Delivery problems are major concern for UK online shoppers, says new report

Delivery problems are major concern for UK online shoppers, says new report

Almost half (47%) of UK adults online reported that they have experienced problems with online orders in the past 12 months, according to a new JDA/Centiro report, with many respondents complaining about late deliveries, non-deliveries, and being given missed delivery cards when they were actually at home waiting for their parcels. According to a statement issued yesterday (2 June) by JDA: “Of those shoppers who had experienced problems, nearly half (46%) reported late deliveries; 40% stated they had received a missed delivery card despite being at home to receive an order; while 30% said they never actually received their goods. At a time when consumers are doing increasing amounts of shopping online, the survey reveals that they are also becoming less tolerant of service issues. Indeed, 71% of respondents said that as a result of a poor shopping experience they would be likely to switch to an alternative retailer when next shopping for products online.”

The JDA/Centiro ‘Customer Pulse 2015’ Report reinforced the message that customers care about the price and predictability of delivery more than speed.

“While much of the talk from retailers surrounding home deliveries has concerned the importance of rapid or same-day delivery,” said JDA, “the research revealed that cost (50%) and convenience (25%) remain most important to those who had ever shopped online, rather than speed (18%).”

The survey also emphasised that the delivery process should be seen as an integral part of the customer’s overall retail experience, and a key selling point.

“Nearly half of respondents (46%) who have made an online purchase in the last 12 months said that in this time they had chosen to shop with a retailer that offered multiple delivery options over one that only offered one option. In fact, a third (33%) of respondents said they would be likely to pick a retailer specifically on the basis they can offer a particular slot for delivery (at an extra cost), over one which offers just free delivery.”

A significant proportion of respondents also said that being able to change the delivery date or time slot after an order was shipped was important to them.

Jason Shorrock, retail strategy director at JDA, said that the survey showed how customers now expect much more from online retailers and their delivery partners.

“What they want is an ‘anywhere, anytime’ fulfillment service that is convenient and reliable. No longer are consumers prepared to wait at home for a courier to deliver a parcel, or wait days before they can visit a store to collect their goods. Today’s consumer is not only dictating how and when they would like to receive goods, but reserving the right to make adjustments up until the last minute,” said Shorrock, who warned that: “Consumers will vote with their feet if their expectations aren’t met.”

Retailers and delivery partners have to maintain their level of service even during the peak times – because the survey showed that more than half (56%) of the shoppers who were let down during the Black Friday and Christmas stampede said that they would be unlikely to shop with the same retailer this year.

Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents said that the ease of being able to return items influenced their choice of online retailer. Of those who have shopped online, common frustrations with returns include having to pay for return postage and packaging (37%) and having to return items by post or wait for a courier (24%), followed by an inability to return goods to a store (15%).

“The research clearly shows the returns experience is having an increasing bearing on who consumers shop with online,” said Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro. “Retailers should look at returns as a further opportunity to enhance the customer experience. In the same way that today’s omni-channel environment is allowing consumers to buy items where and when they want, they would like the same flexibility when it comes to returns. This could be returning goods to a store or specifying a location and/or time for a courier pickup.  By capturing this information, retailers can start to personalise the returns experience and create more value for the consumer and themselves.”

The research revealed that nearly half of respondents (49%) who have made an online purchase in the last 12 months had used ‘Click & Collect’ services.

“Of those who had used ‘Click & Collect’,” said JDA, “the most common reason for doing so was to avoid delivery charges (57%); this was closely followed by the fact it was more convenient than home delivery (55%).”

However, 47% of respondents said they had encountered issues with Click & Collect “that potentially damaged their customer experience” – up from the 32% that flagged up problems when JDA and Centiro asked the same question for last year’s survey. JDA speculated that this jump probably “highlighted potential growing pains for retailers as they have attempted to scale their ‘Click & Collect’ operations over the last 12 months”.

Of those who have experienced problems, the most commonly cited were long waiting times due to a lack of staff (32%) followed by staff being unable to locate items in store (30%).

Summarising the fundings of the report, Shorrock advised:  “Online retail continues to be an extremely competitive battleground. The winners will be those retailers that can offer a reliable and convenient fulfillment service to consumers, rather than simply focusing on speed and price.”

– About the report and its statistics:- All figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,093 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th – 17th April 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). The research was commissioned by JDA and Centiro.

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