A Business Technology Place

Three ideas to add more value to eCommerce delivery

Hiring Delivery Guy - February 7th, 2011The delivery page on for online retail stores arguably gets the most the attention of any page on the site. Studies show that this is one of the highest abandonment points for consumers as they go through the decision of whether or not to complete a purchase. The message for eCommerce operators is clear; delivery pricing matters!
Is there a way to get the mindset of the consumer away from a pure cost comparison for delivery charges? Marketers play that game with products and services as they aim to differentiate sell the value of their product or service.  So why can’t they do the same for delivery services?

Here are three ideas I thought about that cover point of sale through the communication after delivery:

Point of sale delivery dates
Rather than giving the customer an expected time frame for the various delivery options, why not give them an exact date? Look at this example:

Delivery options by time frame Delivery options by delivery date
  • Overnight (1 day)
  • Second day (2 days)
  • First class (3-5 business days)
  • Standard (5-8 business days)
  • Overnight (delivered on July 10)
  • Second day (delivered on July 11)
  • First class (delivered by July 16)
  • Standard (delivered by 19)

The idea is to factor in the time to manufacture the product, if necessary, or to pull it from inventory. Then add that time to the end range for the delivery service. In my example, the customer sees an expected delivery date at the tail end of the range of the delivery service. In most cases, they should receive their product before the date shown during checkout. That’s an easy way to exceed expectations.

Concealed packaging for sensitive or private products
For some products, it’s relevant to offer a delivery service that conceals the identity of the package. Things like financial documents, medications, and payment cards. One way to do this would be to make the outer wrap of the package generic or  void of markings that reveal the contents. Another way would be to add another outer wrap that not only hides the contents of the package but hides the shape of the contents (think bag).

Now certainly that adds cost to the packaging and the retailer would pass that cost along to the customer. That’s a tricky proposition, because added cost means more abandonments. So the idea for sensitive packaging is to make the service optional but explain the benefits to the customer. Alternatively if the extra packaging is required then explain to the customer the purpose of the concealed identity and why it’s required.

Delivery confirmation emails
It’s common place to send tracking code emails to customers when they choose a delivery service that offers tracking. Those are great and the customer can see their package hop from airplane to warehouse to truck to doorstep. But sometimes you may not be at home when the package is delivered. It happened to me just last week. I had a purchase delivered while I was away on vacation. I might not remember to check the tracking link but what if the retailer sent an email when the package was delivered? It’s a push service, company to consumer, rather than a pull service, consumer from company.

One provider offering delivery confirmation already is DHL. They can send the confirmation via email or SMS text. What’s required is that the retailer send the email or phone number to the delivery carrier as part of the purchase information.