Inside Logistics

Delivery critical say holiday shoppers

Survey identifies the importance of date commitments to the delivery experience, the need for retailers to provide proactive shipment updates, and the expectation that retailers will resolve shipping issues


November 22, 2017
by

AUSTIN, Texas — Holiday shoppers still feel delivery is critical. Forty percent of consumers report delivery is the single most decisive factor of the shopping experience.

The survey of 1,500 shoppers identified the importance of date commitments to the delivery experience, the need for retailers to provide proactive shipment updates, and the expectation that retailers will resolve shipping issues (as opposed to carriers) and provide more convenient customer self-service options, as top priorities.

“Despite the best efforts of retailers to fulfill customer delivery demands, shoppers still perceive the delivery experience to be mediocre at best,” said Rob Taylor, CEO at Convey, Inc, which sponsored the study.

“In our recent survey, shoppers were clear: while free and fast shipping are still table stakes, promise-by dates and the way a retailer handles on-going issues are equally important. With half of all shoppers experiencing at least one issue per year, retailers must take an active role to control the outcome of deliveries during the busy holiday season.”

Dates Matter

When asked to choose the most important delivery factor during the holiday season, 29 percent of respondents prefer a specific promise date, and 23 percent select a delivery date range, bested only by cost at 33 percent.

In addition, shoppers expect retailers to make a commitment and keep it.

Over 95 percent of shoppers expect retailers to proactively respond if a carrier’s estimated delivery date changes while a shipment is in transit, and more than 90 percent expect some form of action or compensation for missed promise-by dates.

Preferred responses to a missed promise date include: refund of shipping costs (50 percent), discount for a future purchase (19 percent), expedited shipping for a replacement product (10 percent), and expedited shipping for a future purchase (10 percent).

Expected compensation for other delays include: refund of shipping costs (32 percent), discount for a future purchase (25 percent), expedited shipping for a replacement product (16 percent), and item return and refund (16 percent).

Communication is Key

Shoppers were also loud and clear about how and when they want to communicate with retailers, with 93 percent expecting to receive proactive shipment updates.

When a delivery exception occurs, 41 percent of shoppers want to be notified immediately, preferring e-mail notifications (50 percent) to SMS (21 percent), phone calls (12 percent), tracking page updates (eight percent), and Facebook notifications (one percent). Only seven percent prefer no contact at all.

Of the 94 percent of shoppers interested in providing delivery feedback, there was strong affinity for using the same communication channels as those used by retailers.

Shoppers Want (More) Control

Regardless of the issue, 97.5 percent of shoppers want to self-serve or interact with a retailer directly to resolve delivery issues, with those aged 18-34 being 35 percent more likely to prefer options such as pick-up lockers and holding a shipment at a terminal.

Unfortunately today many retailers, including those acutely focused on customer service, do not have the tools or processes in place to meet this need – often responding reactively to inbound calls and in many cases sending shoppers to a carrier’s 1-800 number.