UK’s brands fail to improve on post-purchase experience

New findings have revealed that – for the second year running – brands are failing to meet consumer expectations between checkout and delivery, and generally still providing a subpar online shopping experience post-purchase.

This is despite the year prior, 2021, presenting some of the most challenging circumstances retailers have faced – with COVID supply chain issues and Brexit.

The study conducted by parcelLab – the global leader in Operations Experience Management – found that 79% of retailers fail to communicate after dispatch, creating a blackhole moment between order and delivery. parcelLab placed orders with the UK’s 200 leading e-commerce brands. The orders were then analysed based on their checkout, shipping and returns processes.

The report uncovered that once the customer made a purchase online, the overwhelming majority of retailers fail to keep their customers informed on the status of their order, instead relying on the carrier to communicate with the customer. In fact, just 10% of the UK’s top retailers communicated directly with their customer during shipping, with 11% of retailers communicating alongside the carrier.

Nearly four in five retailers either provided no communication at all or relied exclusively on the carrier to update their customer. It is widely acknowledged that post-purchase communications represent an opportunity that has typically high levels of engagement with customers – these emails often have open rates upwards of 80%, compared with the 20% usually seen with marketing contact.

While the majority of orders were delivered on time, 10% were still delayed. However, when delays did occur, brands were still unwilling to communicate this to their customers leaving them in the dark about the status of their order. 70% of the delayed orders did not inform the customer that there was a delay to their order, leaving them with no way of knowing what had happened to their parcel.

In a difficult trading environment, and with the logistical vortex of challenges retailers have recently faced, it is vital that brands put maximum effort into providing their customer with a first-class, memorable shopping experience. This report highlights the widespread shortcomings of retailers, and it remains clear retailers must do more to provide a memorable experience to encourage brand loyalty.

Katharine Biggs, Head of Marketing Communications – EMA at parcelLab, commented: “The state of Operations Experience Management report highlights the little progress that has been achieved among the UK’s leading e-commerce brands within the last year. We were surprised, amid the challenges faced by online retailers, that more has not been done to negate these issues and to manage consumer expectations through providing a transparent and efficient online shopping experience.

There is a huge opportunity for brands to leverage every touchpoint and maximise direct engagement with their customers. The brands that do this will differentiate themselves from the highly competitive market and will be remembered for it. E-commerce must react and place the customer at the heart of everything they do, providing timely, clear, and proactive communications to their customers.”

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