Once upon a time, a great consumer experience began with your local mail carrier dropping off the latest edition of the Sears Catalog. Though revolutionary for people who were experiencing the role of discretionary consumers for the first time, this analog system that defined how people ordered and received goods was (and for many years remained) rudimentary.
Fast forward to today, in the gilded age of instant gratification, where tech giants like Amazon routinely market, process and deliver goods to consumers’ doorsteps within a 24-hour period. In today’s landscape, every brand understands that a great delivery experience is paramount to staying competitive and relevant in the new Delivery Economy.
Or Do They?
A new report from project44 explores the experiences and opinions of 750 Consumers and 500 Marketing Executives to better understand how brands and consumers’ expectations are aligned (and misaligned) on what constitutes a great delivery experience.
What Fuels the Delivery Economy?
On-demand delivery apps like Grubhub and Instacart have revolutionized the ways customers interact with brands, making features like mile-by-mile tracking and laser-precise delivery estimates no longer perks, but the new standard for brand experiences. Customers make it very clear that they now expect the same level of transparency they receive from on-demand delivery apps across all of their personal and professional buying experiences — 71 percent of consumers surveyed report on-demand delivery apps have influenced how they want all products delivered from online purchases.
Marketers are largely aware of these new delivery expectations — 85 percent of executives surveyed say that delivery is moderate to very important to their company’s overall brand and customer experience. When probed, however, their specific delivery offerings fell short of what customers expect.
Brands Need to Get in Gear
Consumer apps have set the tone for all purchases going forward, including the often neglected B2B customer experiences (why should a turkey sandwich come with better tracking data than a shipment of industrial chemicals?). Below are the top ways brands need to invest in their delivery experience to meet new customer expectations:
Offer Free or Inexpensive Shipping
With on-demand delivery apps offering more and more discounts, consumers are turning to brands to supply similar opportunities for business purchases. Half (52 percent) of consumers cite free or discounted shipping as one of the most important factors in their purchase experience, the same weight given to the actual price of the product.
Offer Faster Shipping Across the Board
Half (46 percent) of consumers say they would pay a subscription fee to have items delivered quickly (e.g. Amazon Prime). When consumers are not willing to spring for faster delivery, 43 percent say paid standard shipping should only take 3-5 business days.
Despite consumers’ willingness to spend, only a quarter (25 percent) of companies say they have plans to begin offering a subscription fee for faster shipping in the future.
Provide Transparency and Real-Time Tracking Information
Almost one-third (31 percent) of consumers said they want the same real-time tracking of deliveries they enjoy with on-demand delivery apps across all their buying experiences. Concerningly, only one in five (20 percent) marketers said they believe customers want real-time tracking on their deliveries.
The Dire Consequences of Neglecting Delivery
Failing to deliver on expectations is now not only a supply chain problem or a customer service issue, but it’s also becoming a threat to the entire integrity of the brand. In fact, 74% of consumers say that when a package isn’t delivered when expected, it hurts their impression of the company.
Delivery’s new place at the core of the customer experience means a strategy for meeting delivery expectations needs to be taken into consideration across organizations. From supply chain management to branding and customer service, a platinum-quality delivery experience is now a make or break business function for today’s B2C and B2B businesses.