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Delivery details and the different options available can be a deal-breaker for online retailers. Free delivery offers are now quite common, but very few seem to offer delivery on a specified date.

Offering to deliver items on a particular days can be a compelling prospect for customers, who may be impatient to get hold of their purchases, or who have work commitments and need a definite date.

I've been looking at some UK e-commerce websites to see if they offer this service, and how it is communicated to shoppers...

If communicated clearly for shoppers, then the offer to deliver items the next day, or on a designated date at the customer's convenience can be a persuasive sales tool.

Some retailers are doing this well, but others are either not offering such an option, or are failing to use it effectively to lure customers in.

Here are a few examples from some UK e-tailers...

Argos merely offers home delivery within two days, which is not too long to wait, but no good if you need to know exactly when your order will arrive, although the retailer does offer a collect in store option as an alternative.

Argod delivery options

Play.com promises to 'usually' deliver items a bit sooner, but still fails to offer a designated delivery date. For most CDs, games and DVDs, this is fine since they can be delivered through letterboxes, but not so for larger items.

Next has a next day delivery service, which is great, but it doesn't make it too easy to find. It can be a persuasive sales tool for some shoppers if promoted prominently on product pages, but the details here are buried within the links at the foot of the page.

Established customers may already know this, but new customers may will miss the offer, so Next may be missing a trick here:

Next delivery options

Tesco offers a next day delivery option if you order before 1pm, which is excellent, but it doesn't do enough to communicate the offer to customers. Unless they seek out the delivery options tab on the product page, they won't necessarily see it:

Tesco delivery options

M&S offers customers a nominated day for delivery, which is very useful for customers that have work and other commitments, and even provides this free for orders above a certain value.

However, it complicates the offer by asking customers to enter a promotional code in the checkout, rather than simply adding the delivery discount automatically:

M&S delivery options

Naked Wines provides an excellent example. It makes a big deal of the delivery options, which makes it clear at the top of each page when you can expect to receive your case of wine, if you order before a certain time.

The offer of receiving your order quickly is compelling enough, especially as some other wine sites don't offer such fast delivery, but the effect of the clock counting down also creates a sense of urgency in the customer's mind, and can prove to be very persuasive. It's worked on me before...

Naked Wines delivery offer

B&Q has a next day delivery site, and also communicates the offer well on the main site, providing users the option of next day delivery for the products that qualify:

Amazon provides a great example of how it should be done, and I've bought plenty of things from the site before, thanks to the temptation of getting them earlier, even if items and delivery charges may have been cheaper elsewhere.

Amazon also offers free delivery, but I imagine the temptation of getting products sooner is enough to tempt many customers to pay extra for the express option.

The key here is to communicate the offer clearly on the product pages, as well as during the checkout process, making it an effective sales driver:

Graham Charlton

Published 17 August, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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emma

great post

almost 6 years ago

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