With consumers spending more time at home due to COVID-19, “click and collect” and contactless delivery options are now booming.
This has heightened expectations for greater transparency, reliability and accurate delivery information.
However, there is a growing disconnect between consumer expectations and the delivery experience, a new report finds.
The report, compiled by BluJay Solutions, a global provider of supply chain applications, networks and data solutions, found just over 20% of consumers experience a delivery service that meets their expectations every time.
The Delivery Experience report is based on a survey of more than 7,000 consumers across APAC, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
As COVID-19 continues to accelerate the growth of e-commerce, retailers should be striving to meet and even exceed consumer delivery expectations, the report finds.
However, best practice delivery hygiene is often overlooked.
“With consumers stuck at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, we’re seeing a shift in delivery needs and preferences towards contactless ‘click and collect’ in addition to increased demand for precise collection and delivery times,” says Katie Kinraid, General Manager, APAC at BluJay Solutions.
“However, the delivery experience is being hindered by issues such as delayed deliveries, long wait times and a lack of proactive communications.”
The report provides several key takeaways including:
Changing profile of the online shoppers
COVID-19 has opened up online retailers to new consumer audiences who were previously hesitant to make the move from brick and mortar to online shopping. Government lockdowns and restrictions have forced a conversion in behavior.
The report reveals over half of 50-year-old and almost 70 percent of 18 to 49-year-old people are now shopping online every fortnight.
Clothing, footwear and small electronics are the top categories purchased, as well as groceries and health supplements/beauty products.
Expectations are high, but waiting times are sub-par
The delivery experience is now a key consideration in the consumer purchase journey, with consumers checking delivery information such as cost (87 percent), delivery timeframe (71 percent) and the ability to track delivery (51 percent) before completing their purchases.
Delivery delays are a major issue across the region with an average of just 14 percent of consumers stating that parcels are always delivered on time. In ANZ in particular, there is an issue of couriers leaving a collection slip despite someone being home.
Interest in click and collect is growing
Around half of all consumers across APAC are shopping more online during the pandemic and are unanimous in their preference for contactless delivery.
Click and collect as a preferred delivery method is still in its infancy across the region, with about a third of consumers in Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines having never used click and collect before. However, in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, click and collect is becoming an increasingly popular option, with almost a fifth of consumers in all three countries preferring this delivery method. Adoption levels are highest in Australia where 87 percent of consumers have used this delivery option previously.
Reliability and visibility are critical to meeting delivery expectations
Free and fast delivery and having visibility over delivery tracking information are the top considerations when online shopping. Other considerations are free returns and more customised features, such as the ability to specify or change delivery details.
When it comes to returns polices, having free returns and an easy process were the top two most important features across the region.
Despite interest in extra delivery features, for example green delivery, most consumers are not willing to pay more for them. Same-day delivery is the top feature that consumers would pay extra for.
According to Ms Kinraid, while hygiene features such as tracking and regular updates on timing remain critical to ensuring a positive customer experience, the shift to online shopping as the primary means of purchasing marks a significant change in delivery expectations.
“Retailers and carriers must adapt to suit consumer preferences that have transformed as a result of this pandemic,” she says. “Returns policies, for instance, will become more important as consumers increase their online shopping.”
Ms Kinraid says consumers now prefer contactless, same-day delivery. Retailers and carriers need to reassess how they will manage the new model moving forward.
“Areas for improvement that retailers and carriers should consider include the need for new communication channels with customers, as well as the need for greater transparency and accuracy on the delivery and collection times.
“Most importantly they will need to look at how they can help ensure a seamless and safe delivery that maintains zero contact and reduces the potential for theft.”
View the full report here.