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Etailers keeping their customers better informed on delivery

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Retailers are keeping their customers better informed when it comes to delivery, a new study has found.

The 2012 Home Delivery: The Doorstep Experience report from Micros studied what happens at the very final stage of ecommerce – delivery to the doorstep.

The study found that 99.6% of retailers sent a confirmation of order email in the most recent research, carried out in 2011, up from 98% in 2010. Some 81% sent emails confirming dispatch, up from 79% last time.

The use of text messages ahead of delivery is increasing, the report found. Some 11% of the 237 retailers surveyed sent messages, up from 4% last year, while 64% of retailers also gave access to detailed order tracking. More than 8 in 10 (81%) deliveries from retailers who gave a timeframe were delivered on time.

The study also looked at what happens when deliveries fail. Twelve of the deliveries were sent to a flat that would be empty at the time of delivery. Of these, the study found, seven were simply delivered, with two ‘shoved’ through the letterbox and five left outside the flat. Three were left with a neighbour unknown to the recipient, while only two carriers (Yodel and DPD) left a card with details of how to arrange a redelivery.

Nigel Doust, chief executive of report sponsor Blackbay, said; “This year's Doorstep Experience Report is once again a mixture of the sobering and the positive. On the one hand we see improvements in online order tracking but pre-delivery text interaction has only increased to 11%, providing a significant opportunity for the industry to improve first time delivery rates.”

"However, the failed delivery experience still leaves a lot to be desired. A quarter of the failed orders were left with a neighbour not known to the customer, with no card to explain what had happened. We still have work to do to make this process as simple, secure and successful as possible for the customer, the retailer, and the carrier.”

Carlo Rimini, business unit director for ecommerce at Micros UK said: “Some of the findings are disappointing; the failed delivery experience is still highly unpredictable, many retailers are still not offering detailed order tracking to the customer, and a quarter of the drivers that delivered our orders were described as ‘rude’. However, we believe that carriers and retailers are committed to resolving these issues and we expect to see improvements next year.”

The 2012 Home Delivery: The Doorstep Experience report, sponsored by Blackbay, is available free of charge at www.micros-ecommerce.com/research

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