eCommerce delivery – What do your customers want?

Aug 22 2018

When it comes to the delivery of goods bought online, consumer expectations are becoming ever more demanding. A survey into the shipping preferences of American shoppers found that 93% of consumers viewed shipping options as an important factor in their online shopping experience. Up from 24% in 2017, this 69% increase displays the impact shipping options play in a retailer’s online service offering.

As a result, retailers are under a growing pressure to build their delivery service around customers’ lifestyles. If not, they risk losing business.

Choice Matters

Almost half of shoppers (46%) said that the choice of a convenient and personalized delivery service is a key factor in the online buying decision stage. If retailers aren’t offering flexible fulfillment to meet the needs of their modern consumers, shoppers may look elsewhere.

However, purely offering a wider selection of delivery options won’t necessarily ensure customer satisfaction. If customers do decide to purchase, but the delivery service isn’t convenient or to their desired quality, it could still end up costing retailers. The impact of not meeting consumer expectations of fulfillment flexibility can certainly come with consequences as 25% of all failed online deliveries were due to shoppers not being able to change their delivery options once an item had been shipped.

Convenience and flexibility hold a different meaning for each individual. Some consumers look for the cheapest option possible with no preference for when their goods are delivered, while others need it faster and are willing to pay for a more efficient service.

Keep consumer lifestyles in mind

So, how can retailers be sure that they’re offering comprehensive fulfillment options that work for their customers? And how can they be sure that logistics partners are prepared to respond to delivery expectations?

Retailers need to select their delivery options with their customer’s lifestyle in mind. Join us as we follow the online purchase journey of a large air hockey table purchased on as it travels from online checkout to its final mile. As you read you will see the outline of three scenarios that demonstrate the importance of convenience and offering flexible eCommerce delivery.

Scenario 1: “I need it tomorrow”

Who? A grandmother ordering a birthday present for her grandchild wants the peace of mind that her air hockey table will be delivered in time so, she pays for Next Day Delivery by air.

What does she expect? She chooses the White Glove service upgrade, with the additional room-of-choice option for the convenience and peace of mind. Even though the room-of-choice option is a little more expensive, it includes set up and package removal, so everything will be ready by the time her granddaughter arrives.

The order fulfillment process: She lives in an area that is serviceable by Next Day Delivery, and they have the air hockey table in stock, so, fulfillment is not a problem.

She orders the gift online at 2pm on Tuesday and within 2-hours the item is picked, packed and labelled for shipping. A courier picks up the package and takes it to the airport, where it’s put on a priority flight towards the grandmother’s location.

Once the flight has landed, the package is picked up by a second courier and driven to a sorting branch and given a 1-hour process time. Within this hour, the package is put on a final truck for delivery and, 30-minutes before delivery, the grandmother receives a call notifying her that her package is on its way.

The package arrives at the grandmother’s house by the end of the day on Wednesday and is assembled in her room of choice. The delivery team then removes the packaging and the air hockey table is ready to play!


Key takeaway - Next Day Air Delivery:

With shoppers browsing for goods at the last minute, speed of delivery is vital. If it can’t be delivered in time, your customer may move onto a competitor who does offer Next Day Delivery.

To meet these needs, retailers need to work with their fulfillment provider to offer a later cut-off time for Next Day Delivery. This cut-off extension gives customers the flexibility they’re looking for, especially when it comes to last-minute orders.

Scenario 2: “I’d like it this week”

Who? A young man is looking to complete his game room by ordering an air hockey table. He is not close enough for Next Day Delivery and is happy waiting a couple of days for arrival. He doesn’t need anyone to set up the air hockey table because he plans to save the money and do it himself.

What does he expect? He expects quick delivery to his door within a 48-hour period. Upon ordering, he appreciates the option of choosing a delivery time slot so he can make arrangements with work and be available to meet the courier, check over the package, and carry it into his house.

The order fulfillment process: The young man chooses Standard Air Delivery and orders his air hockey table by 2pm on Tuesday. The table is picked, packed, and labeled for shipping. Within two hours, his air hockey table is ready to be taken to the airport and, depending on availability, put on the first or last priority flight.

Once the priority flight lands, the package is picked up and driven to the nearest SEKO branch where it can be held for up to a day because it is labeled Standard Delivery. The man is then contacted via an Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) to notify him of the package arrival and prompted to schedule a 4-hour delivery window.

Upon delivery, the young man checks for damage with the courier. If there is any damage, the courier has the authority to report any issues to customer service, and take it away if the customer rejects the package.


Key takeaway - Standard Air Delivery:

Partnering with a logistics company that has a warehouse close to the airport can help make order fulfillment more efficient for eCommerce retailers.

The ability to get the product on the last flight of the day allows retailers to provide Second Day Delivery, even if the destination is a substantial distance away from the distribution center.

Scenario 3: “I want the cheapest option possible”

Who? A group of college students want to buy an air hockey table for their party. They want the table as soon as possible, but money is tight, so, they choose Standard Ground Delivery because it is free.

What do they expect? The students are willing to wait a week for delivery because they don’t want to add any extra expenses onto the cost of the air hockey table.

The order fulfillment process: The students order their air hockey table by 2pm on Tuesday. After the order processes, their air hockey table is picked, packed and labeled for shipping before being put onto a truck for delivery. The long-haul ground route takes three days for arrival.

On Tuesday, the day before the item is due to be delivered, the purchasing student is notified of the item’s arrival via IVR, email or text (depending on preference) and prompted to select a delivery time slot. Scheduling a delivery window helps to provide an outlined time for the customer’s convenience and increase the likelihood of a successful delivery.

On Wednesday, five business days after the order is placed, the driver will attempt to deliver the air hockey table within the chosen time. The package doesn’t need a signature for delivery and the student trusts that it will be safe sitting out front for a short time. 


Key takeaway - Standard Ground Delivery:

Manage expectations on your website and throughout the delivery process to keep the customer informed that that five business days can take up to a week.

Offer an Omni-Channel solution to help manage the delivery supply chain – it can be used to communicate the expected delivery date and time to make it as convenient as possible for the consumer.

Essentially, what customers want from a retail delivery service is flexibility and convenience. Due to the vast array of consumer demographics, it is essential to provide options that cater to a range of needs and clearly set the expectations for each order fulfillment option. Lack of communication could lead to consumer frustration and steer those would-be customers straight to your competitors.

Take a look at our Retail services and find out how you can continue to offer your customers the best delivery service.