Does bad online delivery kill your brand?

Over the last 12 months I’ve been working with a European Retailer around Digital Transformation. They’ve been doing great things – about refining their range, revamping the web-site, and building new apps to inspire and support customer choice. However brilliant ‘Digital’ is in retail, the moment of truth is getting the product in your hand – digital fulfilment.

The brand promise falls down when the delivery promise fails

In the space of one week I’ve had first hand experience of how the delivery promise affects the brand promise…

  1. Recently I sent my expensive laptop away to be fixed. I got a message that it was going to be delivered to my home, on a day I was with customers. So I tried to change it online, but the tracking code from the Laptop company hadn’t passed to the courier (yet). Then whilst I was at work, I got a message saying that my laptop had been delivered to ‘Beatrice’– except I don’t know any Beatrices near me!!! The courier had given a £1000 laptop to a stranger down the road, and I spent the day worrying about what had happened to it. Can you imagine a shop being so blasé giving a product to a stranger outside a shop, and asking if they’d kindly pass it down the line?
  2. In the same week was another product that was delivered to a different neighbour. This time when I called at their house, the person opening the door had no idea or recollection of the delivery. It might have been another person, or they could have just kept it. Thankfully the retailer replaced the product – but instead of being a next day delivery, it arrived another 48 hours later. I might as well have gone to the shops on the way home from work.
  3. Lastly, I had ordered a couple of notebooks and printer paper from another supplier. The courier left me a card saying they had delivered it by my side gate – except I don’t have a side gate. I looked down the alley and then found the package crumpled in a puddle in my garden. Thankfully all the paper was wrapped in plastic, but I was expecting a mushy pile of paper – and another request for replacement. (and all profit from the online deal wiped out for the supplier)

So what does this say about digital transformation?

  1. 80% of UK customers are likely to switch to an alternative retailer after a bad delivery experience (JDA & Centrio Customer Pulse Report Europe 2106)
    • Recommendation: Carrier selection is not JUST a cost choice, but is part of the carrier experience
    • (for me, I will return to retailers that use DPD, and refrain from retailers that use Hermes)
  2. Delivery speed is the 4th most important factor in delivery (UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, March 2015)
    • Recommendation: Focus on nominated day & consolidated deliveries to reduce no-shows. At the other extreme, look at the use of Uber/Deliveroo for delivery within minutes.
  3.  54% of customers think that delivery problems are for the retailer to fix and not the courier (JDA & Centrio Customer Pulse Report Europe 2016)
    • Recommendation: Design the customer journey right up to receiving the product (and returning the product), and not just for the digital/online element.

Questions to ask your digital team

  1. How is responsible for digital fulfilment/delivery in the product team?
  2. Have we included delivery in the overall customer journey?
  3. What elements of the online experience give customers visibility of their package delivery, and allow them to be ready to receive the item?
  4. What is the customer experience ‘package’ that each of our couriers offering, and what’s the balance between delivery cost and repeat business?
  5. What are all the combinations of delivery grouping / timing / cost that we use? Can we simplify that to the needs of our customers?

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