Customers have plenty of shopping options at their fingertips, so you need to make your business stand out from the competition. There are many ways to get your business in front of a larger audience, but a few simple tweaks will make your brand shine. In our study, Protect Your Growth Strategy: 2023 Consumer & Merchant Benchmark Report, we surveyed customers and merchants alike to help your business align with customer expectations. Opening your store to social media sites, providing free returns, and communicating shipping information can be game changers. While they may sound small, these three changes show customers that you value their input and preferences. 

Sell on social media channels  

Social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular with shoppers; Facebook is leading the pack with Instagram not far behind. In our study, we found over 50% of customers stated they purchased products through Facebook and almost 40% purchased through Instagram. While TikTok proved to be the third most popular social media sales channel, Gen Z (those born between 1997-2013) seems to be the main age demographic purchasing from the platform; other age groups are more likely to purchase from Facebook. 

Consumers are buying on social media platforms. Your business has the chance to showcase products to an entirely new audience. Additionally, the benefits of social media platforms are two-fold. Not only can you sell products through Facebook and Instagram, but you can also promote your store by posting reels, stories, and photos

Winning strategies for engaging on social media

Social media posts are more impactful than you may think. Remember the last time you scrolled through your Facebook or Instagram account. How many ads and/or posts featured product links? More importantly, how many of those links immediately led you to the product listing or started a cart for you? 

Customers browse social media in the same way. Highlight products in a way that would catch your attention. Create posts with links to your store or the social media platform’s selling channel to make shopping convenient. Encourage shoppers to enable notifications for product releases. When it comes to selling on social media, help your business stand out by keeping your posts eye-catching and the shopping experience as easy as possible.  

The benefits of multichannel selling 

Don’t let the connotation of multichannel selling scare you away from meeting your customers where they’re shopping. Whether it be on social media platforms or marketplaces like Amazon, follow consumer trends. Marketing products on social media is only one piece of the puzzle; it showcases your products to those already following. However, expanding your selling channels to the likes of Amazon and eBay opens your business up to more opportunities. For example, Amazon shoppers are given recommendations based on their buying habits, so your products can be shown to a much larger audience. 

Additionally, both Amazon and eBay can be integrated into your account. Once integrated, orders with payment received will automatically sync into your account where labels can be created. After your label is printed, will post the tracking information back to each marketplace for shipment notification emails, and the orders will be marked in each marketplace as shipped. You can keep track of all of your orders in one place instead of multiple windows, making multichannel selling all the easier. 

This is how the Amazon store will appear in your account. 

Offer easy and free returns 

Return policies are becoming an increasingly important deciding factor for customers. In fact, our study showed that 44% of customers stated they’re less likely to shop from a store with a difficult returns process. If you haven’t revisited your return policy recently, walk through the process from a customer’s perspective. Update any information you find confusing or unclear. Chances are, if something doesn’t make sense to you, it won’t make sense to your customers. 

Customers also prefer carrier drop-off options for returns. One way to include this option is to offer prepaid returns through a QR Code or printable label. This way, your customers can simply package their return and drop it off at their local carrier. 

This is an example of a return QR Code from

Along with a clear returns policy, customers also expect free returns. With 81% of customers in our study stating businesses should offer free returns, it’s worth considering. merchants have access to affordable rates that can help offset the cost of free returns. 

Also, USPS offers free shipping supplies you can order directly from your account. These supplies can then be sent to your customers for returns or used for your shipments. Either way, provides you with options to help offer free returns to customers. With our study showing 66% of merchants not offering free returns, you can rise above the competition by meeting customer expectations. 

“The consumer started expecting free outbound shipping, albeit at a threshold, about a decade ago. Now, free returns are an expectation, and the consumer need for free returns is growing. In some ways, this makes sense – consumers have to do quite a bit more work when returning a shipment, whether it is initiating the return itself with the retailer, printing the shipping label, finding packaging, scheduling the pickup or dropping off the package.” – Krish Iyer, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Industry Relations at Auctane

Tips for crafting a better return policy

  • Be clear and concise with all of the information included in your return policy
  • Consider how long packages take to arrive when determining the return window 
  • Test available support options for functionality to see how easily your customers can ask questions
  • Update your return window and policy during the holiday season to accommodate customers

Increase the number of shipping notifications 

When asked in our study, 42% of customers would like to receive daily communication about their shipment moving through transit — regardless of whether or not there are any new updates. If you’re unable to send daily tracking notifications, consider using tracking pages for real-time tracking updates or utilizing shipment notifications for major updates. 37% of customers in our study also reported they’d like to receive updates for major events, including: 

  • When their package is shipped 
  • When their package is in transit 
  • When their package is out for delivery 
  • When their package has been delivered 

However, you aren’t limited to traditional shipping notifications. With you have access to customizable branded tracking and branded ship notification emails! Sending customized emails to customers is another way to promote your brand during the shipping process. 

Branded ship notification emails are personalized emails sent to update customers as their order moves through transit. You can choose a color scheme and include your business’s social media platforms, among other options, to create an email that represents your business. A customer’s impression of your business isn’t over when they complete their purchase, so branded ship notifications emails are a great way to continue a positive shopping experience. 

This is an example of a branded ship notification email. 

Branded ship notification emails also include the shipment’s tracking number. Instead of sending customers to a carrier tracking page, you can customize a tracking page with the help of branded tracking. Like branded ship notification emails, the branded tracking page is customizable and provides customers with their tracking information. You can even include new products, so customers can start planning their next purchase. On average, this sees at least three visits per shipment, so it can be a great source of traffic for your store and increase your engagement. 

This is the desktop preview of a branded tracking page. 

This is the desktop preview of a branded tracking page. 

Don’t be afraid to let customers influence your communications and policies. For example, customers are more likely to complete their purchase if you offer free returns. Providing updates during the shopping and shipping experiences for your customers will improve the chances of standing out against other stores and marketplaces. An increase in social media marketplaces gives you the opportunity to show products to a larger audience. Sending shipping updates as a package moves through transit establishes trust with your customer base. Our research is giving you the information needed to boost your sales by aligning with customer expectations. All that’s left is to utilize your account to help implement these strategies. 

Start your 30-day free trial to today. 


Retail Economics, which includes economic modeling and data-driven insights developed from a nationally representative consumer panel survey comprising over 8,000 households across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Auctane-driven research, including insight from 1,000 consumers in the U.S. 

Auctane-driven research, including insight from over 300 merchants in the U.S

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