Some 87% of Britons have used delivery services in the past year, be that buying products online to be sent home or clicking and collecting in store, however as retail heads into its busiest time of the year Mintel has released some of the top issues that frustrate shoppers.
Its latest report UK Attitudes Towards Retail Home Delivery and Collection Services reveals that 62% of those who use delivery most often have experienced an issue. A longer than estimated wait was the top complaint and cited as an issue by 30% of shoppers.
Being unable to schedule a delivery for a convenient time (20%), deliveries being left in unsafe areas (18%) and damage to the content or packaging (17%) were also major concerns, along with receiving incorrect products (12%) and difficulty arranging a redelivery (12%).
Click and collect is not without its problems too with one in ten shoppers saying they have encountered unhelpful staff in store and 20% saying long queues are an issue, while 10% arrived in store to find their item out of stock.
Mintel senior retail analyst Nick Carroll said that click and collect presented an opportunity for retailers to get customers into stores and have a positive brand experience but this can be negated if the customer is let down on service.
“Online retail will continue to grow within the UK and with it the demands put on retail logistics. While instances of problems are lower amongst those who have collected a product, the issues users have reported seem avoidable from a retailer perspective,” he said.
“While a big positive of click-and-collect, from a multichannel viewpoint, is that it allows store-based retailers to emphasise their brand traits when an online shopper comes into the store, if customers are faced with long queues, unhelpful staff or unavailable products, then the opportunity is lost and the benefits of coming into store are negated,” Carroll added.
More than half of Britons (56%) have collected a product in the past year but delivery to home is the most popular service with 86% having used this service, while 16% have had parcels delivered to work (however recent figures from Transport for London say that between 30% – 60% of parcels delivered to offices in the capital are personal items).
Collection within stores, be it through in-store click-and-collect (44%) or in-store reserve-and-collect (30%), remains the dominant mode of collection, with just 10% collecting via a third-party collection point. Mintel estimates that the value of collection orders in the UK reached £9.5bn in 2016, accounting for 18.5% of all online sales, with the market this year estimated to reach £11.8bn.
When asked about which service innovations they would most like to see evening home delivery (43%) topped the wish lists of those who use product delivery and collection. While GPS tracking of orders (35%) and one-hour delivery slots (33%) were also popular. (Last week logistics business Brisqq said a survey of London shoppers revealed that 96% of shoppers in the capital would shop with a retailer offering a timed delivery slot).
Overall, 30% of delivery and collection users are interested in same-day delivery, with those aged 16-24 expressing the greatest interest in same-day delivery (41%). Despite this, the majority (87%) of users state that next-day delivery is quick enough for most purchases. Meanwhile 46% of delivery and collection users say the ability to have products delivered before paying for them is appealing and a forward thinking one in 10 (8%) express an interest in drone delivery.
“Online retail shows no signs of slowing down and neither does the speed in which retailers are attempting to fulfil orders and how quickly consumers expect them to arrive. For leading online players, how they fulfil orders can be their defining quality, but there is evidence that speed is not necessarily everything; it is about offering a range of options to be flexible to consumers’ multifaceted demands,” Carroll added.
Finally, packaging is proving a cause for concern for delivery and collection users as almost half (47%) of users think that orders made via the internet come with too much packaging. Meanwhile, 57% of users believe that retailers that sell online should offer a recycling service for old products.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how their consumption is affecting the environment. Greater online volumes that bring more waste packaging and delivery vehicles to serve the demand may see consumers more actively question how their shopping habits are affecting the environment.
“One way in which online retailers could limit this is to instigate a recycling service for old products. There are examples of store-based retailers who have introduced a recycling service at the store level and the majority of consumers seem to be in favour of online players taking a similar stance. This is a simple move, even if it is a logistical strain for the retailer to take. It could help reduce the impractically of excess packaging around the home, and encourage greater purchasing,” Carroll concluded.