E-tailers fail on flexibility of deliveries

UK online retailers are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to offer customers flexible delivery options, says new research.

According to delivery management company MetaPack, only 12 per cent of retailers allow customers to specify a day for delivery, while only 20 per cent offer a Saturday delivery option. Less than a third of the sites surveyed provide consumers with any delivery information at all before customers reach the final stage of the online payment process. This means that they are expected to enter personal information before they know when they might get their order, or even how much the total bill will be.

MetaPack chief executive Patrick Wall says: “Last year, we saw customer concerns about delivery overtake security as the major reason people don’t buy online. This research confirms that their fears may be well founded in many cases. This level of customer service would not be acceptable in store, and is certainly failing to meet customer expectations.”

MetaPack’s Delivery Excellence Research 2005 reviewed 130 multi-channel, catalogue and pure e-tail websites, focusing on the delivery proposition, including delivery cost, time and choice of delivery slots. Most retailers have so little confidence in their own delivery that 95 per cent do not offer a guaranteed delivery.

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