Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Don’t let the last mile turn into a negative review

by Rory O’Connor, founder and CEO of Scurri

Last mile is called that for a reason – it is the part of the journey that retailers either do not or choose not to control because, with a few exceptions, they are not in the carrier business. While this makes sense in theory and reflects the status quo for more than 20 years, what can and does go wrong in that last mile often has negative consequences.

And, based on new research among 1,000 UK consumers commissioned by Scurri and IMRG reveals that those consequences are hitting sales, order management costs, creating a returns bubble and causing even loyal customers to go elsewhere. While customers were once more tolerant and lacked the social networks through which to complain, now they are not only more demanding but they can be very vocal when they are not happy.

Proof that this problem is getting worse comes in the finding that poor customer service prompts over half (53%) of consumers to leave a negative review. In addition, 64% are likely to leave a negative online review in case of delayed delivery or unsatisfactory response to a ‘where is my order’ (WISMO) query.

Moreover, 40% of shoppers leave a negative review in the hope it will prompt a retailer reaction, which of course it often does not because the reasons for the problem lies with the carrier not the retailer. 18% of respondents rated insufficient or little-to-no post-purchase communication as the most common reason they would leave negative reviews about their shopping experiences with a brand or retailer.

The research highlights the critical role of real-time post-purchase delivery information and customer communication in avoiding potentially damaging negative online reviews. The solution is for retailers to pre-empt delivery queries by building in regular and timely communication within the delivery experience to update shoppers on the status of their order.

As well as demanding fast delivery for receiving their online orders from retailers, customers now have similarly high expectations from retailers when it comes to resolving any delivery or WISMO issues; half (47%) of customers expect a resolution within 1-2 working days, with a further 32% expecting completion within 2-5 working days.

By owning and controlling the post-purchase delivery experience, retailers can enhance CX (customer experience) and avoid potentially revenue and loyalty damaging shopper feedback. However, it is important to give a warning here : customer reviews and social media feedback are a double-edged sword for retailers and brands; here is their chance to get closer to customers through excellent customer service, but the risk remains that negative reviews erode consumer confidence.

In practical terms, this means that retailers need visibility across the entire delivery experience and to be able to transparently and easily extract the data and insights needed to take action and stay one step ahead of a shoppers’ order and the delivery of it. Having control of this information empowers retailers to proactively deliver a best-in-class delivery experience, but more importantly, pre-empt and react to any issue in a timely manner to ensure customer confidence is upheld, from first click to last mile.

Retailers need software that enables them to take control of the post-purchase experience and turn it into a marketing opportunity by boosting loyalty with highly-customisable, own-branded tracking emails, which reduce WISMO queries and protect customer acquisition and retention.

A delivery management platform combined with post-purchase experience software gives retailers back control of the last mile experience. From ensuring the most suitable delivery option is presented, proactively identifying potential issues for quicker resolution, to improving the full customer experience with branded post-purchase tracking updates and personalised offers at high engagement points.  Leveraging innovative technology can improve the customer experience, boost loyalty, and deliver all-important revenue growth.

For more key takeaways around how taking control of the last mile delivery experience will build greater trust, increase customer loyalty, and deliver increased revenue opportunities download the full report: Last Mile Delivery What consumers want in 2023 and how retailers can take control.