Shoppers won’t give retailers second chance on wrong delivery, survey finds


A quarter of UK adults would be unlikely to give a retailer a second chance if they receive an incorrect or damaged product, an online survey for leading logistics service provider, Norbert Dentressangle has revealed.

YouGov’s online survey of 2,107 UK adults who shop on-line found 25% would be unlikely to buy from a retailer again if their order was incorrectly fulfilled, rising to 28% if they received a damaged item.

The survey also explored the importance of late ordering cut-off times for next day deliveries, whether other people’s feedback about retailers influenced respondents’ on-line purchasing decisions and the tendency of shoppers to take more care in selecting which retailers they used if they are purchasing gifts or products for certain groups. 

Respondents were somewhat ambivalent on the matter of late-ordering cut-off times, with just 6% strongly agreeing these were important and 38% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. 

However, the importance of other people’s feedback was in no doubt, with a decisive 69% agreeingthis influenced their on-line purchasing decisions, rising to 80% for those using Twitter regularly.

Respondents were also asked to provide details of their worst on-line shopping experience, which ranged from wrong, damaged, faulty and incorrect goods, non-receipt of goods, difficulties in obtaining refunds, poor packaging, communications and customer service and problems with returns. 

In many cases, respondents indicated they had bought items which showed as available on a retailer’s web site and had had the money taken from their accounts, only to be informed – in some cases several weeks later – the product was actually out of stock.

In a couple of cases, respondents reported deliveries being left in recycling bins which were then emptied before they had chance to recover the items. One respondent had ordered an item as a gift and paid for it to be gift-wrapped, only discovering that it was the wrong item when the recipient opened it, whilst another had ordered a cardigan and received a Toblerone.

On a more positive note, around 40% of those who made a comment did not have any issues, with one respondent commenting: “I’ve never had a poor online shopping experience – all have been brilliantly done.”

Mark Catley, head of e-commerce development at Norbert Dentressangle, said: “Whilst the worst experiences of the respondents were many and varied, the survey revealed, in at least 25% of cases, a bad experiences is likely to deter that customer from purchasing from the same retailer again.

“By removing the need for the customer to ever visit a store, on-line retailing reduces the number of physical customer touch points and, with this, the opportunity for brands to engage with their customers, thereby securing the emotional involvement and commitment which underpins customer loyalty.

“Whilst the actual delivery of an on-line purchase represents an important part of the customer experience, that experience continues into the customer’s home, where a retailer has a final, critical opportunity to either delight or disappoint. Achieving the former relies on the correct product being delivered in the correct type and amount of packaging, in good condition, with a quick, easy and preferably (for the consumer) free way of returning the product if required – all giving a positive impression of the retailer’s brand. If it is not, that retailer does not have the same opportunity to ‘make right’ at the back of store, at front of store, via a sales assistant or with an ‘instant’ replacement product as they would in-store, increasing the risk of permanently forfeiting that customer’s business.”