Editor's Comment

Editorial: Why the ASA Amazon ruling shows it’s more important than ever to be crystal clear over delivery promises

Undoubtedly the most interesting story of the week when it comes to delivery has to be the Advertising Standards Authority taking Amazon to task over its one-day delivery pledge for Prime customers. In a story that broke long before the official ASA ruling was published today, the body took Amazon to task for allegedly misleading customers over its one-day delivery promise.

The action followed complaints made by customers last Christmas when goods failed to arrive in the time promised. Smaller retailers will no doubt welcome the ruling – and perhaps the reprieve it allows them. The speed of delivery that Amazon can offer customers (for free to those who have signed up for Prime) is hard to beat and has increasingly become a customer expectation for other retailers too – whether it’s financially viable or not.

But it’s also not hard to feel a little sorry for Amazon too. As a customer myself I agree that the one-day delivery promise perhaps is a little misleading. Amazon says one-day delivery is that which takes place a day after dispatch of goods. Most customers would take that to mean from the date of order. It shows retailers have to be clear as crystal over their delivery promises.

But regardless of the intricacies, the late deliveries in question in the ASA complaint were actually the result of bad weather impacting deliveries and courier networks – meaning retailers and their carrier partners are once again taking the blame for circumstances mostly out of their control.

Over in the US meanwhile, Amazon has launched a new 30-minute grocery pickup service in partnership with Whole Foods Market. The service is launching in two cities initially.

In order to support smaller online sellers Royal Mail is trialling a new service in the form of parcel postboxes. The new type of postboxes on trial have a wider aperture, allowing customers using the company’s pre-paid click and drop service to send parcels. The trial will last until November.

We also have two new click and collect stories this week which is apt as next week we will be running some opinion pieces around preparing your click and collect operations for peak. In the first, we have news of Marks & Spencer expanding its click and collect returns offer to Simply Food stores. Previously customers had to return items to the company’s larger stores only. In our second story lifestyle brand Shakti Shanti has partnered with Parcelly to offer a click and collect service for its customers.

Finally, we have news of JDA enhancing its AI and machine learning capabilities by buying Blue Yonder to help retailers make more informed decisions around their supply chain and delivery.

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