While delivery is an undeniably important facet of online retail, consumers and retailers are seemingly on different wavelengths, according to the latest CommBank Retail Insights report.
While retailers are increasingly trying to get packages and deliveries to customers as fast as possible, choice and visibility is actually the larger concerns for most consumers, who prefer to know when their package will arrive rather than it arriving sooner – potentially when they aren’t home.
“With experts estimating that around a third of deliveries fail to reach customers on the first attempt, it’s not surprising that consumers are focused on factors that increase reliability – not just how quickly they receive their items,” CommBank retail national manager Jerry Macey told Inside Retail.
While 63 per cent of consumers seek out the ability to choose their preferred delivery time slots, only 24 per cent of retailers offer this currently.
“Retailers are looking to make mostly moderate enhancements to their current delivery offerings in the year ahead,” Macey said.
“But rather than do more of the same, there’s an opportunity to implement more innovative delivery solutions that can increase the options available to consumers and reduce the likelihood of futile deliveries.”
The report states customers tend to look for free delivery and return options, and the ability to receive updates on shipments and potentially amend their address, rather than receiving a package within a matter of hours.
This misalignment could explain why 47 per cent of Australians are partially or not satisfied by most delivery options – as well as why many retailers’ online growth hasn’t met forecasts.
Additionally, while 89 per cent of customers surveyed placed importance on free delivery and returns, the report notes this can be a win-win for retailers who offer such services within subscription or loyalty services – as delivering on customer expectations also grows their loyalty offering.
However, delivery is undeniably a difficult prospect in a country with a population density of 3.3 people per square kilometre, according to a 2018 Australian Bureau of Statistics report.
“The supply chain in Australia is becoming increasingly complex and the vast distances and associated transport costs can present significant challenges for retailers,” Macey said.
“We are seeing retailers trial a number of models to reduce cost and service a distributed population. This might include click-and-collect from a store closer to shoppers through to the future prospect of automated warehouses that service a range of retailers.”
However, for now, Macey believes better collaboration with logistics partners is necessary for success.
“Reliable delivery is a key part of the overall customer experience, and many shoppers wouldn’t make the distinction between a retailer and their logistics partners when it comes to their delivery experience,” Macey said.
“With 55% of retailers outsourcing some or all of their delivery function, better collaboration with logistics partners and aggregation services can be crucial to meeting the emerging needs of shoppers.”
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