Shipping times is one of the aspects of ecommerce that can bring frustration to both business owners and consumers. Business owners want to get items to customers as quickly and cheaply as possible, and for most customer, the item can never arrive soon enough. Any wait can seem unbearable to someone who wants their package, and it can be annoying when there are unscheduled delays. A recent study examined how customers react to shipping delays and what it means to business owners.
Acquity Group released the 2015 Next Generation Commerce Study which breaks down consumer expectations for brands for this year and beyond. The researchers surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers on their habits and preferences surrounding digital engagement, content, shopping, and services. Thoughts on shipping delays were one interesting highlight of the report.
Assuming a retailer shipped the item at the appropriate time, any delay in arrival would be the result of the shipping firm. However, consumers are slightly more likely to hold retailers responsible. According to the study, when products arrive late, 52 percent of consumers blame the company it was purchased from, while 48 percent blame the shipping company who handled the delivery.
Though it’s a marvel of modern logistics technology that some can order something from Washington and have it shipped to Florida in a matter of days, consumers can be very unforgiving when their packages don’t arrive on time. The researchers note that of the nearly two out of three (69%) respondents who say they have ordered a product online that didn’t arrive on time, three out of five (63%) said the botched delivery impacted their future shopping with the company in some way.
Impacts can vary but they are negative for the business in question. Nearly one in four (23%) said they would stop ordering from the company altogether. Additionally, 14 percent said they would shop at another company for that specific product. Late deliveries have a negative impact on customers’ perceptions of the brand and reduce customer loyalty.
“The study findings lend insight into how businesses can begin to compete in the crowded e-commerce market,” says Acquity Group on their online blog. “Online retailers and subscription services have created demand for products that show up exactly when a customer needs them; there is opportunity for brick-and-mortar businesses to follow suit. Promising speedy delivery or free shipping is a great way to entice consumers to shop, but following through is crucial to keep them coming back.”
Another way business owners can mitigate the effects of late arrivals is to automatically offer credits or discounts on future purchases to customers who experience late arrivals. It may not be the retailer’s fault, but unless they make the customer happy, they’re the ones who will be losing business.
Providing benefits to customers who experience shipping delays is a way to turn a negative experience into a positive customer loyalty situation. Once given some sort of compensation for the delay, the customer no longer thinks of it as the time they’re package came late, but the time the company went out of their way to make them happy.
Shipping the item may be the last step of the ecommerce process; but what happens last is often remembered first. For more information on shipping in ecommerce, read this article on flexible shipping options.