Furniture delivery not on time? You have lost 61% of your customers

CAMPBELL, Calif. — A new survey from delivery software company DispatchTrack digs deeper into customer satisfaction with delivering large, bulky items, including furniture.

According to the data, one in two large and bulky deliveries have been postponed at least once. But interestingly, the postponement wasn’t as detrimental as missing a scheduled delivery window.

“The vast majority of consumers (61%) said they were unlikely to buy from the same retailer again if the order did not arrive on time,” said Satish Natarajan, CEO of DispatchTrack. “Two-thirds considered punctuality to be the best aspect of a positive delivery experience, yet the study found that almost half (44%) of deliveries were not delivered on time.”

It should also be noted that one in three consumers considered early delivery impractical.

Miscommunication and the inability to track order status were also issues and ranked among the top frustrations with shipping costs and the condition of the purchased item upon delivery.

Half of consumers surveyed attributed their poor delivery experience to lack of communication with the retailer or delivery company. Nine out of ten consumers said they wanted to be able to track the delivery status of large and bulky orders, but one in three couldn’t.

Other takeaways:

Postponement is the new normal

  • More than half of large and bulky deliveries have been postponed. 58% of large and bulky deliveries were rescheduled. Of these, 47% were postponed once, 32% twice, 15% three times and 6% four or more times.
  • Most rescheduled deliveries have been pushed back days or weeks. When deliveries were rescheduled, 47% were delayed by days, 27% by weeks, and 8% by several months.
  • The postponement was a headache. 58% of those who had a negative delivery experience found the rescheduling process frustrating. 24% of reschedules required a call to the retailer and excessive wait time.

On time deliveries

  • “On time” was the clearest aspect of positive delivery experiences. A positive delivery experience included on-time delivery (66%), order accuracy (57%), item condition (41%), prompt delivery (47%) and delivery team courteous (38%).
  • Yet almost half of large and bulky deliveries were not delivered on time. 44% said their large and bulky items were delivered outside of the scheduled time window. Of these, 52% arrived later than expected and 35% arrived earlier than expected.
  • Early delivery is not always good for business. Nearly one in three people (31%) consider early births to be impractical.
  • Retailers risk losing customers when deliveries are not made on time. Six in ten (61%) are unlikely to buy from a retailer again when a previous order exceeds the expected delivery window.
  • On time or not, three out of four consumers consider “signature required” to be an issue. 74% of consumers are frustrated when a signature is required for delivery. 53% find it particularly frustrating not to have been informed that a signature is required.

Communication is key

  • Half of consumers attribute negative delivery experiences to poor communication. Among the list of consumer complaints when deliveries go wrong, lack of communication, delivery charges, and item condition rank high.
  • Nine out of ten consumers want the ability to track their order. 41% want to know exactly where their order is in real time, while 50% want a general idea.
  • Yet one in three consumers could not track their last delivery. 35% could not track their delivery. 37% were able to track it but couldn’t see the location of the delivery truck. Only 28% were able to see the location of the delivery truck.
  • Consumers want frequent status updates. The majority (80%) want to receive updates on delivery status. 27% want updates as often as possible, even if that means several times a day, while 39% want daily updates.
  • Text is preferred. Consumers prefer text (70%) for communication and status updates, followed by email (50%) and phone (38%).

Sustainability is a priority

  • The environmental impact is important for consumers. One in two (49%) say that the environment and sustainability are determining factors in their purchasing decisions.
  • They would put more emphasis on sustainability if retailers made it easy. 71% said they would consider sustainability more if retailers made it easier to understand the environmental impact of different delivery options.

Demand remains high

  • Consumers expect to spend more this year. Half expect to buy more large and bulky items this year than last, including furniture (61%), appliances (45%) and other bulky items such as exercise equipment (40%).

The survey polled more than 1,600 US consumers last month.

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