Open Locker Network

E-Commerce Delivery Pain Points and How to Fix Them

Consumers want much more in terms of online delivery service, reliability, and sustainability, according to exclusive research from Parcel Pending by Quadient. From our research, we have discovered some challenges that retailers and carriers are experiencing in their existing e-commerce operations, as well as identify the solutions to alleviate these ecommerce delivery challenges.

Below, we look at some of our findings and key insights to help retailers and carriers create more effective and seamless ecommerce delivery and returns strategies.

What makes a poor e-commerce delivery service?

Home e-commerce delivery poses increasing challenges across the supply chain as ecommerce shipping cost and the volume of parcelscontinue to grow. The ideal scenario would be for e-commerce shipping options, namely home deliveries, to be secure and successful on the first attempt. However, last mile delivery situations arise when recipients are not at home or when issues occur during the delivery process. For carriers and other fulfillment companies, the increased volume of packages creates pressure to succeed on the initial delivery attempt to avoid making multiple trips. Some local carriers are only compensated for successful deliveries, so it can be frustrating when recipients are unavailable. As a result, more packages are left in seemingly “safe” places, which often aren’t secure at all.

Consumers want to receive their packages quickly and securely but don’t often have a choice over which carrier or fulfillment company delivers their package – that choice is usually reserved to the retailer or other ecommerce business. Receiving a photo of your parcel ‘successfully delivered’ to a doorstep can also evoke worry in consumers concerned they will arrive home to find their parcel missing. In fact, 35 percent of consumers are more worried about parcel theft now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and their fears are not in vain. According to a survey conducted by Safewise, 260 million delivered packages were stolen in 2022, 50 million more than 2021.

Returns are a critical piece of the customer experience

In addition to a poor delivery experience, returns can also affect customers’ view of a retailer, carrier, or ecommerce business. Because increased deliveries are also interlinked with rising returns, ensuring multiple ecommerce shipping options for how to receive an order or make a return is imperative. In fact, our research shows that 45% of consumers think Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store (BOPIS) can be too frustrating to use regularly, with close to 57% noting that buying products online and then having to return them is an unsatisfying experience. This further proves that one-size-fits-all approach e-commerce shipping options are not always the best response.

To combat increasing returns, retailers like H&M, JCPenney, and Kohl’s are now charging for online returns in an attempt to reduce the operational costs of reverse logistics. However, this retail trend is having a remarkable impact on consumers’ willingness to click the purchase button, with 44% saying that they are less willing to shop online due to returns charges.

An all-in-one solution to offer more choice for increased deliveries and returns

Parcel Pending by Quadient’s Drop Box Lockers can solve many of the first and last mile delivery pain points around increased shipping cost for deliveries and returns while also driving other business benefits to retailers. Drop Box is an all-in-one smart locker solution designed to automate the pick-up and return counter, enabling customers to use a self-serve option that provides the ability to print returns labels on-site while also giving the retailer and carrier full transparency of where the product is on the reverse logistics journey. Consumers don’t have to wait in long lines in the store to return items and can instead build the returns process into their daily commute or alongside other errands. The returns process poses a distinct challenge in modern retail, and this solution creates a seamless opportunity to enhance this issue.

In addition, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s Open Locker Network – comprising lockers inside stores, outside shops, or in convenient community locations – centralizes returns and online order collections to convenient and secure locations. Going down this route can reduce parcel management costs for retailers, streamline deliveries for carriers, and make the e-commerce delivery experience easier and safer for customers – diminishing the chances for packages to be stolen.

Green thinking

Increasingly, consumers are also considering the impact on the planet as e-commerce delivery grows. Nearly half of the respondents in our survey (47%) express concerns about the sustainability of current parcel-sending and receiving methods, fearing a potential escalation in both deteriorating services and rising costs. Additionally, 42% say the number of delivery vehicles in their neighborhoods each day is making it less pleasant and safe. This is especially high for 18 to 34-year-olds (61%), suggesting tomorrow’s core shopper generation wants a cleaner future for online delivery.

With Parcel Pending by Quadient’s Open Locker Network, our centralized hubs for online delivery can help cut down the number of vehicles needed on the roads, reducing residential street noise and exhaust pollution. As communities map out plans to become cleaner and greener, parcel lockers can play an important part in that process.

Making changes today for a stronger tomorrow

Amidst these challenging economic circumstances, retailers and carriers aiming to sustain customer loyalty should actively consider all available avenues to mitigate obstacles and challenges. Shoppers aren’t happy with online delivery as it stands, but there are innovative solutions available to improve these challenges and create a more sustainable and modern future for businesses and consumers.