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With pervasive mobile devices and always-on connectivity, today's customers dance effortlessly between the digital and physical worlds. However, retailers and brands are not having such an easy time.

With the exception of billion-dollar juggernauts like Amazon and Apple, e-commerce retailers are challenged by the widening gap in customer experience between the digital shopping experience and the physical product delivery. That gap is the New Moment of Truth, a critical touchpoint that can make or break customers' loyalty.

The step of the customer journey between the purchase and the delivery of a product is incredibly valuable. Customers are strongly engaged with anticipation and excitement, so this is an opportunity for brands to harness rosy expectations and heightened attention to set up their products for success.

Unfortunately, the step is also fraught with pitfalls: supply-chain inefficiencies, inclement weather, missed packages, and more. Those pitfalls can severely damage a customer's impression of a brand even before the product has a chance to shine.

A Missed Opportunity

Few retailers have found the right ways to bolster their customers' enthusiasm and to soften the effect of delivery issues instead of pass the buck to a bevy of carriers. The rationale is that the retailer loses control of the package once it leaves the loading dock. But the result is a customer's concerns bouncing back and forth between carrier and retailer when a problem arises. Ultimately, the retailer must take responsibility or lose the customer forever, but too often, by then, the customer's brand experience has already been irreparably damaged.

Instead of playing damage control, smart retailers can proactively "mind the post-purchase gap" and take ownership of the New Moment of Truth. A branded post-purchase experience allows savvy retailers to make the most of customers' excitement by providing inspirational content or recommending relevant products and services.

For example, an educational video teaching new users how best to use a product can prevent a support call or a disappointing experience later on.

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image of Harsh Jawharkar

Harsh Jawharkar is vice-president of Marketing at Narvar, an enterprise SaaS platform that helps leading brands and retailers build lifelong relationships with their customers beyond the buy button.

LinkedIn: Harsh Jawharkar