How to gain competitive advantage by making delivery your USP

As the world went into lockdown last year and brick and mortar stores were forced to close, eCommerce orders skyrocketed. In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online and e-retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion US dollars worldwide{1}.

Cross border commerce is thriving too, with 54% of retailers reporting an increase in international orders during the past 12 months, and 45% of consumers saying they’ve bought from an overseas firm in the past year{ 2 }.

This rapid growth in online shopping has unsurprisingly led to a rise in stiff competition, with retailers having to adapt and innovate in order to stand out from the crowd. And with more consumers buying overseas, retailers are competing on a global scale – in some cases, for the first time ever.

So, with competition building and online orders growing, how can you create a USP that will elevate you above your rivals?

Could delivery doom derail the eCommerce boom?

While businesses might be capitalising on greater online order volumes, it seems that deliveries are proving problematic for many retailers. In our latest report, Fixing Failed Deliveries, we surveyed 3,000 consumers and 300 retail executives worldwide to uncover just how much of an issue faulty fulfilment is.

The results were concerning. A staggering 99% of eCommerce organisations admitted that deliveries sometimes go wrong. And nearly a quarter (24%) said more than 1 in 10 of their orders aren’t delivered to customers first time. These worrying statistics were echoed by consumers: 76% reported at least one late delivery in the past year, and only 22% of UK shoppers received all of their orders on time.

The cost of failed deliveries can quickly add up too. 68% of businesses state that failed or late delivery poses a significant cost to their operation. And in the UK alone, the average cost to a business per failed order is £11.60.

How to make delivery your USP

It’s not just the financial implications that retailers are having to face. Faulty fulfilment can wreak havoc on an organisation’s reputation, with 57% of consumers saying they would be reluctant to use a retailer again if a delivery was delayed or failed to arrive at all.

Consumer demand might be at an all-time high but letting down your customers through poor delivery is evidently all it takes to lose their favour for good. By making simple changes to your customer onboarding, you can improve delivery, boost your reputation, reduce costs, and put yourself ahead of your competitors who are struggling to fulfil their orders.

So, what’s the solution? And is improving your delivery as straightforward as we make it sound? Yes, here’s how…

Capture the right addresses

Of the 300 global retailers we spoke to, 71% said that inaccurate address data is the primary cause of failed delivery. And with human error combined with differences in international addressing, it’s easy to see how mistakes can happen.

Address verification software avoids these issues by capturing, parsing, standardising, verifying, cleansing and formatting global address data via one single easy-to-integrate API.

This type-ahead technology is popular with consumers, with 41% saying they abandon an order if they can’t easily enter their address. 70% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop online with brands who offer a simple order completion form. And 42% believe that retailers who offer an address autocomplete solution are more trustworthy than vendors who don’t.

Offer a one-tap solution

Nearly two-thirds of businesses (62%) believe address accuracy will become a bigger challenge as more people shop using their mobile phone. And consumers agree: 38% of smartphone users complain that ordering this way is harder than shopping via a computer, with 27% admitting to abandoning a purchase because they struggled to enter their delivery address.

When it comes to checkout forms, consumers want fast, smooth experiences so they can complete their order without friction. Geolocation is a great bolt-on to address capture, eliminating the need to type at all and allowing customers to enter their address in just one click of a button.

Keep your data squeaky clean

In addition to using an address verification tool, which captures accurate address data in real time, retailers should look to have their databases regularly maintained due to the rate of data decay.

Manually cleansing your own data can be hugely time-consuming and challenging so find a data supplier who offers a comprehensive data maintenance service.

It’s a good idea to use a partner who can clean, standardise and fill-in missing address elements, cross-reference your database against deceased and goneaway registers, and de-dupe your data to prevent embarrassing and costly mishaps.

We’ve seen that poor address data can directly lead to failed deliveries, which then results in re-delivery costs, disgruntled customers, loss of future revenue and negative brand sentiment. By implementing these simple tools, retailers can overcome these challenges and use accurate and efficient delivery as their point of difference.

Find out how Gymshark successfully decreased failed deliveries and improved user experience by adopting address verification.

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{2} Fixing Failed Deliveries – a Loqate report