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Retailers are from Mars, Customers are from Venus

By Chris Dawson October 9, 2014 - 9:45 pm

Online retailers are offering delivery options that shoppers don’t want but not offering the ones they do, according to new research from software company OrderDynamics.

A survey of 2,000 consumers on their retail expectations and a retailer benchmark study of more than 60 retailers on the services and experiences they offer revealed a startling mis-match and one which flies in the face of many recommendations.

For instance advice by many (including eBay) is that customers are demanding next day delivery and so 61% of retailers surveyed offered it but only 10% of customers are willing to pay extra for this service. The reality is that what 54% of customers actually want is a named delivery date however only 15% of retailers can confirm the delivery date at the time of placing an order.

The mismatch of retailer services and consumer expectations

Highly relevant to eBay’s recent Click & Collect initiative is that 32% of consumers reported they would use a click & collect service if it was available, and half of online retailers benchmarked provide this facility.

Kevin Sterneckert, CMO of OrderDynamics explains that customers do not see channels. “They have one relationship with and one view of the retailer, and they want to hear you say ‘yes’ to their desires and to deliver that experience ‘now’.” If they buy, they want the choice of which day the item will be delivered or the option of collecting it and their preference doesn’t necessarily fit pre-conceived ideas of what we may think we should offer.

OrderDynamics help retailers activate commerce from first interaction to final fulfilment with our Dynamic Action, Commerce Platform and Order Management solutions and services. You can find out more about them on their website and get more details their consumer survey and the retailer benchmark findings in their report ‘Customer Relationships: The rules of attraction’.

  • JD
    3 years ago

    Is this US research Chris?

    Haven’t read the article which requires a ‘registration’ (Sorry but I don’t want to increase my online footprint with software outfits).

    • 3 years ago

      They’re a London Based company (although they operate around the world) so I’d expect it to be heavily UK biased… but I’ll ask the question

    • 3 years ago

      Confirmed all surveyed consumers were based in the UK

    • JD
      3 years ago

      Thanks Chris.

  • john
    3 years ago

    These surveys are fine, but when you get down to the nitty gritty many do not want to cough up the cash that it would cost to provide some of these services.

    I personally cannot see me using click and collect as a buyer, unless it was next day click and collect or same day. And even then it would not be as much as good old RM.

    I can see click and collect working for a small minority that are never home and are out and about a lot lol

  • Martin
    3 years ago

    I’ve always been suspicious of eBay’s focus on next day, and also the importance placed on tracked. I have said many times, the answer you get from research depends on the questions you ask, and therefore on the quality of the question setter.

    I always offer a guaranteed delivery option, and agree with other sellers, that despite this being apparently what the customer wants, according to ebay, the take up is minimal. As John says, the customer wants it but won’t pay for it.

    The only true data in this area is to offer all possible options, see what the customer chooses, and then draw together data from a number of sellers doing the same.

    My suspicion is the customer will always opt for the cheapest unless it is really slow delivery.

  • Martin
    3 years ago

    Click and Collect will be an interesting experiment. 34% say they want it, but come Christmas I wonder how many will say “I’ve got too much to do anyway, and I don’t want to go to Argos”. It sounds convenient, but will it be in practice?

    • Gemma
      3 years ago

      I agree. It’s not practical – last Christmas the queue from our local Argos stretched down the street. Buyers who’ve previously experienced that won’t bother with click and collect and those that haven’t will probably get fed up of waiting and leave, resulting in more items returned as “Not called for”. With Royal Mail’s longer opening hours and Sunday deliveries in many areas this year I suspect that their own version of click an collect i.e. if you’re not home collect it from the sorting office – which is often nearer than Argos anyway – will prove to be far more manageable.

  • jimbo
    3 years ago

    I would always prefer orders to come via Royal Mail. In my area (London) they are more reliable than most couriers. If you not in the sorting office is near by to collect from (click and collect). It is also easy to arrange re-delivery. Special Delivery always seems to work for urgent things.

  • Stuart
    3 years ago

    Click and Collect is great, but when you sell items for £5 you just can’t offer it for free.

    • 3 years ago

      If you want to offer click and collect then could you post 1st class, albeit it’ll cost more than 2nd class post but 1st class does qualify for Click and Collect if the buyer wants to pay for the option.

      I wouldn’t have thought tracking would be needed – unlikely that Argos are going to nick parcels or lose them compared to the wife/husband/kids/neighbour/delivery guy hiding it scenarios that can occur with home while you were out deliveries.

    • mw
      3 years ago

      Yeah…. And shop staff/management don’t do the same nik or loose stuff do they??

    • Stuart
      3 years ago

      I wouldn’t risk it, not without tracking on the item. I don’t think it would be hard to install a Free Click and Collect when you spend over £15 or something like that.

      The time is coming, it’s not far away, when it will be unviable to offer cheaper items on the internet with free delivery and these items will also cost much less on the high street.

  • John S
    3 years ago

    Think main problem with all of the survey summaries that are published like this, is no parameters are given for the summarised results (or very often in the details).

    e.g. Click and collect has no values given for travel time to collect and waiting time. If I had a choice between a package being delivered to my home, and C&C taking an hour round trip and 30 mins queuing time, choice is easy. If C& C was 5 minute walk, 24 hours opening and no queueing time, choice is easy.

    If it’s something a customer would go to a shop to buy anyway, C&C is just a reservation service.

    Did the 32% from ebays survey specify how much time they would be prepared to spend collecting?

    Same applies to last years fad – free postage, no parameters, just summarised as that’s what customers want. If read the reports published covering free postage, there are diverse conclusions on exactly what should be offered, depending on what questions were asked.

    Any options offered to customers have to be sensible and practical for the seller and buyer, not fogetting that any costs incurred have to be paid for (ultimately by the customer).

    • john
      3 years ago

      I can’t see click and collect being any good. Its not going to improve sales a great deal.

      Ideal if you are working or close by the collect point. But it is going to be a minority thing.(however all the fluffing around they may as well just go to a shop and purchase over the counter if possible)

      Express delivery on item’s under 10 pound or heavier low value items does not improve sales by any great amount. And I think C&C will be the same.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      our international customers will need to be really determined if they want to take advantage of click and collect ,lol

    • 3 years ago

      I don’t know how many remember the survey that was done many years ago before the introduction of Video. I don’t remember the exact wording but it was along the lines of If we can produce a device to all you to record TV programmes so that you can see them later would you buy it. The device is expected to cost £1,000.

      Just about everybody asked said basically ‘A £1,000 so I can watch TV programmes that are mainly repeats anyway. No chance’. So successful was the survey that Phillips dumped their plans to introduce the Video. Now there can be hardly a home in the country that does not have one or other device to record TV prograsmmes.

      A survey is only as good as the question being asked. Also of course the views could be very different after a few months as the respondents gain experience with it and find the failings or benefits and especially how they affect them.

      So all in all Surveys must always be taken with a very big pinch of salt.

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