If you don’t work in the e-commerce field, acronyms like WISMO and WISMR may be completely opaque.
But as a customer, we’re all familiar with what these terms mean: having to go back to a retailer you’ve just spent your hard-earned dollars on to ask; ‘Where is my order?’ (WISMO) or ‘Where is my return?’ (WISMR).
The WISMO and WISMR problem is a headache for all online retailers but used to be a particular issue at Philipp Plein International Group.
Based in Switzerland, and selling everything from apparel to eyewear via sneakers, the company is all about luxury and great CX. Head of Global Ecommerce, Olga Burfan, says:
We wanted to provide clients a great experience, but we know that if you’re constantly reaching out to us to ask where your order is and when you need to be in for delivery, that represents a dip in the level of service we’re giving you.
Achieving consistent delivery of high service levels, which the company sees as appropriate for its high-end brand promise, has been met, Burfan says, by the use of so-called ‘post-purchase software’ from vendor parcelLab.
This company uses a number of technologies including machine learning to start a personalized communication process with a Philipp Plein online shopper, right from when they complete a purchase.
As a result, says Burfan, there has been a 15-20% decrease, depending on the trading cycle, of WISMO queries since the tech went live 12 months ago.
Limitations with existing systems
This matters, as while the brand has 100 real-world stores for its Philipp Plein Sport and Billionaire offerings, online is a hugely important sales channel.
However, prior to adopting this solution, limitations with the existing internal customer processing system meant team members had to manually review each WISMO/WISMR request.
That was starting to take up too many resources to solve a customer service ticket. Another problem was that this process did not integrate with the Group’s other logistical systems.
We have the normal ERP and warehouse systems, but we had a challenge connecting all of those things together so that it wouldn’t matter where the client is based, where the order is going - country or region - or which delivery partner we want to use.
Shipping is also complicated by the fact that an item can be pushed out not just from a warehouse, but stores, with every store being a separate stock point.
We needed to collect all of the information in the back-end and integrate it into one customer's shipping system.
As a result, Burfan went to market to find a way to cut back the number of customer service tickets.
The brand also wanted a personalized way to re-engage with customers encountering any WISMO/WISMR issues and increase customer loyalty, she states.
Swiss-based Burfan and her team says she chose this particular tech approach due to its strong focus on making the returns process seamless for a customer.
She also liked the way that all delivery communications would always be kept within the Philipp Plein process and always use corporate branding.
Once contracted in, the vendor quickly implemented a customized post-purchase experience integrated into all its core ecomm systems.
This was a super-fast project for us, and we were surprised how fast everything got integrated.
Post-purchasing went live at Philipp Plein in Summer 2022.
That means the customer now only ever engages with this system post an order - and receives constant updates about the progress of their delivery across several channels.
This is updated by constant communication by the software with all the carriers (physical delivery organizations) Philipp Plein International Group works with.
That means any delays - especially cross-border - are instantly flagged, she says.
Freed up for different kinds of outreach
Apart from that welcome 20% in reduced tickets, what other benefits are accruing to the company because of adopting this technique?
For the customer, she says, service and sales colleagues who were previously spending time resolving delivery snafus are now able to work on more value-add activities.
If we can proactively reach out to the client, it means that our customer service team is free for a different project or even for a different mode of client outreach.
So, we are investing the time we previously were spending on helping with delivery queries contacting clients in a different way, which helps generate additional revenue and also provides additional services to our clients.
Burfan also believes that more regular, personalized communications are prompting more visits back to her website to see the latest Philipp Plein collections.
Our clients really appreciate all these updates and know they are up to date whenever they need to take any action - maybe it's customs clearance, maybe there’s a delay due to weather conditions, but at least they know to take action if they need to.
And by offering the customer such a constant set of updates, there are more touchpoints with what she says are “extremely high levels” of opening and click rates open for her colleagues in marketing.
For example, after a defined period after the buyer has successfully received their website order, the company checks how satisfied they were with their shopping experience, if they were satisfied or not, and can ask if they would recommend the brand and so on.
That delivers CX data that is fed into a CRM (customer relationship management) system that further enhances the brand’s knowledge about a specific customer’s history.
We now know a lot more about deconversion rates, but also who’s willing to buy again after a completed order - which I’m glad to say is pretty high.
The system also provides data to clean up personal data (30% of delivery issues are down to customer address issues, says the vendor).
Next steps for post purchasing at the company, she concludes, include adding more of the suite’s functionality to the Philipp Plein shopping experience.