“Delivery Services in the Online Shopping Market”, by UK’s Citizens Advice, is just the latest in a long line of reports which highlight the necessity of improving a sector that eCommerce deliveries have literally taken by storm (25 million parcels delivered in Italy by Poste Italiane in the first five months of 2017, five years ago the number was close to zero). It was compiled by surveying an audit of the websites of 25 e-retailers selected from the Top 50 IMRG E-retailer Index7 and 524 online shoppers from Great Britain, who filled out a total of 967 online shopping diaries as they shopped with e-retailers.
They write: “This report has shown that although there is high general satisfaction with parcel delivery services, a large proportion of consumers have experienced problems receiving items they have purchased online. These range from problems arranging delivery and failed attempts at delivery to delayed, lost and damaged goods”.
The report continues with a roster of single problems and their incidence: 38% of complainers say their parcel arrived late; 28% that someone was home but they got the “sorry I missed you” card anyway; 19% had to pick the parcel from an inconvenient place; a staggering 25% had to be home or to have someone stay home to get the parcel, even if doing so would cause a serious inconvenience.
After suffering a problem only 38% took some action and often experienced further problems by doing so. 50% of them, incredibly, didn’t even know who was responsible for the delivery: because the eCommerce in which they made the purchase didn’t specify it at checkout, nor any email with info was sent after.
One of our latest blog posts was about communication: we wrote that the lack of a discernible pattern of communication with customers is not just bad for Couriers but catastrophic for the Retailers that entrust them with their last-mile deliveries. Retailers and Couriers alike need to nurture their relationships with the Customers by letting them become an active part of the delivery experience.
The delivery carrier has to be named from checkout and, as the lack of reliable (or useful) track-and-trace services is so severe as to be one of the priorities underlined by the Ecommerce Europe Manifesto 2017, price of delivery and date of delivery should also be clear in the early stages of checkout. As we advocate, and we’ll firmly continue to do so: the hour of delivery should also be there, chosen by the Shopper.
The newest UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper stresses these concepts even further: among the most important options when checking out online “Guaranteed delivery date” has been invoked by 49% of the US Customers interviewed. The fact that 75% of them are willing to pay a premium for expedited shipping stresses the fact that “Premium” services are firmly taking control of the sector: people want the power to decide where and when. Just imagine the percentage of those who would pay more to have the chance to simply choose.
Who can provide that? EFT’s and JDA’s 2017 Global Logistics Reports state that tech-driven logistics companies are perceived as the future of the industry by 48.1% of the Logistics and Supply Chain experts interviewed. In the UK, Europe’s biggest eCommerce market, eDelivey and NetDespatch surveyed the major Retailers: visibility and tracking services are a top priority for development with 45% of retailers citing them, while timed deliveries are the next highest priority for just over a third (35%) of respondents.
These numbers add a new mantra to the logistics world: while in the last few days, we’ve heard the usual “location, location, location” repeated time and time again, nowadays we’d like to sing “where and when in you shopper hands” too.