While brands will aim to meet their shoppers’ delivery promises over the next major shopping events — Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rush though Christmas Day — Convey has been monitoring how shippers have been doing throughout peak events in the summer where delivery dates matter. These dates include Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, when major sales occur, often promising shoppers low prices with a guaranteed delivery time.
Delivery Surges Lead to Post-Holiday Delivery Delays
Our data shows that during major holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, huge sales and patio season caused a massive increase in orders, especially for LTL shipments. They also resulted in an increase in delivery exceptions during the next week, after orders had been fulfilled. In the week following Memorial Day, exceptions increased by 30%. mostly due to parcel delays. After the Fourth of July, exceptions jumped 65%, and after the week after Labor Day, LTL exceptions increased by 18%. This amounted to massive delivery delays and 12K delivery exceptions tied to large-item delivery appointment failures.
During the week after:
- Memorial Day: Exceptions increased by 30%
- Fourth of July: Exceptions increased by 65%
- Labor Day: LTL Exceptions increased by 18%
The Cost of Delivery Appointment Attempts for Large-Item Delivery
Delivery appointment scheduling and attempted deliveries topped the list of large-item exceptions this summer, followed by incorrect addresses. Although weather outliers such as Hurricane Florence caused a ripple effect in the supply chain after Labor Day, causing a massive delay in shorter-transit parcel deliveries, large-item shipments were seldom delayed by uncontrollable events such as weather.
The lack of efficiency in delivery appointments today is evident in the low success rate rate for delivery appointments. Today, 3 out of 10 large-item shipments require multiple contact attempts to schedule, and 28% of those successful appointment events still fail. While a standard freight service will offer three delivery attempts before returning the item back to the sender, this costs brands an average of 4.64 additional days of an item sitting at the destination terminal (and not with the customer), and a minimum of $69 on average in added cost for the retailer.
However, failed attempts cost more than just the return-to-sender fee — it also costs the shipper in customer experience. 94% of customers will blame the shipper, not the carrier, for any delivery issues, and 70% aren’t likely to return if they perceive a poor delivery experience.
Best practices to re-set customer expectations during post-holiday delivery delays:
- Set Expectations Early
Your brand has already established a level of trust and excitement with each customer by driving him or her to a shopping cart.e sure to connect the customer experience to the next part of their customer journey: the delivery experience. Quickly follow up each purchase fulfillment with a confirmation message and an accurate Estimated Delivery Date (EDD), and notify shoppers if their EDD changes — 95% of customers believe this notification is table stakes, and over 50% want to be notified through email.
- Communicate Frequently
While exceptions such as delivery delays and damages happen, there are still steps that shippers can take to ensure that the last leg of the delivery experience goes smoothly. In our last delivery survey, exception notifications were 93% of shoppers wanted to receive shipment notifications for any delivery updates for an exception, and the majority of consumers said they wanted that notification immediately — as soon as anything went wrong with the package or shipment.
- Automate Self-Service Actions
While Self-Service Actions might differ greatly for LTL and parcel shipments, customers expect their last touch to be convenient and pain-free either way. Automated services such as online delivery appointment scheduling and automatic shipment re-routing functions offer consumers a path to seamless delivery without putting additional stress and tracking on Customer Care and Operations Teams. In the case of Delivery Appointment Setting, you can reduce the number of attempts a carrier has to make by letting customers schedule their delivery appointments on their own time.
As we saw last year, delivery demands only amplify as December 25 draws closer — consumers will opt to shop with brands that offer fast shipping over cheaper delivery, and expect no delays in return. As brands get into the final stretch before peak holiday season and determine which promotions and site experiences will help to lure in shoppers, it’s imperative to remember that seamless delivery also ranks highly on shoppers’ wish lists.
In order for brands to gain long-lasting loyalty in any delivery situation, shoppers must feel empowered with the knowledge and confidence that their retailers will be on their side if a delivery goes awry.
Interested in learning more about preventing or reducing post-holiday delivery delays?