Survey highlights disconnect in consumer shipping expectations

by Jeff Della Rosa (JDellaRosa@nwabj.com) 156 views 

A new logistics survey shows a disconnect between consumers’ delivery expectations and the belief marketers are meeting those expectations. Disconnects also exist regarding customer service and free or discounted shipping being just as important as the price of the product.

Logistics technology company  project44 announced Tuesday (Aug. 6) the results of a survey on how consumer shipping expectations have been impacted as a result of expedited delivery services, such as Amazon Prime. The survey included 750 consumers and more than 500 marketing executives.

“Based on our research, delivery has moved from a minor consideration in the customer experience, to a core component of meeting the modern consumer’s expectations,” said Andy Grygiel, chief marketing officer for project44. “Our recent research also confirms that this expectation has also permeated the (business-to-business) customer experience, putting significantly more pressure on functions such as logistics, transportation, supply chain, procurement and manufacturing.”

In a recent webinar, Grygiel explained the survey results are the first independent analysis showing the consumer demands for fast, inexpensive and transparent shipment of goods — which project44 identified as the delivery economy.

In the survey, 92% of marketers believe they are meeting consumers’ delivery expectations, and about half said delivery and transportation companies and supply chain and shipping departments are the top three stakeholders to provide the best customer experience. Grygiel highlighted the previous as a disconnect between consumer expectations and what marketers believe as meeting consumers’ expectations.

Jason Duboe, senior vice president of business development for project44, said the 92% result seemed high as far as meeting consumer delivery expectations because those expectations continue to rise.

Stephanie Reis, director of customer success for project44, explained some of the disconnect could be that the capabilities to meet consumer expectations are available but might not easy for the customers to use.

“We were surprised, actually shocked, that 52% of consumers cite free or discounted shipping as one of the most important factors in their purchase experience,” Grygiel said, noting that the price of the product was just as important as the shipping cost. “Marketers, though, still believe that the price of the product was the most important. Again, a disconnect here.”

Another disconnect regarded the importance of customer service. Only 25% of consumers said good customer service is important, while 65% of marketers believe customer service is one of the most important factors in a customer’s purchase experience.

Grygiel noted the importance of good customer service for logistics and supply chains, especially those that are being run with old systems.

Reis explained the disconnect could be that customer service isn’t needed because when one purchases an item online, it shows when to expect the item to arrive. Customers can track their purchases on their own, she said, and if the company fails to meet delivery expectations, consumers likely won’t purchase again from the company.

“If I have to continually work with your customer service, I don’t want to buy from you,” Reis said. “I don’t want to do business with you. The visibility in being able to know that information, have it at my fingertips, is table steaks. It’s kind of changed the game. If you’re not able to provide that you’re not going to be around much longer.”

The survey also showed 71% of consumers and 76% of marketers believe the use of on-demand delivery apps has influenced how they want all products to be delivered from all online purchases. And, 85% of marketers believe delivery is moderately to very important to their company’s overall brand and customer experience. Additionally, 74% of consumers said when a package isn’t delivered when expected, it hurts their impression of the company, and 60% of consumers complain when a package isn’t delivered when expected. Nearly half of consumers blame the retailer or e-commerce site for a shipping delay, while 42% hold the carrier responsible.

“Your carriers and that carrier network is an extension of your supply chain,” Reis said. “They may be external, but they are internal. They are the last ones to touch your customer, and if you think they’re not part of your supply chain and a crucial part, you’re wrong. I think the numbers show that.”

Reis said some retailers, distributors and logistics companies aren’t prepared to meet consumers’ delivery expectations, and Duboe said the shift to one-day shipping has put pressure on companies to meet the new standard.

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