Convey survey addresses heightened consumer expectations for deliveries

Data for the Convey survey, entitled “Last Mile Delivery: What Shoppers Want and How to #SaveRetail,” was based on feedback from 1,508 consumers, with questions focusing on delivery expectations and preferences with the goal of understanding what aspects of delivery consumers found most important, according to Convey. This is the third year Convey has conducted this survey.

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With the 2018 holiday shopping season in full swing, the importance of shipping, and its ability to meet both consumer preferences and expectations, is in full swing, according to a survey released last week by Austin, Texas-based Convey, a provider of cloud-based technology that helps shippers connect disparate data and processes from parcel to freight in the last mile.

Data for the Convey survey, entitled “Last Mile Delivery: What Shoppers Want and How to #SaveRetail,” was based on feedback from 1,508 consumers, with questions focusing on delivery expectations and preferences with the goal of understanding what aspects of delivery consumers found most important, according to Convey. This is the third year Convey has conducted this survey.  

Once again, this survey was replete with detailed takeaways germane to consumers’ needs, as they related to delivery experiences, with a whopping 98% indicating that shipping directly impacts brand loyalty, with 84% saying they are unlikely to return to a retailer after a single negative experience, marking a 34% increase compared to last year.

Other notable data-driven takeaways highlighting the heightened importance of retailers being able to meet customers’ delivery expectations featured in the survey included:

  • 62% cite cost as the most important factor in delivery;
  • 87% expect brands to make amends when they miss a delivery date;
  • 70% expect to be able to make some kind of routing change, whether to a new address, terminal or pick up locker, a 41% increase from 2017; and
  • 98% want to self-serve or interact with a brand to resolve delivery issues

These data points carry additional weight, especially when considering that the National Retail Federation recently announced that it expects holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to head up between 4.3 and 4.8% over 2017, from $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion, which is ahead of an average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years.

“The things that jumped out to me with this data was not just that consumers have higher expectations, and don’t expect just to get tracking information and speedy delivery, they expect to be engaged with, as well as be part of, a collaborative experience, to fix problems,” said Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey CMO, in an interview.

As an example of consumers wanted a larger stake in the delivery process, Newbold-Knipp pointed to the 2017 survey, which showed that 32% of consumers expect a package to be re-routed in the event of an incorrect address. Fast-forward a year later and that figure is now at 53.2%.

What’s more, she pointed out that only 8.5% of consumers did not expect a retailer to allow for some kind of intervention in the event of an incorrect address, down from 35% a year ago.

“It has gone down so much to the point where a consumer is saying if my address is wrong or if I am on vacation, I want you to send my package somewhere else or hold it, I expect to be able to do those things,” she said. “That is a massive shift in customer expectations and also really significant in terms of operational change that [retailers] now need to take into account if they want to make this possible. A simple tracking page does not do it. Retailers need to have collaborative linkages into all of their carriers if they want to affect that type of change.”

With the survey highlighting the heightened importance of brand loyalty, as evidenced by the 84% of consumers saying they are unlikely to return to a retailer after a single negative experience, Newbold-Knipp said while this number was not surprising, it was surprising that retail shippers’ logistics and fulfillment groups are not paying close attention to that thesis.

“When you look at the way the world is moving and how people consume services, it used to be a very transactional relationship in a lot of cases,” she explained. “Now, though, it has really moved into a scenario where there is recognition that it costs more to keep an existing customer than to gain a new customer. There are entire business models based around subscription services, with companies representing in their fundamental ethos that the idea of a long relationship with a client is more important than the individual transaction volume that happens at a single point in time.”

Addressing the most important factors for delivery, the Convey survey pointed to cost leading the pack at 61.8%, followed by previous experiences at 11.3%, same or next day delivery at 9.7%, and ability to pick specific delivery date range at 9.3%.

With more consumers shopping online each year and wanting to take on more ownership of the delivery experience, Newbell-Knipp said each of these metrics has room to run in the coming years.

“In a dense and populated country like the United Kingdom, for example, expectations for next-day and two-day delivery are significantly different than what we have in North America,” she noted. “A company like Jet, which is starting to do more two-hour deliveries in New York City is taking what it is learning from other geographies and figuring out how to apply that in urban areas in North America. What we see in general consumer trends are that what starts to happen in certain urban or coastal corridors eventually starts to become an expectation in other areas as well. Not only will consumer expectations rise, but brands are also getting more sophisticated about how they think about it.”

Convey reported in the survey’s findings that 51.4% of consumers expect a refund or a discount on their shipping costs from a retailer in the event of a delivery delay, with 16.8% asking for a credit or a discount in on a next purchase, 15.1% indicated they want some form of expedited shipping to still receive a package on time, and 12.2% said that they do not expect a response from a retailer in the case of a missed estimated delivery date.  


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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