When it comes to order fulfillment and shipping, it seems that eCommerce retailers are still falling well behind customer demand. Despite an intense increase in interest in products from online stores, customers say that deliveries are much slower than they’d like according to a recent report by market research firm Research Now.
Although the results of this survey were lackluster to say the least, they can help direct the future of eCommerce fulfillment services everywhere. Because the industry is still evolving, customers expect a few hiccups. As long as eCommerce companies are fast to respond to feedback, it’s unlikely the industry will suffer serious consequences.
Takeaways from the Report
According to Research Now’s study, customers currently have very specific feelings about how quickly and transparently their order fulfillment is moving. A full 97 percent wanted to be able to track packages easily online — 80 percent of the retailers surveyed offered that option, often by offering an integrated customer web portal. However, only a third of retailers offered guaranteed weekend or after-hours shipping, which 75 percent of customers said they wanted. In today’s on-demand economy, that comes as no surprise.
As the era of Amazon drone delivery dawns, customers are waiting impatiently for their chance for “hyper local” shipping. A full 61 percent of the online shoppers surveyed wanted to take advantage of programs that delivered packages within three hours; another 36 percent were willing to meet retailers halfway and collect their packages from lockers to speed up the process. Only one in five retailers were able to meet those demands, though.
Your eCommerce Business Can Meet Delivery Expectations
Customer demands for increasingly fast delivery is posing an interesting challenge for small- to mid-sized eCommerce businesses. Buying your own fleet of drones is probably out of the budget, at least for now, but you can take some things away from the Research Now report to help meet your customers’ delivery expectations today.
You’ll find your customers are much happier if you:
Increase transparency. Transparency was among the top concerns for customers everywhere — most realize that drone delivery isn’t going to be possible in their smaller cities or in rural areas any time soon. They still want to know when they can expect their packages, though, so make sure that information is easy to find and reliable.
Make packages easily trackable, even on mobile. Customer web portals are great things — if they work for mobile devices. Of the retailers surveyed, only 66 percent had portals that could be used by mobile phones. Make sure yours can be viewed from anywhere to increase your customer satisfaction.
Offer faster shipping options. Faster shipping costs you more, that’s true, but many of your customers are willing to pay extra to get their packages quickly. Along with your free ground shipping option, allow your customers the choice to pay extra for after-hours or weekend deliveries. When drones become available to you, take advantage and make customers aware of that option, too.
Partner with a 3PL that’s well located. Another way to speed up package delivery is to choose a 3rd party logistics partner who is centrally located for your customer base. Instead of a buyer in New Jersey having to wait and wait for a package to come from California, a 3PL in Florida can speed that delivery up by several days.
No matter how fast you’re shipping right now, your customers will want to see their packages going faster. If you can keep them up-to-date on where their orders are and when they’ll arrive, however, it will help a great deal to keep those customers happy until faster shipping technology is possible.