Delivery failures common in e-commerce transactions, Descartes report shows

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Home deliveries are becoming evermore popular in the age of e-commerce, but a new report by Descartes Systems Group suggests many delivery companies are falling short in related Final Mile deliveries.

“In our study, consumers indicated they will increase their e-commerce purchases in the future, but 73% of them said they experienced a delivery failure in the last three months,” said Chris Jones, executive vice-president – industry and services. “The results of poor delivery performance can be catastrophic for retailers, with almost one-quarter of the respondents in our study citing that they did not order from that retailer again.”

e-commerce delivery experience measured
(Chart: Descartes Systems Group)

Descartes surveyed 8,000 consumers across Europe and North America for the findings published in Ecommerce: Is retailer fulfillment and delivery performance keeping up with sales growth?

The top delivery-related issue cited in the report included late deliveries (26%), followed by items arriving at a different time than expected (22%), and the length of time required to make a delivery (22%).

While 24% or respondents lost trust in a carrier because of an inadequate delivery, retailers are also paying a price. When the deliveries failed, 23% of those who were surveyed said they stopped ordering from the retailer, 21% lost trust in the business, and 16% shared the poor experience with friends and families.

Negative delivery factors cited by one in five respondents included the fact that deliveries are not environmentally friendly (20%), unreliable deliveries (19%), bad delivery experiences (19%), and delivery experiences that left them dissatisfied (16%).

But the report findings demonstrate the growing trend in e-commerce continues. Forty-eight percent of respondents say they plan more online purchases and deliveries in the future – up 2% from current levels and 13% above pre-pandemic totals.

When asked why they’ll have more online purchases delivered than prior to Covid-19, 34% said delivery processes have improved, and 20% cited reliable regular delivery drivers.

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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