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Is waiting really the worst thing about online?

September 2, 2011

(image credits: BBC)

I recently read this article from the Guardian about things about online shopping that annoy customers.

Apparently the main issue that customers have with online shopping is waiting in for deliveries.

Now, the survey said that 90% of people resent not being given a defined delivery slot.  That I can understand.

The thing that  confuses me is that this is being presented as a problem specific to online shopping.   In the case of things like food delivery it just might be.

But the other examples that are given in the article – electrical goods, furniture – really aren’t new problems.  In many cases these are the sorts of things that weren’t always available to take with you straight away from the high street, and needed to be ordered and delivered anyway.

That’s before you even start thinking about how the more traditional mail order companies have dealt with similar issues for the last 150 years.

So I wonder what has caused this dissatisfaction? Is it more to do with people being less patient? Or more people working (and therefore no one at home to wait in for parcels)? Or is it more that this is the only flaw that people can really think about for online shopping?

If this is now becoming an issue I wonder how companies will overcome it. Even if it is becoming an issue I’m not sure that it is actively dissuading people from shopping online.

The fashion retailers in particular have been working hard to overcome these issues – with things like the Collect+ service helping people who can’t wait in for things (although admittedly this would be harder for bigger and more bulky items).

Because if this is a big issue, there will be a way around it, and it would give a competitive advantage for the furniture / electrical goods retailer that thinks it up first…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2011 4:30 pm

    @indiaknight tweeted yesterday that she was v. impressed by Interlink Express because they give you a one hour delivery slot & the option to change it.

    More flexible, more predictable delivery slots feels like the way forward.

    It would, of course, generally help with online shopping if the stuff you actually ordered was the stuff delivered. A couple of months ago I ordered a folding wheelbarrow (not delivered by Interlink) and got sent a 6ft garden bench instead…

    • September 7, 2011 1:14 pm

      Ooooh, the flexibility there is a really good idea. You’d be able to leave the house without fear!

      Predictable might help, although does rely on the retailer actually getting the address right in the first place (the premium one I was ranting about a bit ago gave the delivery service the wrong address. It’s a bad sign when the ParcelForce Man has to ring me directly to check the postcode / house number….)

      The garden bench does sound lovely – although perhaps not so much help with moving things around… ;o)

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