Next day delivery and scheduled day delivery demanded by customers

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Figures for June are out and, in a record for this time of the year, 37% of all deliveries used specified or next day delivery. Quality of experience is being used as a driver to capture customers in what’s increasingly becoming a competitive market.

However it’s not all good news, the IMRG reports that on-time deliveries dropped to 88%, the first time in the index’s history that it’s dipped below 90% at this time of year and is probably a result of more timed deliveries being booked.

“IMRG have carried out shopper surveys every year for the past nine years and what’s interesting about the move toward faster fulfilment is that customers haven’t really been asking for it – these studies have consistently found that two days is still perfectly acceptable. As technology and processes have evolved however, industry has come to view it as a potential differentiator in acquiring and retaining customers and their expectations are changing in line with that over time. A lingering question is whether they always know they are getting next-day; some orders are sent on premium services because customers require it and are prepared to pay for them, but many are not requested. How many ‘genuine’ next-day deliveries fail and how many orders are being delivered next-day when the customer does not actually expect them?”
– Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG

The increase in next day and timed day deliveries raises some interesting questions for marketplace sellers. For instance there is a push for faster deliveries on eBay, but with their Fast & Free program they still suggest that delivery within three days is perfectly acceptable to classify as ‘fast’. eBay are also lagging in visibility in search for listings which can genuinely be delivered next day and certainly it’s hard to compare prices for a product plus delivery cost as invariably search results are calculated against the often free economy service if that’s the first delivery option offered.

What is impossible on almost all marketplaces with the exception of Amazon is the ability to pick a specified day delivery service. The only way a marketplace buyer can try to get goods delivered on a convenient day of the week when they can be home to receive them is to pay for next day delivery and order the day before they wish to receive the goods. Amazon do offer a scheduled delivery day, but this is very much the exception rather than the norm.

Consumers with their busy life styles may at times be getting a better service then they want and at others are being poorly served by not being offered service which they are perfectly willing to pay for. Today, offering an economy delivery which will turn up eventually is simply no longer good enough. Customers don’t always want next day delivery, but they appear to be keen to pick a scheduled delivery day and are certainly demanding higher serice than ever before.

Do you ship everything on a next day courier? One reason may be for ease of processing and quite simply because the couriers themselves have lowered the price differential between next day and 48 hour services. But at times an economy service could save you money or, if the marketplace enables it, offering a scheduled day service would win you the deal.


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