When trying to improve revenue on an eCommerce website the focus for digital agencies tends to be on improving the funnel. After all, tactics that are designed to improve the funnel should lead to increased revenue. This includes things like making buttons clearer, doing usability studies, improving page-load speeds and so on. Even if the changes result in a drop in revenue, you can roll back the changes, understand why, iterate and improve in a different way.
eCommerce is great this way. Because changes to the funnel can be tracked so well it means it’s easy to assign an accurate return on investment to the work done. In other words, X amount of hours, results in a cost of Y, which results in X% change in revenue. It’s neat and tidy, especially for people in charge of budgets.
However this makes blue sky thinking difficult to justify in digital. Especially if it impacts a companies bottom line. All this means that sometimes what is happening in the real world, and how that is making the customer feel, can easily be overlooked.
So it was interesting to read about the insights that came out of a Reuters article pointing out Apple’s strategy to reduce refund time in order to boost sales.
Apple went ahead and made an operational change in order to make their customers happier. Their tactic of choice was to reduce the time it takes to return a product for refund from 10 days, to well under a week. This ended up costing Apple more, which challenges the status quo of trimming the cost of the returns process to improve a companies bottom line. But, the result is happier customers.
In this case, customer satisfaction is not part of the funnel and Apple ended up increasing their costs, but it’s a smart long term move that will result in more loyal customers and lure online shoppers away from alternatives like Amazon.