I was excited to attend IRCE 2018 (Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition) to meet with retail systems providers and retail thought leaders.
Although there were great tracks on Marketing, Branding, Omnichannel, Financial and IT Strategy, I spent most of my time in the Fulfillment, Operations & Customer Service track. HigherRing is moving into Operations roles for a couple of clients and our roles in this area, will be valuable.
In a social media customer reviews session called Building Loyalty through High-Touch Customer Service, I learned that every negative review is marketing opportunity. Quick, caring and effective responses not only help the complaining customer but also put your responsive customer service on display.
In a session on the returns lifecycle called Manage Returns Effectively without Sandbagging Sales, we explored how smaller ecommerce retailers compete with bigger retailers generous 'free returns' policies. Returns are a fact of life in online retailing, with some industry return rates hovering around 30%. Operations executives have to walk a fine line - crafting a returns policy that doesn’t stop a nervous shopper from keeping shipping and inventory costs low. We also explored return windows and how to decide to accommodate deserving customers when your policy needs to be stricter.
I explored texting as a new hot support channel in Want 2 Return, Can U Help?
Online retailers are beginning to find the preference for texting extending into customer service interactions. In this session, we heard from two online retailers whose customer service representatives often respond to inquiries sent via SMS text and instant message (think Facebook Messenger). They shared the unique learnings and processes that they implemented to make this popular form of communication effective, and what texting is teaching them about what consumers expect from e-retailers today.
All in all, a great trip to immerse myself in the retail ecosystem.