Almost one in 10 people have been put off online shopping this year because of previous problems with delivery.
According to a new survey of consumers by online address validation specialist Postcode Anywhere, 27% of all those polled had encountered a problem with online Christmas deliveries in the past, and 9% had been discouraged from making online festive purchases this year because of previous difficulties.
However, over half of respondents had never experienced a problem, which 30% of respondents attributed to placing orders early.
Postcode Anywhere’s sales and marketing director, Phil Rothwell, said: “The Christmas rush is a double-edged sword for any online business. For many it’s the most important time of the year – get it right and you can significantly improve sales. Get it wrong, and your reputation can end up going down the toilet.
“It’s easy to focus on driving website traffic and forget that it’s still paramount to deliver the products quickly, economically and accurately.
“People may be more comfortable now than they have ever been with the idea of ordering online. But what this study shows is that retailers can’t take anything for granted – bad experiences can cause opinions and behaviours to change.”
He said it was important for ecommerce owners to promise only what they could realistically deliver.
“That means keeping right on top of stock levels, and ensuring the customer-facing website reflects what’s happening in the warehouse or stockroom. It also demands some knowledge of what’s going on at the end of the fulfilment chain. If you know you’re not going to be able to make 100 deliveries in a day then don’t advertise that you can,” he stressed.
“As well as limiting expectations, online businesses need to work harder. Providing consumers with timed delivery slots, for instance, is just one of many ways retailers can help avoid these hassles.”