We now live in a world where e-commerce is at the core of consumers' lives.
Whether it's ordering weekly groceries from Ocado, a meal through Deliveroo, a random bargain discovered on Amazon or an outfit from the most exciting fashion brands. Whatever it is, they want it now — in a time that suits!
This week I want to talk a bit about configuring your delivery options to match your customers expectations and to give them a great experience.
It doesn't matter what you sell online, you need to be able offer a delivery option, otherwise how will the customer receive their order? You can't expect them to collect it all the time (click and collect can be useful but it's not always the most convenient for the customer — I will be covering this another time).
Let's unpack a three of the most common options to get an understanding of how they translate to the customer.
This is the very basic service level of delivery, every online store in 2019 should have this at the very minimum.
The usual time from the order being placed to the goods received by the customer can range quite a bit depending on where you are in the world and what delivery partner is used to fulfil the order. However, let's just focus on the UK for the time being... Typically, it's anywhere between 3-5 business days — sometimes up to 14 days.
With standard delivery, some trade-offs have to be made. The most prominent trade-off is time vs cost. Standard delivery can be incredibly cheap (typically £3 or less) which is usually attractive to price-sensitive customers and is commonly subsidised by the retailer for them to be able to advertise free delivery, reducing the friction on purchasing. This can be done by either increasing the price of the products to cover delivery costs or if your margins can afford to take a hit then it can just be absorbed as "marketing costs".
Price isn't everything in today's day and age, it becoming more about time. The big frustrations with standard delivery timings is that an order could get delivered on any day and at any time, which causes frustration and anxiety for the customer as they're likely not going to be around at the time of delivery, which leads them to missing the delivery and having to go to their their local collection hub the next day.
Deliveries are typically made without prior warning or accurate information, which could tarnish your brands reputation as it ruins the customers experience with you.
Next Day Delivery.
Our most recent beloved saviour! With majority of the larger chains jumping onboard with the next day offering it has become a household favourite with not only the nation, but the entire world. Brands such as ASOS, Misguided, Boohoo and JD Sports have played a fantastic part in doing this too!
Do I really need to explain the timeframe of this one — pretty self explanatory, right?
With next day delivery, the trade-offs are fairly minimal for the customer; the cost can be quite reasonable (typically between £3 - £8, sometimes free when you spend over a certain amount or if there's a current promotion on) and it comes pretty damn quick.
However, there can be a few drawbacks. Even people with busy schedules (pretty much everyone nowadays) can rarely remember to be present the next day for a delivery, plus it's never usually that simple. The delivery slot can usually be anywhere from 7am to 9pm, which can be incredibly frustrating to wait around for.
Some delivery partners offer tracking and updates which saves the customer from peering out from behind the window curtain every ten minutes, but they're still chained to the delivery location to prevent a missed delivery.
Again, be careful which delivery partners you choose as it can prevent customers from ordering again. What some carriers don't understand is that the customer very rarely remembers the brand of the delivery partner, they always refer back to the retailer. So be prepared to make a long-term partnership with a delivery partner that can care about your brand and your customers as much as you do.
Same Day Delivery.
This is the mother of all delivery options (only when done right). Would you believe me if I was to say that only around 4% of retailers have a same day solution in place? Well you should, because it's true!
Receiving an order on the same day it was placed can feel so elegant, it's like you're getting VIP treatment, yet it's incredibly fragile; so you need to be careful how to implement it. It's a concept that's has been around for years in the B2B world and has recently come to life in the e-commerce world and is making significant traction with consumers as their lifestyles are becoming more fast-paced, leading them to want orders to be more instantaneous.
Let's talk about cost; research conducted by the intelligent people at KPMG found that consumers could be willing to pay up to £11 for same day delivery. So really, the world is your oyster when it comes to pricing, you can be as flexible as you want to be by offering free promotions, absorbing some of the cost or even price it as a premium service. This will also depend on the level of service provided by the carrier of course. Here's some questions I would recommend asking:
- are the items insured in transit?
- how secure is it?
- how flexible is it for the customer?
- how will they add value to the brand?
Convenience: Again, it's super convenient only when it's done right. The customer receives the order on the same day. Great! However, it's a similar scenario to the next day problem; is the customer going to be around throughout the day, if not when are they? To do it right, it must be executed around the consumers convenience otherwise there's no point in doing it at all.
Don't let your customers down by choosing an inadequate service. Let them experience true magic, keep them coming back for more!
Again, I'll repeat what I said before. CHOOSE YOUR DELIVERY PARTNER WISELY!
Now, let's sum up everything I've talked about, hopefully you haven't fallen asleep.
Give your customers some good options — no more than 5, otherwise they'll be taking forever to decide. Good options would be:
- Standard delivery - cater for the price sensitive customers, making it easy for them to make a purchase.
- Next day (anytime) - an awesome marketing tool to attract more customers, use promotions accordingly.
- Next day (slots) - for customers that are time sensitive, think about pricing this as a premium when compared to the next day (anytime) option.
- Same day (slots) - for customers that can't and won't wait (huge focus around the 18-28 age range), providing time slots ensures that they won't miss the delivery at all.
- Same day (ASAP) - receiving an order in as little as an hour is something you aspire to offer, it's just as fluid and instantaneous as in-store shopping - it's all about providing the best experience possible.
When pricing your delivery options make sure you completely understand the offering and service level of your selected delivery partner so that it can easily be reflected in the pricing.
And, most importantly, ask the right questions and make sure they're willing to put your brand's reputation first by having a customer-first approach.
Shoot me a question if need any advice around delivery options, I live and breathe them!
Until next week.