How a Poor Delivery Experience Impacts Retailers


Logistics innovations

A customer’s delivery experience is an integral part of the retail experience. Yet, according to SAPIO Research, only 34% of customers said deliveries have improved.  More surprisingly, a whooping 73% have experienced a delivery failure within the last three months. As a result, offering delivery is no longer a competitive advantage. Instead, it will be retailers who offer the consistently best delivery experience who will win out.

Today’s Delivery Landscape

The retail industry is constantly evolving, with new challenges and opportunities. For example, with the rise of online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers now compete with online companies as well as other traditional outlets.

Online shoppers have become more demanding and expect more from their retailers. Businesses who stretch to meet the ever-changing expectations can find themselves missing the mark, leading to a poor delivery experience if not handled correctly. This becomes a classic of not doing something well being worse than not doing it all.

Case in point, 13% of consumers would never order from a retailer again if their first experience resulted in a late delivery. Unfortunately, this means that many retailers will never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Therefore, retailers must invest in the most reliable delivery options and find ways to serve their customers when standard delivery would be ineffective and result in missed, lost, or stolen deliveries.

Poor Delivery, Negative Outcomes

Poor delivery can harm a retailer’s customer base. Unfortunately, many retailers make the mistake of assuming delivery speed is the most critical factor in getting products delivered. As it turns out, this is not the case.

While customers certainly love the concept of next-day and same-day delivery, speed only accounts for about a quarter of the delivery puzzle. SAPIO research further gleaned the following from dissatisfied consumers:

  • 26% – Delivery arrived later than expected
  • 22% – Delivery arrived at a different time than expected
  • 20% – Package was damaged upon delivery
  • 18% – Package was left in an insecure location
  • 16% – Delivery didn’t arrive at all

The above figures were compiled over three months when it was also concluded that only 27% of consumers didn’t have any negative experience with a delivery. The room for improvement is cavernous.

Good delivery makes customers happy and improves their perception of the retailer they are buying from. Customers who receive an undamaged package, on time, with all of the correct items will more than likely be satisfied with their purchase. Like most of us, consumers want retailers to keep their promises regarding delivery.

Consumer Delivery Sensitivity

The customer’s experience directly reflects the company and its service commitment. Customers are more sensitive to delivery problems because they want to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. Unless you sell your own branded product, the consumer’s only basis for feeling comfortable with online transactions is limited to your website and the delivery process. Without the in-store experience, much of the customer’s journey is beyond the eyes of management.

Branded products carry an edge over retailers selling third-party products. Loyalty to your brand may overcome deficiencies in the delivery process. But only for so long. Younger generations are more sensitive to delivery miscues than older generations. More than 80% of millennials and Gen Z responded they would think twice about buying again from a retailer after just one poor delivery experience.

Desired Technologies

In the same study of younger generations, surveyors asked what technologies consumers felt would provide desired control and visibility over their deliveries. Three tech advances came to the fore, including autonomous delivery, GPS tracking, and centrally located lockers. The latter technology, centrally located lockers, presents unique capabilities not possible with GPS and autonomous drones and vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles can deliver more packages in less time. While GPS tracking provides customers with real-time insight into where their package is at any given moment. But they both lack the control next-generation consumers are seeking. On the other hand, Smart Lockers located conveniently for the consumer afford customers all the characteristics desired in a delivery solution.

Smart Locker solutions provide:

  • Security – Packages are safe from the elements and theft.
  • Visibility – Automatically sent SMS and emails alert you when a delivery is completed.
  • Convenience – Customers can collect their delivery on their own schedule.
  • Optionality – Packages can be directed to any Smart Locker within a network.
  • Returns – For select retailers, labelless returns can be made at Smart Lockers.

Centralized Smart Lockers are not a new phenomenon. Countries such as Poland and the U.K. have deployed thousands of systems to serve millions of customers. Now it is North America’s turn, with the first large-scale metro networks expected to be rolled out in 2023. Consumers, especially young generations, will finally see delivery solutions built with them in mind. 

To learn more about how your organization can maximize Smart Lockers to reduce cost, increase revenue, augment your brand, and delight your customers, contact the ParcelPort team online by visiting, email at or calling 1-800-818-0870.