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Will your customers ask for Sunday deliveries?

By Chris Dawson May 27, 2014 - 6:38 am

Stuart AndersonStuart Anderson is the Multi Channel Marketing Manager at Spark eCommerce Group, a leading UK provider of order fulfilment, contact centre and eCommerce services. Today he looks at the latest delivery options and asks what will your customers be expecting of you?

Where are we headed with customer delivery options?

This week, the Royal Mail announced it is to trial a Sunday delivery service within the M25 later this summer. This move follows other announcements from carriers such as DPD and Hermes that they too would offer Sunday deliveries, albeit at a premium cost.

But do customers want Sunday deliveries? Or are the various carrier companies innovating in the wrong areas?

NetDespatch_Christmas_Courier (2)According to a recent study by IMRG, 60% of online shoppers are put off purchasing due to delivery concerns. Clearly then, innovation is necessary to ease these worries. The study also found that 50% of shoppers look for delivery options before they even start shopping. So what are customers looking for? Free delivery? Next day delivery? Click and collect? Sunday delivery?

The simple answer is likely to be yes to all of the above. From our point of view as a fulfilment provider, demand for next day delivery is certainly on the increase, as is the demand for Saturday delivery. We have seen a definite trend towards customers expecting to be notified of deliveries by text or email, when the order is shipped, and when delivery can be expected. With DPD taking innovation in delivery further than most, by offering a 1 hour window of delivery, plus text notifications and 15 minute order tracking, plus their own Sunday delivery service which will cover 98% of the UK this year, they are the leaders in delivery innovation.

Click and collect is the big growth area in customer delivery. Currently, non food click and collect services amount to around 11% of deliveries, but that is expected to reach around 30% by 2017. Online customers are clearly wanting more flexibility in when, how, and even where they receive their orders. Volvo is even trialling a service which allows customer orders to be delivered to their car, where ever it is.

As a retailer then, which delivery options should you give to the customer? The same IMRG study found that the three most important delivery factors to customers are:

1. Access to online order tracking
2. Being able to choose a specific delivery day
3. Being able to choose a specific time slot

Interestingly, the option of a Sunday delivery was only seen as important by around 41% of customers. Does this mean that the new Sunday delivery services will be unpopular? Not necessarily.

Customers want weekend deliveries because they are not at home during the week to receive their goods. However, customers also do not want to wait in all day for a delivery on a weekend. So if carriers can get order tracking accurate, and offer 1 hour delivery windows on weekends, then we think that Sunday deliveries, even at a premium rate, will soon become very popular.

One thing is clear, retailers need to have a range of delivery options open to customers, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. It’s also clear that customers are prepared to pay for premium delivery services. This should mean that as a retailer, it is possible to recover some, if not all of premium delivery costs.

What do you think? Will your customers expect to see a Sunday delivery option soon?

  • 3 years ago

    Interesting thoughts Stuart – a good summary of where we are and where we may be going.

    Couple of points I’d make – last year I heard the situation now was that we were in the ‘Martini Age’ – to some of us that will mean something with old Martini ad having the strapline ‘Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere’!

    Although I don’t have any data to support this I’m often hearing from retailers and carrier of their joint frustration arising from the fact that a significant percentage of consumers knowingly specify a delivery service option that will fail! They know in advance that they won’t be around when the delivery is made. It seems this often happens on small ticket items – some consumers have changed their mind since making the purchase and will simply sit back and let the return go through the process for a refund.

    Personally unless I had a very definite timed I wouldn’t really want a Sunday service – might spoil the roast!

    • 3 years ago

      a significant percentage of consumers knowingly specify a delivery service option that will fail“…. I would suspect this is due more to lack of delivery options which may succeed and the fact most of the country are at work Monday to Friday and they live in hope a courier and retailer will figure out a way to deliver the parcel. Sunday deliveries could well be the solution if offered….

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