Online shoppers are demanding improvements in three key areas of home deliveries - per-purchase delivery information provided, in-transit delivery updates and returns, according to a new report by IMRG.
The newly released IMRG UK Consumer Home Delivery Review 2015 has revealed that satisfaction with online delivery remains consistent at 82 per cent with concerns about delivery showing a steady downward trend.
However, there are three key areas where customers want to see improvements – pre-purchase delivery information – allowing them to make the right delivery choice and avoid having to abandon their basket because the right options are not available or additional delivery costs are too high, in-transit delivery information – 85 per cent value this as it allows them to anticipate when the order will arrive and defer or divert to a time or place more convenient, and returns – overall satisfaction with this area fell back to 61 per cent, from 68 per cent in 2014, with it being a particular issue given that 78 per cent said the quality of the returns service is an important factor when deciding who to shop with.
“The success behind eCommerce sales is 100 per cent dependent upon communication and timely delivery," Karen Hawa, marketing manager for coffee brand Mokk-a Coffee, told ESM. Your reputation, as well as that of your product, is at stake, she explained. "Orders should really ship within 48 hours with the customer receiving instant order confirmation, and shipping notifications with tracking information. You should also receive notification of delivery." The need for communication requires proper systems to be in place thus enabling you to catch a problem before it happens. "In addition, your access to specific reporting capabilities keep you alert to your market. Your customers are your life - you must know who they are and try to make them feel special.”
Technology firm Scurri has developed a cloud-based eCommerce delivery platform to integrate parcel carriers with eCommerce retailers' technology - maximising operational efficiency for all parties. "Our universal solution optimises the customer delivery experience - allowing merchants to effectively deliver on brand promises and drive customer loyalty," Rory O'Connor, founder and CEO of Scurri, told ESM.
Through its innovative labelling technology, Scurri offers a shipping label API to allow customers to retrieve shipping labels for their deliveries and related information. “It's one of the most effective ways for an online merchant to implement the production of shipping labels and integrating shipping updates into their tech stack," explained O'Connor.
The Scurri solution - one of the first such purpose-built, cloud-based solutions in Europe - integrates seamlessly into existing order process and fulfilment software, he explained, with merchants enjoying the benefits of the innovative technology almost instantly, and boosting ecommerce delivery performance.
"Scurri is a simple, serviced and scalable solution: it's simple to integrate and maintain carriers with easy API integrations into warehouse management systems and platforms." Companies enjoy seamless integration into existing workflows, and can scale for international expansion, he said. "In terms of operational efficiency - the technology eliminates duplication, automates repetitive workflows and reduces errors."
Scurri is now helping successful international retailers such as Zara to increase customer satisfaction with their deliveries using its powerful solution. "Scurri takes the complexity from online retailing by managing your delivery partners, giving you more time to focus on your merchandising and sales."
Cross-border trading makes up for a major proportion of total European online sales - demonstrating the vast opportunity for international eCommerce players entering the various markets.
Ramesh Bulusu, chief executive of international shipping firm MyUS, says that cross-border eCommerce businesses need a delivery service partner with expertise in export compliance as accurate descriptions and classifications of products are essential for on-time deliveries. “This information gives customs proper visibility during their review and helps avoid costly delays in the clearance process, and ensures accurate calculation of duties and taxes.” The delivery firm also needs to have world-class operations and customer-service teams to ensure purchases are properly inspected, packed and labelled to ensure fast and secure delivery. “We often work with the customer, and their merchants, to ensure satisfaction before products are shipped and avoid unnecessary hassles upon delivery.”
Grace Garland, content writer at Expert Market, the UK marketplace for vehicle tracking, says there are a number of key delivery challenges that businesses face. “With more and more companies offering next-day delivery, package tracking and quick returns options, it is vital that companies have a reliable and traceable delivery system in place in order to be able to compete in a highly competitive market.”
eCommerce is now key to any sales strategy, but it pivots on having reliable delivery systems in place. “There are often two sets of needs to meet - the customer, and the client, whose products is being delivered, need to feel that the delivery is guaranteed and in safe hands so logistics companies operating in this area need to equip firms with all of the tracking tech they need to be able to guarantee a good service.”
Transparency has been a key theme in delivery developments in the last few years. Once an order is logged, the customer expects to be able to track the item from the factory right to the doorstep. “This has driven a range of technological developments such as labels with QR codes, scanning technology and vehicle tracking for delivery vehicles.” As a lot of delivery tracking still involves items being manually scanned, or logged at various points, companies are keen to develop technology which will cut down on the man-hours involved. “This is driving alternatives such as GPS trackers on vehicles, which can allow clients and customers to log in and see where their item is on its journey and get a more accurate idea of when the delivery will arrive.”
Tuffnells offers a parcel-tracking service, as well as Shutl, a GPS courier service that offer same-day delivery with a one-hour delivery window.
Greg Zemor, CEO of online marketplace management solution Neteven, says that increasingly, marketplaces are offering their own logistics solution to sellers in order to provide customers with a seamless purchasing experience from their website.
“Of course, many online retailers are put off at the thought of the cost and time needed to distribute their goods on several marketplaces at once. However, by using multi-marketplace management platforms, retailers can save valuable time and solve delivery problems.” The platforms help to centralise and automate the distribution process, ensuring that all product lines can be delivered to customers no matter where they may be and solutions allow retailers to gain maximum exposure for their products through international marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Fnac and Rue du Commerce. Neteven’s customers include Toshiba, Acer, DC and Anovo.
Commenting on the IMRG home deliveries report, Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, said: “While overall satisfaction with online fulfilment has remained consistent over the past few years, the delivery experience has become a key differentiator for customers – with 70 per cent confirming that a good delivery experience will help keep them loyal to a particular retailer. It is therefore important for industry to keep innovating to keep pace with evolving customer demands.”
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