Survey: As e-commerce grows, so do delivery problems

Failed deliveries are a near-universal issue for e-commerce retailers, and customers aren’t happy.

According to results of "Fixing Failed Deliveries 2021: Stamping Out Faulty Fulfillment," a new study of global retailers and consumers from location data technology provider Loqate, 99% of retail respondents admitted to failed deliveries across some portion of their online orders. Another 24% said more than one in 10 orders aren't delivered on the first attempt. 

Overall, Loqate found 8% of domestic first-time deliveries fail, costing retailers an average of $17.20 per order, or $197,730 per year. These failures are occurring as e-commerce volume grows to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 69% of retailers reporting an increase in average online order values and 54% reporting rising numbers of international orders.

Close to half (47%) of retail respondents rate the accuracy of physical address data as "critical" for first-time delivery, yet 74% cited bad address data as the cause of up to a quarter of their deliveries failing, and one-third either don't verify address data or leave it up to the courier. When addresses are inaccurate or incomplete, the study finds that 41%of deliveries are delayed, and 39% simply fail. 

Looking at shopper response to delivery issues, the survey reveals 41% of consumer respondents place the blame for late deliveries on retailers. One in 10 will post a negative review on social media, with nearly all consumer respondents (93%) saying they read reviews before making a purchase. Just three negative reviews were reported to drive away nearly six in 10 potential customers.

The survey also examined mobile commerce trends, finding 46% of consumer respondents are doing more shopping via mobile phones than they did 12 months ago. However, 38% complain that ordering from a mobile device is more difficult, particularly when entering information. Of the respondents who used a smartphone to shop online, 27% abandoned a purchase during the past three months because they struggled to enter their address or got fed up with the checkout process.

The Fixing Failed Deliveries 2021 research was commissioned by Loqate and conducted in December 2020 by Censuswide. The study captures the perspective of 304 retail executives and 3,040 consumers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany. 

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