Memo to Merchants: Don’t Mess Up Holiday Deliveries

Nov 26, 2012 11:51 PM  By

This is the busiest time of year for merchants and shoppers alike, but if customers receive just one inaccurate delivery during the holiday season they are likely to abandon that retailer, according to a survey by Voxware.

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About 600 consumers were surveyed on their expectations for delivery of items that they purchase online or by phone during the holiday shopping season and beyond.

Nearly 30% of survey respondents said they’d abandon shopping with a particular merchant if they receive an incorrect delivery just once while 62% indicated they would be less likely to shop with a merchant online or by phone for future purchases if an item they purchase online or by phone is not delivered within two days of the date promised.

A whopping 68% of respondents said their expectations for accurate and on-time delivery of items that they purchase online or by phone are higher during the holiday shopping season.

Ken Phillips, president and CEO of Voxware, said in a press release that for merchants to be successful it’s “absolutely essential” to execute accurate deliveries because any shipment problems will have a “disastrous impact on customer satisfaction, brand image, and bottom lines.”

Expectations for on-time delivery
Respondents answered how quickly they expect a retailer to deliver an item that they purchase online or by phone assuming the retailer is using standard shipping: 5% said 1-2 days; 43% said 3-4 days; 40% said 5-6 days; and 12% said 7 or more days.

Survey respondents answered how likely they are to shop with a retailer online or by phone for future purchases if an item they purchase online or by phone is not delivered within two days of the date promised: 29% answered that they are much less likely to shop with that retailer online or by phone for future purchases; and 33% answered that they are less likely to shop with that retailer online or by phone for future purchases.

Late deliveries impact not only future online and phone purchases, but future in-store purchases as well, according to the survey.

Respondents were asked how many times they would need to receive an item that they purchased online or by phone later than the promised delivery date before abandoning shopping with that retailer altogether: 17% of respondents will abandon shopping with a retailer altogether after receiving a late delivery one time; and 55% of respondents will abandon shopping with a retailer altogether after receiving a late delivery two to three times.

No patience for poor website experiences
According to a survey by Ipswitch’s Network Management Division, online shoppers have no patience for poor website experiences – 92% surveyed said they have abandoned a website because of a disappointing experience.

Meanwhile, 64% of online shoppers will make only two attempts to purchase a product before abandoning the site completely.

Impatience for incorrect deliveries
Although respondents have high expectations for on-time deliveries, they are even less forgiving for incorrect deliveries: 29% of respondents noted that they would abandon shopping with a retailer altogether if they received one incorrect delivery; and 59% of respondents noted that they would abandon shopping with a retailer altogether if they received two to three incorrect deliveries.

Also, 56% of respondents noted that up to 10% of the items that they have purchased online or by phone have arrived later than the delivery date, while 44% responded that up to 10% of their items have been incorrect due to retailer error (i.e. the retailer shipped the incorrect size, color, or product).

Holiday delivery expectations
Expectations for delivery time during the holidays are similar to expectations at other times of the year, according to the survey.

Most consumers still expect delivery within three to six days assuming the retailer is providing free shipping: 38% of respondents said that they expect holiday gifts purchased online or by phone to be delivered within three to four days; 42% of respondents said that they expect holiday gifts purchased online or by phone to be delivered within five to six days.

Jim Tierney (jim.tierney@penton.com) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-899-8449.