Speed/reliability: Which is more important in delivery?
Currently, the discourse surrounding what is important in delivery, especially when it comes to eCommerce, is very focused on speed. The faster delivery, the better. But is that really always the case? What about accuracy and reliability?
When it comes to what is important in delivery, the key word has been speed for a long time. Faster equals better and focus has been first on day-to-day delivery and now a lot of retailers and eCommerce businesses are beginning to offer same-day delivery – in a few metropolitan areas even next-hour delivery. But is this really what the customers want?
Be accurate and notify under ways
According to research on Scandinavian online shoppers done by Norwegian carrier-giant Bring, speed is important in delivery, but not necessarily the deciding factor. However, what is important is being accurate and living up to the expected delivery time the customer is given at the time of purchase. In other words, in most cases, it is not important whether the delivery time is 2 or 3 days, but if you tell the customer that he/she will get a delivery in 2 days, they will feel let down if it takes 4. Inevitably, something will go wrong and some deliveries will be delayed and in those cases, some of the lost trust from the end-customer can be regained through timely communication, informing about the delay, what caused it and when the delivery is expected to arrive.
Know your business and your customers
A panel discussion about the future change of delivery and customer convenience at the Internet Retailing Expo in Birmingham, March 2018, reached the same conclusion – speed is important in delivery, but reliability and precision is king. Logistics Development Manager Samantha James of Screwfix advised not to get carried away with the hype and what competitors are doing, but to take a close look at your customers and their needs. She said: “Reliability every time, no one is going to thank you for doing a rubbish job quickly, you need to be able to make sure that your customers get what they have ordered exactly when they think they are going to get it.”
Her fellow panelist Robert Kühlwig of Everythingfivepounds.com agreed: “Speed needs to be offered, but not everyone needs it, not everyone cares. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. In the case of Screwfix, and other similar businesses delivering to the building industry, next day delivery is not always desirable. Jones notes that their customers want to be able to order building materials for delivery exactly when they need it at the building site or to be able to order and pick up on the way to a job. Watch the entire debate here.
Concludingly, make sure to carefully consider the need of your customer base, before investing in either fast of precise delivery. One thing you could look into is a system to notify your customers about unexpected events during the delivery process – a service offered by most Delivery Management Systems, such as Consignor. In addition, you could consider surveying the accuracy of your carriers, making sure that they live up to the Service Level Agreement you have with them, delivering not too early, not too late, but just on time.
Text by: Consignor, firstname.lastname@example.org