Editor's Comment

Editorial: Why you really must keep customers informed about delivery

An interesting revelation this week was the record number of next day deliveries for May, as recorded by the IMRG, as well as the record low for on-time delivery. The company questioned whether customers actually care about next day delivery or whether it’s just something they’ve got used to but don’t really need.

It’s an interesting question and resonated with my personal delivery experiences this week. As an ecommerce delivery journalist I know the challenges that retailers and their logistics partners face in ensuring our online shopping is delivered on time. That should make me more understanding.

However as a bit of a shopaholic it really doesn’t. I’m old school and generally prefer the instant hit of shopping in the flesh so when I order something online I’m either happy to wait a couple of days or I want it urgently and am happy to pay for the service.

And so back to my delivery experiences. The first, a new bike part for my partner ordered through a rather large company beginning with A. Delivery was fine but the company had actually sent the wrong part in the right box. An email to the company involved and the issue sorted out within a few minutes. I’m a happy customer and the boyfriend can get on with fixing his bike.

The second delivery was also bike related and urgent so I paid for next day delivery with a company I’d not used before. Although I had a payment confirmation I didn’t have an undate on delivery so emailed the company. Again a prompt reply, an apology that a high volume of outbound orders had prevented dispatch and a refund of the extra paid for that service and a promise it would still come on a priority dispatch. Again happy customer. Until the next day when there was still no update on dispatch. When will retailers learn that communication is vital and while bad news may not be great it’s better than no news?

An interesting move from Amazon this week which has announced that it will help individuals launch their own delivery business in the US. The company is providing support to help would-be entrepreneurs become their own bosses – albeit in Amazon uniform and driving Amazon-branded vehicles. Amazon has also announced a longer than ever Prime Day for 2018. The 36-hour promotional event takes place later this month.

In Shanghai Chinese retailer JD.com has announced the rollout of new hydrogen-fuelled vehicles as it seeks to be greener in delivery.

DPD has announced the opening of two new facilities this week – a new purpose-built DC in Nottingham and a new depot in Barking. The new facilities have been designed to handle projected growth through to 2025.

At Morrisons the retailer has launched home delivery for south London and parts of the south-east. The grocer previously only delivered to north London.

And finally a new initiative from XPO Logistics in the US which is introducing augmented reality into its Ship XPO consumer self-service platform to help customers visualise the best place for large items and appliances in a bid to reduce returns.

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