Over the past few years, the ecommerce marketplace has exploded in popularity, witnessing a record growth rate of over 17% in 2021 alone, with projections suggesting a further 56% expansion to $8.1 trillion in global annual sales by 2026. Undoubtedly accelerated by the global pandemic and associated stay-at-home restrictions, consumers who once relied exclusively on in-store shopping have grown more comfortable filling virtual carts instead of physical ones.
As consumers of all varieties continue to flock to online shopping in record numbers, providing convenience and reliability to consumers via scheduled delivery has also gained increased importance. This article will outline the meaning and importance of a scheduled delivery, identify the factors that impact their accuracy, and provide tips on how to maximize customer satisfaction and brand loyalty when providing scheduled delivery options to your own customers.
On the surface, the concept of a scheduled delivery is straightforward: a merchant or shipper’s best guess as to when a customer’s order will arrive. Depending on the type of delivery or carrier used, a delivery may be scheduled anywhere from a particular week or date, down to a specific range of hours for maximum convenience.
Scheduled deliveries provide benefits to merchants and consumers alike: increasing predictability and convenience via scheduled deliveries allows for better planning and coordination of resources, ensures that goods are delivered when they’re needed or expected, and helps reduce the likelihood of missed deliveries or logistical issues.
Offering scheduled delivery times can also influence or sway purchasing decisions - consumers with a deadline, for example, are better equipped to make an informed decision about whether or not their order will arrive on time. Offering scheduled delivery also alerts potential customers of any deadline for placing an order to ensure delivery on a specific date, further easing burdens for merchants with longer order preparation lead times.
In a 2021 Global Consumer Insights Survey conducted by PwC, nearly half of online shoppers (46%) ranked reliability, or a merchant delivering what the consumer expects, as one of the top factors influencing their likelihood of remaining loyal to a brand. A further 41% of respondents identified fast and reliable delivery, including same-day delivery and visibility for their order throughout the delivery process, as one of their top decision-making factors when shopping online.
There are no guarantees in the shipping industry, whether a delivery is scheduled or not. A scheduled delivery date, according to UPS, is an estimate of when a package will arrive at its destination based on current data. Unexpected changes to your customer’s delivery date may occur depending on the packaged item, its movement through the logistics network, and the accuracy of its tracking information. When selecting external shipping services, keep in mind that each scheduled delivery date is contingent on the following factors:
Scheduled deliveries can provide merchants with numerous opportunities to exceed customers’ expectations throughout the ordering and delivery process. When offering scheduled deliveries to your customers, focus on what modern ecommerce consumers have come to expect - convenience, reliability, and communication:
In a 2021 analysis of online shopping behaviour, MIT researchers concluded that online shoppers are willing to wait 10.8 hours longer for a delivery if the scheduled delivery time window is one hour shorter, and will wait an additional 7.5 hours longer if the delivery can be received on their preferred day of the week. Offering a flexible range of delivery times that suit the schedules of shoppers maximizes convenience for the consumer, while also giving merchants adequate lead time to plan optimized routes and increase their own efficiency.
Meeting scheduled delivery targets presents merchants with opportunities to convert one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers. 29% of online shoppers indicated they would discontinue shopping with a retailer altogether if their delivery is incorrect only once, underscoring the importance of consistently meeting scheduled delivery targets.
According to a recent study, 93 percent of online shoppers want regular updates on their delivery status, and 98 percent believe that regular delivery notifications are a key factor in brand loyalty. Communicating information about a customer’s delivery status by way of tracking links and delivery event notifications ensures consumers are kept up-to-date throughout the delivery process. Proactively communicating scheduled delivery targets with customers - along with any unforeseen delays - can further save merchants time and money by reducing or eliminating customer calls inquiring about their order status.
Ready to revolutionize your scheduled delivery workflows and enhance customer satisfaction? Look no further than EasyRoutes. With our powerful route optimization, real-time delivery tracking, and seamlessly integrated customer communication features, you can ensure that your scheduled deliveries are not only accurate but also convenient and reliable. Join thousands of successful Shopify merchants and prioritize punctual deliveries - and satisfied customers - with EasyRoutes today. EasyRoutes can be installed from the Shopify App Store, offering a 14-day free trial to test out all its features and functionality with your new and existing Shopify orders. Happy (scheduled) delivering!