Stefan de jong

Most retailers do their utmost to monitor their image and make the customer journey as smooth as possible. A lot of money is spent on branding and a lot of thought goes into in-store routing and the (online) customer experience.  Everything is done with the customer in mind...and high conversion, of course.

Some retailers even go a step further and think about how they can retain customers in the long term by focusing on the perfect unboxing experience, after concluding an online transaction for example. Attractive shipping packaging, a nice free gift with the order and a well thought-out marketing automation strategy should ensure that the consumer's heart skips a beat when they receive and open the package. And, of course, they will immediately pick up their smartphone to order again. After all, that's what all these efforts were aimed at: customer retention.

So much for the bullshit bingo. And the end of the nirvana of the perfect online ordering process. Because the fact is that in this whole chain there is a link over which retailers have no control. It's a link that, unfortunately, is often not as strong as the other links. And yes, as we all know, a chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

What am I referring to? The transport of the package from the retailer's warehouse to the consumer's home. And the moment when the package is received, of course. Both are usually handled by a third party - the delivery service and its delivery personnel.

In the best case, the package arrives on time, in perfect condition, and is delivered by an extremely friendly delivery man. Happy times. However, in all too many cases the package is slightly damaged, delivered too late (or too early) by a stressed delivery man who has parked his scruffy van sideways across the pavement.

And in the worst case, the package just doesn't arrive at all. The package may be delivered to a distribution centre 30 minutes' drive away, lost in a warehouse, stolen from a van or simply returned to the sender because the delivery man could not find the address. Or did not want to find it.

When delivery is not entirely perfect, there are also clear differences between the different delivery services.  In the Netherlands, as a consumer, you are best off with PostNL. With DHL, DPD or UPS you are already a bit worse off. And let's not even mention GLS. They are undoubtedly fine for companies, but not designed for the consumer.

I shop a lot online. An awful lot, in fact. So for me as a consumer, the quality of the delivery service is an important factor in my decision as to where I want to order a product online. I really don't feel like having to track down my package every time. And a quick look on Google shows that I'm not exactly the only one. 

A poor experience with a parcel service also reflects particularly badly on your own company. Bam! Gone is the money invested in customer experience and branding for that customer. 

There are companies that understand only too well how important the overall experience of ordering and delivery is, which is why and Coolblue have started their own delivery service. And then you can judge them on the total experience.

In this competitive market, it's wise for retailers to choose a parcel service not only on the basis of costs, but also on customer satisfaction.  After all, no retailer is waiting for the consumer to say to him “You are the weakest link, goodbye!”

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