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Need an item quickly? A quarter of Americans would skip home delivery

ParcelLab survey finds most people trust online shipping, but there is a segment that lacks faith in delivery networks

A new survey found that while 66% of Americans trust online shipping networks to deliver time-critical items, some still avoid e-commerce in times of need. (Photo: Shutterstock)

While nearly two-thirds (66%) of American adults trust their preferred brands or shippers for time-critical items, there is a lot of room for improvement for these brands.

According to a new parcelLab survey of 2,994 U.S. adults, 32% of respondents would be reluctant to order an item after a failed delivery or negative experience when ordering, and 29% would eschew an online order for home delivery for special occasions or when the item needs to arrive by a specific date or time.

Customers were also more reluctant to place an order for home delivery when it would be difficult to find a replacement item in person if the shipment was lost or didn’t arrive on time (28%), when the item was needed for a vacation or trip (26%) or when they were running low on an item and needed replacements (26%).

Overall, 25% of people said they do not trust that time-critical or items of high importance will arrive on time.

The report, “Mission Critical Deliveries Report,” included responses collected online by YouGov from June 27-30.

“While data shows that trust is high, when compared against consumers’ reluctancy nature, it begs the question if trust with brands is truly present,” the report noted.

“Time-critical and high-importance deliveries are often viewed as such because consumers are dependent on these items in one way or another,” said Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and CEO of parcelLab, a post-purchase technology company. “This means the stakes are higher to deliver an exceptional experience, as it’s clear even the smallest of hiccups could sway them to not even make the purchase.”

The survey found that 30% of consumers said that negative reviews or comments on a supplier’s delivery service would be a reason to not order a time-critical or item of high importance for home delivery. It also noted that 37% said they experienced an average of two to five late or lost deliveries of these items in the past three years. In the last two years, 27% have had these types of packages left at the wrong address, 30% left unprotected or in the rain and nearly 1 in 4 (24%) delivered in a damaged state. 

“Our goal will always be to inform retailers how to improve their customer journey by implementing tools and resources that will create key touch points for customers. This report showed that almost half of respondents would be encouraged to order these types of deliveries if there were real-time updates and order tracking via an app or website, showcasing the value associated with elevated customer communications,” said Buxhoidt.

It’s the carrier’s fault

Similar to past studies, respondents to parcelLab’s survey tended to blame the carrier for delivery troubles. Nearly half (48%) would place blame on the carrier and more than 1 in 4 (26%) would place the blame on the supplier or retailer from which the item was ordered. Even though the carrier would be the first place to assign blame, 48% of respondents said they would complain to the retailer’s customer service team, while just 39% said they would reach out to the carrier directly.

For packages that did not arrive on time or ended up being lost, 34% would choose to not order from the retailer or supplier again. Another 19% would actively tell friends and family not to order from the retailer or supplier, 27% would avoid the courier and 16% would write a negative review about the courier online.

In a bit of good news, though, 21% said they’d be more likely to order mission-critical items if they could choose which courier delivered the item. 

While some issues are outside both the brands’ and carriers’ control, they need to account for these issues nonetheless, said parcelLab. The survey found that 19% of people would avoid ordering medical supplies due to current shortages and 42% cited supply chain issues and 37% inflation and rising shipping costs as deterrents.

“While these factors are out of the control of retailers, suppliers and carriers, it’s important to account for current events and how that impacts the customer approach,” parcelLab said.

 Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]