APS Fulfillment, Inc. (www.APSFulfillment.com), one of the nation’s leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, is announcing its top tips for creating an outstanding e-commerce experience for customers.

“As the world’s biggest economy, U.S. online sales are expected to grow from $343 billion in 2012 to $434 billion by 2017,” says Charles Aultman, President of APS Fulfillment, Inc. “Most recently, during the first quarter of 2014, U.S. online retail sales climbed 13% year-over-year to $63.4 billion. This double digit growth is a positive indicator in light of soft overall consumer spending.” (Source: “U.S. E-Commerce Sales Rise in 1st Quarter,” NASDAQ web site, May 13, 2014; www.nasdaq.com/article/us-ecommerce-sales-rise-in-1st-quarter-20140513-01079.)

Aultman explains that online shopping is a hugely competitive sector, and with savvy consumers expecting more and more, brands need to provide exceptional service to develop and enhance brand loyalty and drive repeat business; after all, it only takes one mishap to send a shopper to another retailer.

While overall satisfaction with online shopping remains high at 83%, it plummets below 50% when consumers weigh in on shipping options and shipping flexibility. For brands, the biggest areas for improvement are in the delivery and post-purchase phases. (Source: “Global Study Reveals Online Shoppers Want More Convenience,” comScore web site, September 26, 2013; www.comscore.com/Insights/Press_Releases/2013/9/Global_Study_Reveals_Online_Shoppers_Want_More_Convenience.)

“For the most part, people shop online because they like the convenience,” Aultman adds. “To make the process easier, shoppers want retailers to provide information up-front on shipping costs and delivery time.”

According to Aultman, getting as much information as possible on shipping and delivery is important. More than a third of all consumers (34%) say they abandon products in their online shopping cart because shipping and handling costs were listed too late during the checkout process.

“Dependable delivery is an important part of any business; so too is the return policy,” he observes. “Not surprisingly, return volumes have increased on the heels of growing online sales. In 2013, 62% of shoppers returned or exchanged an item compared with 51% in 2012. A flexible return policy can enhance customer satisfaction, which can drive future sales.”

When it comes to product returns, Aultman notes that while shoppers like the option of free-return shipping, they also like brands that provide a ‘no questions asked’ return policy and either a return label inside the box of their original purchase or an easy-to-print off-return label and easy-to-follow returns procedure.

“Once an order is placed, online shoppers want to know when they are going to receive their order and that the return policy is convenient and stress free,” Aultman concludes. “To this end, it’s essential that brands make sure they use a warehousing and fulfillment company with accurate and fast pick-and-pack that is close to all transportation hubs and uses state-of-the-art automation technologies and a reliable customer service team.”

APS Fulfillment, Inc. is one of the United States’ leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, offering affordable and real-time fulfillment services to small, medium, and large companies. Its state-of-the-art technology provides turnkey solutions for high-volume perfect-match mailings, personalized direct mail, snap-pak mailers, postcards, and triple-tabbed booklets. More information on APS Fulfillment, Inc. is available by visiting the firm’s web site at www.APSFulfillment.com or by calling 954-582-7450.