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Is there a growing gap between retailers and customers on fast shipping?

Blog
5th October 2017

Do you remember when ordering something for delivery would almost always mean agreeing to wait a month for delivery? ‘Please Allow 28 Days For Delivery’ was a standard phrase in the small print that allowed companies to safely take a week or two delivering your order. So long as they got it to you in a month, they were in the clear.

Now contrast that with the first Amazon drone delivery in the UK. Last December a customer in Cambridge clicked on the order button and within 13 minutes the product was delivered to their home. Amazon packed the order immediately and sent it by a drone that landed in the garden of the customer.

Drone deliveries are still not common; although Amazon has now proven that if the weather is good and the customer has a landing space then they are possible. What has become normalised though is our expectation of immediate delivery after ordering. The days of waiting day after day for a product to be delivered are long gone.

The Amazon Prime loyalty scheme allows Prime members to now order products for delivery on the same day. Even without drone deliveries there is now an expectation from customers that a product can be delivered within hours. And it is not just Amazon making this promise, Tesco can deliver your groceries on the same day if you order by lunchtime. Argos can deliver same-day if you order before 6 pm.

However, just because customers are getting used to instant gratification from some retailers does not mean that everyone is offering this level of service. A YouGov survey earlier this year found that 1 in 5 British retailers cannot even offer next-day delivery lets alone same-day. This research also showed that while British customers have higher expectations for delivery times, around half are not prepared to pay extra for faster delivery – it is expected to be a part of the service.

Most retailers probably feel under siege. Amazon is redefining delivery expectations and customers are getting used to same-day delivery, yet most retailers do not have the logistic systems in place to support this level of service. As YouGov noted, many cannot even deliver a product within a day of the order being placed.

I think the more important angle here for a great customer experience is to define the delivery time. If it’s going to take two days, then make it clear, define and agree the time with the customer. The old days of covering your back by saying it may take anything up to 4 weeks to arrive are clearly not acceptable today, but most customers don’t yet have an expectation that their order can be shipped inside minutes either. Be open and clear and ensure the customer knows when their order will arrive – then make it happen. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, or get in touch on LinkedIn.


Helen Murray
Article by: Helen Murray

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