The eDelivery strapline is ‘fulfilling the multichannel promise’ and that word promise really is of fundamental importance. Shopping online has come a long way and much of the fear-factor that presided over the early days – can I trust this retailer, will I get what I pay for – has dissipated to varying degrees.
Shoppers still expect their promises to be kept though, and that’s felt ever more keenly as the levels of service and range of options increase in one area in particular – delivery.
No one reading this needs to have it pointed out to them that failing to keep your delivery promise is something that can have lasting damage; you might be buying a gift for someone and a delay getting it, or damage to it in transit, then takes on a greater emotional significance. But whether that’s the case or you are just buying an everyday item, the risk of damage to your reputation is never far away when good deliveries turn bad.
As with most things in business, if money is no object a lot of problems can be overcome without too much hassle. But how often is that the case? Balancing the financial imperative with the expectations of customers is not a new phenomenon, nor is it ever likely to go away. But in a multichannel environment there are many more factors involved in keeping that balance.
In it’s Delivering Retail 2015 report, Oracle asked 350 retailers across 10 sectors 100 questions to assess how they are living up to the delivery promises they make, what options they offer, and some of the costs involved.
For example, it looked at the cost of delivery, along with the clear communication of those prices, since these enable customers to make informed choices. Delivery cost and choice is a major contributor to abandoned carts, so getting this right is paramount.
Retailers must understand the dynamics of customer decisions at this vital stage to create appropriate free shipping thresholds, design customer communications, set postal rates and deliver flexible options.
The flexibility and number of choices available to consumers continues to increase in some areas. Almost 80% of retailers offer two or more options for home delivery according to the Oracle report, roughly the same as last year, although some offered seven or more choices.
When it comes to allowing consumers to nominate convenient days and times, it is clear that many retailers are working to deliver as much flexibility as they can. Same Day delivery availability has gone from 7% to 10% of all retailers – although it is not available in all sectors yet, and there was a slight decline in the all other nominated day delivery options.
Next Day delivery is available from 73% of retailers, a small increase on last year which continues the year-on-year trend. Nominated time deliveries are less common with just 12% offering them.
Just over half (51%) of retailers offer free shipping over a specified order value for UK delivery, and unsurprisingly that falls, to 13%, for international deliveries.
The cost of standard delivery varies widely. 18% of retailers offer free delivery as standard, up from 16% last year. The most popular price bracket remained under £5.00.
Not surprisingly, costs rise with as nominated day deliveries, where the most common price bracket rose to the £5.00-£9.99 level.
The research examined the ongoing trends in international delivery from across the sample set, including not the options and the costs associated with delivering parcels around the world.
The sample consisted of a range of retailers including global brands which deliver into the UK, and local brands, so it was not surprising that international delivery options varied widely. Complicating this analysis is the fact that delivery charges overseas are very commonly based on size and weight, as well as speed of transit.
Some 56% of respondents ship products worldwide and 9% restrict their international deliveries to Europe. 35% will deliver only to addresses in the United Kingdom, which is higher than the 25% recorded in previous years.
Delivery timescales & costs
The timescales for international delivery vary from two-to-three working days upwards across Europe and the US.
Express deliveries for Next Working Day are available to the USA from 7% of retailers, and to Central Europe from 10% of retailers. The most popular charging bracket for US delivery is £5-£9.99 for standard delivery and £15-£19.99 for Express delivery; Central European standard delivery is also £5-9.99 from the major proportion of retailers, and £10-14.99 is the most popular option for express delivery.
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