Voice of the Customer

More than half of customers in the UK experience a problem when they buy something online, according to the JDA/Centiro Customer Pulse 2016 Report conducted by YouGov.

The Customer Pulse Report 2016 revealed 53 per cent said they had experienced a problem with an online order during the last 12 months compared with 47 per cent in 2015.

Of those respondents who had experienced a problem, late deliveries (42 per cent) and missed deliveries (36 per cent) continued to be the biggest issues. Worryingly, there was an increase in those respondents who had received incorrect (21 per cent – up from 15 per cent in 2015) or damaged items (26 per cent – up from 22 per cent in 2015).

Respondents also displayed a continued intolerance of service issues; on average 73 per cent of UK adults stated that as a result of a poor online home delivery (80 per cent) or Click & Collect experience (66 per cent) they would be likely to switch to an alternative retailer when next shopping for products online – this was an increase from 71 per cent in 2015.

Jason Shorrock, vice president of retail strategy EMEA at JDA, said: “Raising minimum order values and charging for Click & Collect orders is a big consideration for retailers as they look to boost the profitability of their online operations.

“However, as our research findings show, retailers must recognise that different customers are reacting differently when such restrictions are thrust upon them. This split in reactions suggests retailers need to segment their customers in order to tailor services offered to them.

“Last-mile delivery and collection issues continue to be major pain point for many retailers, and solving these problems is both an economic and operational challenge.

“Retailers are making considerable investments in their delivery and collection offerings, yet at the same time the majority of customers still expect the fulfillment of online orders to be free of charge.”

 When asked, 60 per cent of UK adults online thought that the retailer should be responsible for resolving delivery problems, compared to only 33 per cent who believed it should be the delivery company.

When it came to consumers’ experience of getting these issues resolved, 66 per cent of those respondents who had encountered an issue said they had received a good experience.  However, there was still a substantial 26 per cent that said they had a poor experience.

Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro, said: “Retailers need to be more confident in their last-mile capabilities, otherwise these issues will continue to reflect poorly on the overall brand experience customers receive.

“This is one of the reasons we have seen the likes of Amazon bring more of its delivery function in house over the last 12 months. Today there are greater pressures on retailers’ delivery capabilities than ever before and if customers’ expectations aren’t met, they will simply shop elsewhere in the future.

“Through improved visibility into delivery networks retailers can help ensure that customer promises are kept. In the future, predictive analytics will also help retailers and delivery companies pre-empt problems before they happen, taking the customer experience to the next level.”

Click & Collect continued to be increasingly popular among online shoppers, with 54 per cent of respondents stating they had used it over the past 12 months, representing an increase from 49 per cent in 2015.

Of those that have used Click & Collect, avoiding delivery charges (59 per cent) remained the most common reason for doing so, followed by it being more convenient than home delivery (54 per cent).

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