Nearly 40% of UK Retailers Fail to Meet Delivery Times – New Report Finds

A worrying 50% take more than 5 minutes to respond to customer calls

A new study, carried out by post-purchase customer experience provider parcelLab and e-commerce customer care and fulfilment specialist Salesupply, highlights significant gaps in delivery reliability, tracking transparency and customer service automation for major UK retailers, as well as disappointing shipping fees.

“The findings of this report highlight significant areas where UK retailers must focus their efforts”

The UK’s Top 100 Retailers’ Post-Purchase Secrets Report 2024 reveals critical areas where retailers need to improve to enhance customer satisfaction and retention, with a particular emphasis on customer communications and delivery processes.

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The report found that half (50%) of retailers fail to provide crucial information about delivery times on their product detail pages, such as clear communication about delivery times, which affects consumer purchasing decisions and satisfaction.

“The findings of this report highlight significant areas where UK retailers must focus their efforts,” said Tobi Buxhoidt, CEO at parcelLab. “Nearly 40% of retailers fail to meet their advertised delivery times, indicating a gap between customer expectations and actual service delivery. Reliable delivery is a critical factor in customer satisfaction and retention, and the report reveals that a significant number of retailers are not achieving this. This is a stark reminder that timely and reliable delivery is not just a logistical necessity but the foundation of customer satisfaction and retention.”

Although more than half (55%) of retailers link their tracking directly to the carrier, which improves transparency and trust with customers, nearly half are missing an opportunity to enhance customer experience through better tracking visibility.

The report also found that nearly 20% of retailers always charge for delivery, which could affect their competitiveness and customer perception of value. Over 80% of retailers provide express delivery, averaging £6.93, with industries like health, cosmetics and jewellery imposing the lowest surcharges. Express delivery options can attract customers who need their purchases quickly and are willing to pay for expedited shipping.

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Customer Service improved by automation

Two-thirds (66%) of online retailers now use chatbots to manage customer queries, reflecting an industry shift towards automation to enhance efficiency and manage customer interactions at scale. This adoption of automation highlights the need for retailers to balance efficiency with personalised customer service.

A worrying 50% of online shops take more than five minutes to respond to customer calls, suggesting a need for more efficient customer service processes.

Only 14% of retailers have call centres available evenings and weekends, missing potential customer engagement opportunities. Ensuring customer service availability during these times can enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

Despite efficient customer service response times being essential for maintaining customer loyalty, half of the retailers surveyed took over five minutes to answer phone calls, with the average being 8:23 minutes. WhatsApp is potentially an effective communication channel; however, the average time to answer customer questions via the platform was 15 minutes. Email enquiries to customer service were answered after an average of 12 minutes, and on social media, people waited an average of 10 minutes for a response. Jonathon Huggett – Senior Business Developer at Salesupply, added: “These findings should serve as a call to action for UK retailers to critically assess and improve their customer service to deliver the exceptional service that today’s customers expect and deserve.”

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CEO at parcelLabCustomer Service Automationdelivery reliabilitye-commerce customer careNewsparcelLabpost-purchase customer experience providerSalesupplyTobi Buxhoidttracking transparencyUK Retailers