Year In Review: Service Trends In 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at the top service trends of this year.

A Rise In Shipping Costs & The Arrival Of Dimensional Weight Shipping – Major carriers raised their shipping costs by close to 5% at the beginning of 2015. With truck tonnage reaching record highs, space on shipping pallets has become a hot commodity. This is in part due to what some call the Amazon Effect: the trend by millions of Amazon Prime shoppers to order more items online that were once purchased in-store. Shipping these purchases – which are often small or light items packed in large boxes – forced carriers to make changes to their pricing model this year. Carriers now use box dimensions and weight to calculate price, in order to compensate for the loss in pallet space by large, light items. This, in turn, forced Amazon to raise the cost of Prime membership in 2015.

Omnichannel Retailers Making Moves – Omnichannel retailers continue to find new ways to leverage their store footprint to improve their customer experience. Two such services are the offerings of in-store pickups and in-store returns of online purchases. The benefit extends to both shopper and retailer, as shoppers are given more options to receive/return their purchases, and retailers get more interaction with customers. “You want to get customers into the store,” said Kevon Hills, VP of Research at StellaService. “It gives you an opportunity to cross-sell, upsell or save the sale on the returns side.”

Live Chat Continues to Rise – This year, StellaService saw 16 major retailers add live chat support to their websites. Retailers view live chat as an opportunity to engage shoppers when they are already in buying mode.

Email Support Declines in Popularity – While live chat has grown, email support fell in popularity this year. StellaService observed four major retailers turn off the support channel: Toys ‘R Us, Nike, JCPenney and Sears. While email offers convenience to many shoppers that phone support does not, it also takes much longer for customers to get their questions answered by agents.

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