With the Royal Mail strike going ahead today and tomorrow, there will naturally be some doubt in customers' minds over whether their online purchases will arrive on time, or at all.

Those online retailers that have made alternative arrangements for deliveries, or who don't rely on Royal Mail anyway, can do a lot to reassure customers with some timely messaging on their websites. So how are etailers communicating this information to visitors?

I think the key here is, if you're deliveries will be unaffected by the strike, to let customers know about this as clearly as possible to offer reassurance

Having looked at some well known online retailers, most have put messages on their homepages to make it clear that it is business as usual, though HMV and Play.com are two that haven't done this.

As for the rest, I think a clear message, above the fold, that is easily spotted, should do much to ease customer concerns about placing orders.

Here are some examples:

John Lewis

Above the fold, but could stand out more...


M&S has placed the message where its free delivery offer normally is, which makes sense. It also links to a page which makes it very clear that everything is alright:

Tesco Direct

The information is there on the Tesco Direct site, but it could be made clearer:


A thick red band on the homepage reassures visitors that their orders will arrive as usual. It stands out from the rest of the page and communicates this information effectively: 


Webtogs has made alternative arrangements to deal with the threat of strike, probably at some cost to its bottom line, so it makes sense to make this clear to customers.

The information is there, right at the top of the homepage, where the free delivery offer is normally displayed:


With a clear message right in the middle of its homepage, Amazon customers will be in no doubt about deliveries:

Graham Charlton

Published 22 October, 2009 by Graham Charlton

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

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Comments (3)



On a random note I know someone who ordered from Craghoppers and they were good enough to reassure him that his package was safe with Royal Mail..don't think they understood his worries there

over 8 years ago


James Balmain

Great to see a mention, thanks guys & gals. We've actually added a banner to the centre of the home page to re-enforce our message. Like a lot of retailers we're concerned as to how long the strikes will last. We rely massively on royal mail 1st class (packet post) for the bulk of our deliveries, so it's a stress we could all do without in the run up to Christmas.

The home page is an obvious place to communicate these kind of issues, but we get a significant amount of traffic to mid level and product pages, so it's important to us to reassure our customers on every page.

Our current strategy is to switch ALL orders under £100 to Royal Mail tracked if the strikes continue past next week. Currently we're sending all orders over £50 by courier, but as the article correctly points out, it's at our expense, and it's likely to run into the thousands for us. Orders over £100 go by courier anyway.

Some numbers for you; every packet post 1st class consignment costs us about £1.80, this compared to £4.77 for Parcel Force, so the cost impact is all too clear. Obviously larger retailers get better break pricing than us, but i would imagine the increase is significant for all. Our average order values are way beyond £50 currently, so we're hoping not too many customers will be affected.

over 8 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi James, Thanks for the comments, you make a very good point about communicating the message on product pages and elsewhere on the site.

over 8 years ago

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