In one of the largest surveys of its kind, Yodel – in conjunction with independent research company, eDigital Research – has collated data from over 1.3M separate reviews and responses to find out what online shoppers’ delivery preferences are.
Using SMS, email, and its own MyYodel portal, the parcel company collects more than 4,000 pieces of customer feedback per day. It has now started interweaving its regular feedback processes with research questions.
Asked how often they shop online, 12% of those surveyed said more than once per week. 14% said once per week, 20% shop online once every two weeks, and 34% shop online once per month.
Although laptops are still the most popular device for online shopping (21%), smartphones aren’t far behind (20%) and if combined with tablets (17%) mobile devices en masse are clearly the UK’s favourite way to shop online.
The issue of failed delivery has been a thorn in the side of the carrier industry since its inception and is unlikely to ever completely disappear. From the point of view of providing customers with more, and better, choices in order to reduce the number of failed deliveries, trust and convenience are vitally important elements of the equation.
Two-thirds (66%) are happy for their neighbours to take in parcels, but there are still plenty of people who are not comfortable with that option. A combination of having to work full-time, not knowing – or even liking – your neighbours, or having a job with unsociable hours highlights the importance of being able to offer shoppers a range of delivery options that fit in with them.
Having parcels sent to a collection point doesn’t placate everyone, either. Again, those working unsociable hours may find themselves cut off from some collection point options, and might not see their neighbours from one week to the next.
Yodel also asked its customers directly about using Collect+, which is part of the same group, but is only one of the many – and growing – collection options available.
Some responded more favourably than others, wishing that Collect+ was the default for failed deliveries, while others clearly resent having to fetch an item when they had specifically asked for it to be delivered to their home address.
Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel, said: “The research particularly emphasises the fact that online retailers need to provide customers with a range of options. For example, 66% prefer their parcel to be left with a neighbour, while 50% prefer a leave-safe option. Consumers are divided on their preference, and it is up to us to offer the choice to suit their needs.”
Eradicating the disappointment, frustration, and behind-the-scenes cost of failed deliveries might be a pipedream, but it could be alleviated through better use of alerts and notifications.
An overwhelming 96% of Yodel’s respondents say they would find it useful to receive progress updates when expecting a parcel, with 88% rating alerts as ‘very useful’ – which really just serves to reinforce something the industry knows all too well. Gone are the days when shoppers accepted they’d have to wait in all day for a delivery. The technology exists to keep shoppers appraised of delivery progress, track parcels as they travel across the world, and consequently they want a confirmed delivery window.
Stead continues: “As we saw in the news over Black Friday last year, unexpected volumes cause issues not only for deliveries, but also for online shopping. For example, websites began crashing under the sheer volume of users.
“Clearly there is a need for all those involved throughout the entire retail experience to work closer together to plan how to manage consumer demand and expectations for the coming years.
“Retailers can help massively by giving the consumer choice – allowing them to decide which delivery service meets their needs rather than always opting for “as quick as possible”. They also need to be crystal clear about delivery times and what can be expected when the parcel arrives. This also involves pricing appropriately. Customers need to know exactly what service they have selected at the time the order is placed.
“By working together as an industry, we can balance the peak period in a way which will deliver a high quality service that meets everyone’s requirements. To support this we’re sharing our research data to help retailers forecast.”
The responses captured in the Yodel data came from a spread of age groups, with 56% female and 44% male. At either end of the age spectrum, just 1% of respondents were under 18 and over 75. 44% work full-time, 13% are part-time workers, and 13% retired.