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Kiddicare was the winner of the Snow Valley's recent Golden Chariot award for online retail delivery excellence. 

So what has Kiddicare been doing right with its delivery policies and processes? 

I'll look at this, as well as some highlights from Snow Valley's 2012 Online Retail Delivery report...

What does Kiddicare get right? 

Information is clear on product pages. Its next day and one hour delivery slots are promoted, while there are clear links to delivery details. 

In addition, the delivery countdown timer is a great addition.

Many people will take as long as they possibly can to make a decision. The timer on the page adds a sense of urgency which encourages people to speed up their decision about the purchase. 

The retailer also presents a range of options: next day delivery, Saturday delivery, or selecting a one-day delivery slot. 

It also provides as much convenience for the customer as possible. The SMS service is an excellent example of this. 

Customers can be kept informed of despatch and delivery by text, and also have the option to rearrange delivery if they want to. 

The importance of the 'last mile' cannot be overstated. A retailer can provide an excellent online experience, competitive prices, and great products, but this means nothing if you fail to get the goods delivered on time. 

Kiddicare won thanks to an all round performance, from clarity of information and a range of delivery options, excellent customer service, as well as actually delivering the goods on time. 

Judging by recent activity on its Twitter page, Kiddicare also seems to be responding to customer comments and questions. 

It is this attention to detail which can help to differentiate retailers in an increasing competitive e-commerce market. 

Some more highlights from the report...

Delivery information

Delivery costs and timescales are a big part of the purchase decision for shoppers, and retailers need to be upfront about costs. 

Customers should know about delivery options and costs well before they reach the checkout. 

When did the customer first see the delivery charge for their order?

The vast majority are showing delivery charges on either the product page (43.4%) or the basket page (37.5%)

Of these, the product page is preferable, as it allows customers to see all of the information relevant to their purchase before they click the add to basket button.

There has been steady improvement here too. Just 34% showed delivery charges on product pages last year. The number waiting until checkout to reveal charges is falling too, from 21.3% last year to 17.3% this year. 

If we look at the same stats for the 58 retailers from the Hitwise Hot Shops list, we can see that more are following best practice in this area. 58.6% show charges on product pages, and just 15.5% wait until checkout. 

Delivery performance

73.9% of deliveries arrived within the stated timeframe, but 8.7% did not arrive, the retailer could not accept an order, or the order was cancelled.  

Retailers unresponsive on Twitter

The use of social media for customer service is growing, but many retailers clearly need to be putting more effort into answering customer queries. 

A study from April last year found that just 25% of retailers with a Twitter account responded to a question directed at them, with an average response time of 94 minutes. 

Snow Valley's stats paint a similar picture, though the test was slightly different. The researchers asked a question with the retailer's name included in the tweet. Just 31 of 253 (12.3%) retailers responded to these questions.

Not all of these retailers will have a Twitter account, but it still suggests that there is plenty of room for improvement. 

Image credit: D H Wright via Flickr.

Graham Charlton

Published 27 January, 2012 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 (3)



Some simple great examples of how to do it right, hats off to them they really know how to please customers!

over 4 years ago

Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke, Managing Director at User VisionSmall Business Multi-user

Very interesting to see the trend of moving the delivery of the delivery charge upstream in the process over the recent years - definitely a good thing to do

over 4 years ago

Joanna Pieters

Joanna Pieters, Director at Time WIzard

Interesting, because I had a very poor experience with Kiddicare in late 2010 (to the extent that I won't shop with them again). There was a mix-up with delivery times, despite having paid a premium for a time slot; Kiddicare washed their hands of it and told me it was the responsibility of the delivery company. It was only when I 'outed' them on Twitter than I suddenly got urgent phone calls and Twitter messages back, with the people on the phone claiming no knowledge of the email conversations I'd had with the customer service team. The matter was resolved to some degree, but with a 'goodwill' gesture, rather than any apology or admission of responsibility, and without even acknowledgement of questions I'd asked about it. Things may have changed, but Kiddicare were winning plaudits for their customer service model then. It was very clear that customer service was not properly joined up, and that some parts of the team were far more responsive/empowered/switched on/better trained than others. I also wondered, and still do, if the acclaim given to Kiddicare had led to internal arrogance rather than a genuine intention to improve - a danger, of course, to any successful organisation.

One anecdote proves little, and I'd like to think that my experience was an exception, but it does also illustrate that fully joined cross-channel customer service is a real challenge for even 'leading' e-commerce companies.

over 4 years ago

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