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How to reduce failed deliveries, improve UX, and boost conversions

By Matthew Furneaux

Convenience is key in retail. That, of course, means that retailers should be ensuring that every aspect of their customer journey is as quick and simple as possible for shoppers. And that doesn’t just mean the online part of the experience; that means the entire journey: from the moment the shopper enters your site to beyond the moment they have received their goods. However, it’s this final stage of the journey that trips many retailers up, and can often cause them problems.

Fresh off the back of IMRG's Delivery Summit, we at Loqate have been thinking about what retailers can do to increase deliverability.

In order to find out more about why retailers experience delivery issues and how they can overcome them, Loqate worked closely with independent research company Loudhouse to create our guide Fixing Failed Deliveries: Improving Data Quality in Retail. We surveyed more than 300 retailers and over 2,000 consumers across the UK, US and Germany, and we made several important discoveries.

What we discovered about failed deliveries

Firstly, we found that one in every 20 online orders never made it to its intended destination. Consider how many sales you make each day. This finding really hits home when we consider that 65% of the retailers we spoke to stated that failed or late deliveries are particularly costly. Can you really afford for one in 20 of these not to arrive?

And we’re not only talking the cost of a postage stamp. Our research shows that the average cost of a failed delivery for each retailer we spoke to is approximately £14.35, which equates to roughly £200,000 each year – a significant loss. It is also important to mention here that even if it is actually the courier’s fault, the retailer is still expected by the consumer to resolve the issue.

So, failed deliveries are costly business. However, we’re not only talking about a financial loss. It’s also damaging to a brand’s reputation. According to well over half of the consumers we spoke to (57%), they wouldn’t make a purchase from a retailer again if they experienced a delivery issue.

Finance chart

With social media so prominent in the lives of many people, it is often the first place a consumer will go to vent if they experience a problem with a retailer. This means thousands, if not millions, more shoppers have the potential to see the complaint, which can have a dramatic impact on a retailer’s reputation. It can be the difference between a shopper visiting their store or going to a competitor.

Unfortunately, according to our research, an enormous 62% of consumers said they have experienced a late or failed delivery. For consumers, this is an extremely frustrating situation. Buying items online is supposed to be a simple process: you find what you want, you enter your address and bank details, and it’s yours. So, when items don’t arrive when they should, consumers start to think twice about using the retailer at fault again.

So, who is really to blame for failed deliveries?

It’s safe to say that poor address data is the key reason for failed and late deliveries. However, who is really to blame if an item doesn’t arrive? The retailer or the customer?

80% of retailers say consumers are at fault, suggesting that they enter incorrect address data in the checkout stage. Reasons for this may be that time-strapped shoppers are in a rush and so are not using the same level of concentration they usually would.

Is it really down to the consumer to ensure the address data they type is 100% accurate though? We have all made typos without realising. Perhaps we’re distracted, or maybe our device is small and fat fingers play a part. In any case, the onus shouldn’t just be on the shopper. After all, they want convenience, which means providing them with a quick and simple service.

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Consumer frustration around address entry

When it comes to entering address data in the checkout, consumers are less than impressed. In fact, a whopping 61% said they would abandon their purchase if they encountered issues while entering their address details. This ultimately results in lost sales, with shoppers choosing to buy from a competitor.

So, what makes entering an address so frustrating? Well, according to the consumers we spoke to, there were several address-related issues, including address formats not being recognised (19%), the inability to find their address from a drop-down list (17%), and address formats changing after consumers had confirmed them (16%).

What’s the solution for creating a convenient checkout?

So, how can retailers provide a convenient checkout UX? Over half of the consumers we spoke to said they would feel more confident buying from a retailer who offers technology that suggests the right address.

These solutions ensure that consumers spend less time entering address data, significantly reducing the number of keystrokes they would normally type. Minimising the amount of time shoppers spend in the checkout is essential for creating conversions. If a customer can get through the checkout stage with ease, they are far more likely to complete their purchase, especially when we consider that the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%, and that over a quarter abandon because the checkout is too long or complicated (Baymard Institute, 2019).

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Improving data quality

The tool is also beneficial from a retailer’s point of view. Type-ahead address verification in the checkout means that the address data being entered is clean and accurate, meaning that retail businesses can effectively communicate with consumers and ensure that parcels are sent to the correct address, reducing failed deliveries as well as the high costs and negative brand perception that go along with them.

Interested in learning more about how to significantly reduce delivery issues? Download your copy of Fixing Failed Deliveries: Improving Data Quality in Retail for free.

Matthew Furneaux, Global Commercial Director, Loqate, a GBG solution

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