have for example, ship cloud and send cloud companies that negotiate your tariffs for you. I think they might be in the States.
I'm not sure. But like that could be an option to look into some companies who help negotiate better rates for you, at least while you're growing, they pool contracts and you'll get much better rates than if you contact security yourselves. So that could be an alternative and then also try to look for cloud based solutions, I would say, so stay away from WMS systems, warehouse management systems that are on premise. Try to find something that's cloud based that just makes it so much easier for you to do updates and build something lean and efficient.
If I should recommend some, there's one called Ongoing that I, it's a Scandinavian system, so I know a bit a lot, but yeah, they're nice.
Francois Marchand: Thanks for the tip. That's a good suggestion. And of course there's Ingrid. We wouldn't be here doing things properly and I wouldn't be doing my job properly if I didn't ask you about when does an ecommerce company decide it's time to ask Ingrid for help to do these things?
Anders Ekman: Yeah, I mean, it's usually when someone is fed up with how poor things are working. So, like I mentioned in the beginning, in Sweden and we're based here, so here we have around 25% of the market and it's almost like a self playing piano sometimes, at least from the aspects of knowing when they need you. I mean, here we're pretty well-known.
We have a lot of the pharmacies, for example, online pharmacies, and then they see one of their competitors is using our service and then they contact us. That's usually how we get inbound to start with that need that you get so frustrated with why am I offering my consumers such a bad delivery experience?
Why am I sticking to these two delivery options that are home delivery that I can't trust and they are really expensive? Why can't I use this parcel locker solution that is working great in France for my French customers and then keep UPS in the States or something like that? So, it's a fun problem to work with because everyone can relate to it because everyone has had a bad delivery experience, right?
Francois Marchand: Yes. Indeed. Yeah.
Anders Ekman: I mean, you stay at home and all of a sudden you get text message that we tried to deliver and you weren't at home and you're lying. So everyone can relate to it. And I think once you start realizing how important it is for your consumers to get rid of that anxiety or frustration connected with a bad delivery experience, then you realize how it is.
Thanks for realizing how important it is. I think that's, we usually, when it starts, they identify some type of frustration and then they start looking around for, okay, how can we do this? A lot of companies try to build it themselves. You can do that, of course you can integrate toward carriers. I mean, ask their APIs for delivery times, a couple of occasions, et cetera.
That's sustainable for a while, but then you decide maybe we should start shipping to Canada instead. All of a sudden you realize, okay, I have to build connections to a lot of carriers in Canada, and then you want to go overseas and you want to ship to UK. The UK is a mess. So, that becomes a limiting factor. So that could also be when they contact us, when they realize that they want to spend their tech resources on something even more fun than talking to UPS.
Francois Marchand: There's a business scales as you start crossing borders and you start dealing with different carriers in different countries and you face all these challenges.
At some point, it might not be the best idea to try to deal with that yourself. And don't be afraid to ask for help. That's what we're here for. We're here to tell people how to get help to do better business. And I know as a consumer, delivery times drive me crazy. And in Canada, there's all sorts of challenges because there is one mail carrier, national mail carrier, and then you've got UPS and a few local courier companies.
Yeah, I get the notification saying we tried to deliver all the time and it's not there and I have to go to the post office. So just tell me you're going to drop it off at the post office. Tell me when it's going to be there. I'll just plan my day around that. Right? So, yeah, so much easier.
So to everybody out there, build better delivery experiences. That's the lesson of the day. Anders, anything else you want to add about your experience, about what we talked about today? Any blind spots that we missed? It's open mic for you at this point.
Anders Ekman: I can go on forever about this, I'm sad to say.
There are so many things to do. Just the get started is my recommendation. And then don't be afraid to try out different stuff. So try a different pricing, try different free shipping thresholds. Call up your, some local delivery company in Houston and ask for their rates and see if you can work with them or not.
Francois Marchand: Yeah. Test it out, figure out what works for you, what works for your customers and then success. I hope. Anders, thank you so much for being here today.
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