Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Online shopping: delivery problems cost UK economy >£1 billion a year

I've banged on before about the horlicks that is "delivery" of products bought through internet shopping in the UK, and how credit card companies could help but mostly don't. It's one of my major wishlist items given how much I buy stuff over the Web - I've been doing "home shopping" since the days of mere telephone ordering!

If proof were needed that home delivery isn't working properly, European web retailing price comparison service Kelkoo (now owned by Yahoo!) recently reported on their survey of 13,000 online shoppers which found that "The economy is losing a staggering £1.6 billion each year in lost time as workers take an average of 1.5 days off work to wait for deliveries" of their ordered goods. 45% of those surveyed had taken time off work to wait for a delivery. Yes, that's over a billion quid that delivery issues are costing the national economy, every year.

"Coupled with the frustrations (for both employees and employers) of time taken off work, non-delivery is another major concern with 81% of respondents buying something online only for it not to arrive. The next biggest frustrations were the total costs not being clear upfront (16%), deliveries not arriving in good condition (16%) and late deliveries (10%). Importantly for retailers, 94% of people said they would be unlikely to place further orders with a retailer that failed to deliver." (my emphasis)

Of course the point of Kelkoo's survey was to help plug their own shopping comparison site - "On Kelkoo we highlight IDIS retailers upfront and delivery costs are included in prices to avoid the frustrations of hidden costs" (they point out that the "IDIS (Internet Delivery is Safe)" badge means "that the retailer offers a good choice of delivery times and has good options in place in case of non-delivery").

But still, I'm delighted that someone has actually taken the trouble to get the hard numbers to prove what most of us consumers have known all along - service shouldn't just grind to a halt when the sale is clinched, e-tailers have to follow through with proper "order fulfilment" and, yes, post-sales customer service too.

C'mon, you web shopping e-commerce / e-shopping sites, for your own sake if not for the reputation and credibility of electronic commerce - if you want consumers to keep buying from you, sort out your delivery! I'd love it if the government were to pass a law where the retailer responsible had to automatically pay the shopper £X for every hour that a delivery was late, with interest and fines if that's not paid within 2 weeks. Heck, why not extend that requirement to utility companies that citizens (read juicy, juicy voters) have to wait in for, too? Well, I can dream...

(Via IMRG)

No comments: