This article is provided by BRC Associate Member nShift.


Deliveries are the weak point in the ecommerce customer experience. Fix the sources of the most common frustrations, and deliveries can become a loyalty and sales driver, says Johan Hellman, Vice President, Product & Carrier at nShift

“The customer is always right” is a time-honoured retailer’s maxim. It still holds true today – only customers are far more unforgiving.

Our always-on, instant access culture – increasingly driven by online retail –ensures that customers will complain faster than ever before and do so to more people. Next-day delivery is the baseline now, while customer care and service doesn’t stop at the checkout.

In fact, the customer’s experience after they’ve clicked “buy” will determine whether they buy again in future, or take their custom elsewhere.

Research has found most customers will abandon a retailer after just two issues, and they won’t come back.  Unfortunately, deliveries are a hotbed of challenges.  According to a recent study from Citizens Advice, one in three UK consumers had a problem with parcel deliveries in the past year.

That means choice, flexibility, and communication around deliveries and returns aren’t nice-to-haves – they’re vital for customer retention.  Get them right, and the business will grow.

Disgruntled customers make a great source of learning, so here we’ve listed five of the most common customer complaints to retailer and explore how they could be addressed.

1.   “My delivery is late”

Shoppers will forgive the occasional delay so long as updates are clearly communicated. This requires good ecommerce delivery tracking, including in the last mile.  It’s important to send updates directly to the social channels that people use every day, rather than expecting shoppers to check an email or webpage.  Ensuring that these updates reflect the look and feel of the retailer, creates another opportunity to build the brand.

2.   “My package turned up when I wasn’t there”

Waiting in all day for a delivery that doesn’t come is a common complaint.  Many retailers send last-mile delivery updates via email, which often include the option of changing their delivery option. But gone are the days when people lived their digital life through their inbox.

Retailers should offer a wide range of delivery options, including click and collect and pick-up / drop-off (PUDO) sites.  They should also have the ability to communicate with customers about their deliveries via their chosen digital channel – like WhatsApp, SMS, or Messenger.

3. “My parcel was damaged when it arrived”

An incorrect or damaged product will not only result in complaints and damage your reputation, it could also mean costly exchanges, refunds, or even compensation.

Retailers can get ahead of mis-picked goods before they leave the warehouse, with the right delivery management system that clearly links orders with customers and delivery addresses.

But, mistakes do happen.  In those cases customers will want to return defective – or simply no longer wanted – items for speedy exchange or refund. 

4. “Your delivery options don’t suit me”

Around half of online shopping baskets are abandoned due to a lack of delivery options.  Getting this wrong can be a silent killer for the business.

There are four key considerations customers weigh when thinking about deliveries: speed, cost, convenience, and sustainability.  They might want to pay a premium to get their packages faster, or have them delivered via a low-emissions carrier, or they may opt for a lower-cost or free option which might take longer. 

Badging options so customers can clearly tell them apart, and choose what’s most important to them, doesn’t just provide reassurance.  It can help encourage customers to go for premium delivery options, ensuring higher profit margins.

5.   “Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?”

Shoppers want a tailored experience, driven by constant information flows and updates.  For online retailers, WISMO (where is my order?) enquiries are the clearest expression of the frustration customers feel when they don’t have the information they need to hand.

It means communication at every stage of the delivery process is crucial. It needs to happen via their chosen channels.  Get it right, and customer service teams are generally first to know – a strong tracking experience can reduce WISMO calls by as much as 60 percent.

What’s more, post-purchase customer communications can be powerful remarketing tools.  The propensity to make a repeat purchase is around 50 percent higher when customers are awaiting their deliveries.

nShift’s delivery management suite connects retailers to a library of over 1000 ready-made carrier connections.  It enables them to create a compelling post-purchase experience which increases conversions and loyalty. 

Learn more about how nShift can deliver ecommerce success at: