Delivery, a differentiating element in the buying experience

According to the IFOP survey conducted in 2016, delivery is, in all cases, a key component for all e-commerce customers in assessing their shopping experience. Nearly 62% of them have ranked this criteria as no. 1 in making their buying decision. On the one hand, the possible cost of delivery is always the main reason for abandonning a basket, and then the terms of delivery are the other (delivery timescale, collection points, follow-up and returns) which determine the level of satisfaction for the customer and their future recommendations. The challenge is therefore considerable for all parties and it has become a vital factor for many players in mass distribution.

With everyone lined up, the delivery service will make the difference between winners on the web and losers in traditional store. Well almost! Because stores also have some advantages including having collection points near to customers if however their opening hours stay flexible.

Hard-to-satisfy consumers

Currently consumer expectations are not all satisfied. So the study highlights that delivery between 1 and 3 hours following a purchase is desired by 58% of customers, while delivery by appointment is a request from 75% of them! 59% would like to receive deliveries at the weekend (we would like to point out to them that working at weekends would need to be authorized to meet this demand), while 85% would like to be able to collect their order in store! An even greater contradiction in consumer contentment!

How did we get here and in particular, what are the possible solutions for e-traders?

It is mainly a question of experience, in the sense that each improvement the customer experiences quickly becomes the norm for which they don’t want to go below again. The consumer increases their level of demand over the experiences that brands offer them. We saw recently, for example, the start-up, Take It Easy that was literally ruined in wanting to deliver everything and immediately in the catering sector. Because the delivery had a cost. Such a high cost that it had to be an immediate delivery. If e-commerce continues to grow at this rate, it will generate more and more difficult situations for customers. More than 55% of Internet users have had a bad delivery experience and who may, in these circumstances, never go to the offending trader again.

New logistics solutions

Also the optimization of logistics solutions are multiplying, from drive and collection services to secure and individual lockers. In densely populated urban areas, it seems easy to imagine new methods, and Amazon or Alibaba, in alliance with start-ups, are exploring every opportunity. In rural areas, the situation is more complex. The post office remains a key player given the density of its network (in Italy, Amazon has also allied with the Italian Post Office). Caretaker services are another way to offer a quality service and nothing prevents them from being local. The example of Comptoir de Campagne, which is developing in Beaujolais and Forez, will undoubtedly inspire new initiatives.

If it is urgent to consolidate the experience achieved that e-commerce customers have enjoyed in recent years, we must continue to try out new ideas. Delivering what the customer orders is as crucial as opening a Christmas gift. They anticipate a happy experience, and will not bear an experience that taints the story they are imagining. Economically, delivery is a risk of financial imbalance but it is also an obligatory investment for any e-commerce player. In the long term those who manage all aspects will be in a much stronger position than their competitors.

Source: This article appeared in Visionnary Marketing

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