Half a million
You’re at work and lunchtime rolls around. You realize you’ve got an event this weekend to attend and you don’t have an outfit, nor do you have time to go searching for one. You quickly jump online to find something suitable and hit the ‘checkout’ button before your next meeting anticipating your order to arrive tomorrow. It’s on the doorstep when you arrive home from work 3 hours later all thanks to Australia and New Zealand’s leading online fashion and sports retailer, THE ICONIC.
But what goes on behind each transaction? How do everything from the website, checkout button, and delivery logistics all integrate to give consumers a simple, reliable, and effortless shopping experience?
According to Australia Post's August 2020 e-commerce report, Australia’s appetite for online shopping continues to increase. As the industry grows an average of fifteen percent year on year, THE ICONIC’s growth trajectory over the last nine years is second to none with no signs of slowing down. Central to this growth is the delivery and returns technology team at THE ICONIC, who are responsible for customer experience around cart, checkout, delivery, and returns.
“Part of the success and growth story of THE ICONIC is related to the transparency of our delivery commitments and the confidence it instills in our customers,”’ says Max Antonov, Product Owner at THE ICONIC. Across the business, the commitment to delivering ‘seamless and inspiring’ customer experiences is evident. “That’s our team’s mission and how we’re driving THE ICONIC forward as a leader in the retail ecosystem. We want to make the purchase and delivery experience simple and transparent for our customers, and that’s where AfterShip helps us” explains Richie Hadfield, Director of Product.
We aim to deliver a seamless and inspiring experience for our customers to feel confident shopping online.
Director of Product at THE ICONIC
“If we look back a few years, online shopping was a very different landscape. Two weeks was considered an acceptable delivery timeframe and customers didn’t expect their deliveries to be tracked. But customer expectations changed so we needed to adapt rapidly,” mentions Antonov. For the last four years, AfterShip has been a vital partner and continues to be an integral part of the Delivery and Returns solution for THE ICONIC. AfterShip’s platform has helped the team build outstanding customer experiences and adapt to the changing online marketplace with the platform’s real-time insights into the status of orders and deliveries. “AfterShip has given the team complete visibility into our delivery process. We now know where every item is and where the critical points are within our customer’s journey,” says Antonov.
In addition to insights into customer deliveries, AfterShip features that support THE ICONIC team include; notifications that provide customers with proactive delivery status updates, customizable tracking pages that seamlessly integrate into the existing website, and AfterShip’s simple and reliable API integration. “I don’t recall the API ever going down - that’s the sign of a good integration, you almost forget it’s there because it just works” states Hadfield.
With customer experience at the center of all operations at THE ICONIC, feedback is a valuable commodity for the team. AfterShip provided an opportunity for the delivery and parcels team to improve its customer feedback loop by optimizing how they delivered the NPS survey. “The timing we had previously wasn’t ideal. We were sending surveys seven days after purchase, which didn’t lead to the best customer experience,” Antonov states. The team realized that the NPS survey would often be sent before the parcel arrived. This was confusing for customers, who would have expected a delivery first before completing a survey. This mismatched timing between THE ICONIC and the customer’s delivery led to low NPS scores and minimal response rates.
By using the data and insights provided by AfterShip, the delivery and parcels team at THE ICONIC were able to create a new intuitive customer feedback loop that automatically sent NPS surveys once the last parcel had been received by the customer. “AfterShip gave us the opportunity to reform our feedback loop. We realized timing and context are crucial and we now send the survey as soon as the last parcel is delivered which is triggered by data we receive from AfterShip,” says Antonov. This change has led to THE ICONIC receiving far more relevant and timely feedback from customers.
The growth of THE ICONIC has seen an expansion of their operations and new business opportunities such as Marketplace, which enables third-party partners to sell their goods directly on THE ICONIC’s platform. Operating differently to the existing warehouse model, which sees all goods shipped from THE ICONIC’s warehouse, Marketplace allows partners to ship directly from their own location. This presented a new set of challenges for the delivery and parcels team.
“Our B2B Marketplace operated differently to how we had been managing deliveries from THE ICONIC’s warehouse. One of the key challenges we had was we didn’t know the status of a parcel and if it had been fulfilled by partners or not”, stated Antonov. With third party suppliers selling their goods on THE ICONIC’s platform and shipping items directly, the delivery and parcels team instead took on a supervisory role over the marketplace delivery operations.
“We needed a solution that not only gave us visibility but could also provide us with data to help us identify suitable service level agreements (SLAs) with our Marketplace partners. We needed to keep partners accountable and have some control over the customer experience delivered by partners as they were operating on behalf of THE ICONIC,” expressed Antonov.
AfterShip was able to integrate into partners’ delivery networks and collect a substantial amount of data for THE ICONIC to utilize and strategize with. As well as increased visibility of parcel status’, account management teams at THE ICONIC were able to receive automated data reports from AfterShip. This helped them to build stronger relationships with partners by providing insights that identified gaps in the partners ‘cart to delivery’ performance on THE ICONIC platform.
With better insights into the supplier delivery network, THE ICONIC was able to improve the performance of their Marketplace suppliers with; the introduction of SLAs, standardization of the supplier’s delivery process and ultimately increase supplier revenue and cart conversion rates on the platform. “We wanted to bridge the gap between third party suppliers and THE ICONIC as much as possible. We knew there was a disconnect and AfterShip provided us with the data to enable us to formulate a strategy to approach the issue,” said Antonov.
Transparency continues to be a critical component of THE ICONIC’s value proposition and is embedded in the company’s culture. “We work closely with other teams at THE ICONIC and because of the unique culture and spirit of transparency, we work effectively with different teams to help us solve problems efficiently”. Antonov mentions. “AfterShip has played a major role in the success we’ve had with our delivery experience,” said Hadfield. “It’s provided our teams and our customers with complete transparency and insight into orders and deliveries, helped our Marketplace partners stay on the ball, helped us identify potential challenges and allowed us to improve the overall customer experience.
When customer experience is a core component of a retail organization’s strategy, partnering with technology solutions that help build credibility and reliability becomes a priority. THE ICONIC has leveraged AfterShip to help them foster a culture of transparency not only internally but also externally with their customers and their business partners. Ultimately helping THE ICONIC to build an industry-leading reputation across Australia and New Zealand in delivering exceptional customer experience.