“70% of consumers report they are unlikely to return after a poor delivery experience. $41 billion is lost by U.S. companies each year due to poor customer service or experiences. Still, few consumers (only 11.3%) say delivery experience is a strength of retailers today.” [source: The Cost of Poor Delivery, by Convey, 2017]
Poor delivery is the Sword of Damocles of eCommerce and omnichannel Retail. An issue deeply felt on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. A late delivery or, especially, a missed one, can disrupt the entire shopping experience. Starting from the checkout, where too often it’s impossibile to find any meaningful clue about when the parcel will be delivered.
Retail giants are taking every kind of step to solve this curse. Amazon, the undisputed leader when it comes to innovation (even as it feels Walmart’s breathe on its neck), has recently announced another bold step towards a stress-free last-mile: Amazon Key, a device that lets couriers enter the recipient’s home and leave the package inside. The initiative has received no enthusiasm from the average Prime subscriber: about 58% of them definitely would not buy Amazon Key (which costs around $250). Only 5% said they would definitely buy Amazon Key [source: Recode commissioned Survey].
Percentages are due to change after the first few months of adoption but America values privacy too much for a widespread embrace of Key (not to mention the possible risks endured by couriers seen by neighbours or police while entering someone else’s house or the legal consequences of any incident).
And so porch pirates thrive and workers all over the States still have to take a day off to wait for important deliveries. Unacceptable. Could lockers be a solution? Amazon has signed contracts with apartment owners and managers, representing more than 850,000 units, to begin installing locker systems in their buildings. These cost around $20.000 and would welcome non-Amazon parcels too, 24/7.
Acceptance of lockers in the U.S., though, is at the lowest in the world: according to Metapack’s study State of eCommerce Delivery 2016 only 4% of Americans have used such a service (2% in 2015), 3% if you read UPS’ Pulse of the Online Shopper 2016. A number that is bound to grow, especially with Amazon betting so hard on the solution. Grow, yes. Become the solution? Probably not.
Lockers can’t accommodate large parcels, have no market in suburban or rural areas, where they have to be put inside malls or service stations (but people want to receive their stuff at home, or the convenience of online shopping goes away), have high maintenance costs, need tech-wise users, etc.
The only true solution seems to be the easiest one and, at the same time, the most difficult: finding people at home, all the time. This is possible only if a seismic shift occurs, from a courier-centric shipping philosophy to a customer-centric one.
If the recipient is allowed to choose the day and the hour in which to receive his shopping every piece of the puzzle falls into the right place.
89% of American customers expect to see a selection of shipping options at checkout, not just one [source: Why Shopping Cart Abandonment Hurts the Most, by Temando, 2016]. 76% would like to see a specified time-slot among those, while only 43% of retailers are offering them without letting customers freely choose neither the position/duration of said slots nor the day in which to assign them [source: State of Shipping in Commerce 2016, by Temando, 2016]. Numbers speak for themselves. And they speak of freedom as the only medicine to cure checkout abandonment.