by Val Walker

With home shopping at its highest ever level in the UK, multichannel retailers who differentiate themselves from their competitors by delivering a first-class customer experience will be well placed to build brand equity and retain and grow their customer base in spite of the deepening economic downturn.

As we have seen in recent years, the growth in home shopping continues to be driven by the online channel, which is now estimated to be worth £30.4 billion. Online spend is increasing too, reflecting a higher number of users and a higher average spend. But the average online shopper buys from about only eight web sites – meaning that competition for their custom is fierce.

Key to improving online conversion rates is delivery. Our study of 1,500 online shoppers for our Delivery Matters research in June this year revealed that 95 per cent of online shoppers said they have at some point abandoned their shopping basket, and two thirds said that this has been caused by frustration with delivery information – or lack of it.

Delivery transparency and timely communication is essential. Many consumers say they would be more likely to return to shop at a retailer if they are happy with the delivery of their goods.

A poor delivery experience can be a barrier to using a web site in the future and this in turn helps to spread bad word of mouth about your e-tail business. Conversely, getting it right means that customers are more likely
to repurchase.

A good end-to-end delivery service confirms your brand’s promise and helps retain customers. Failure to do so could lose you more customers than you realise.


Val Walker is head of multichannel retail, Royal Mail