Consumers demand top-notch delivery, a new study shows

By Ziv Fass, Package.ai

In the fiercely competitive world of retail, home furnishing and appliance stores face a unique challenge.

Unlike typical purchases, sofas, dining room sets and refrigerators are major investments not frequently made by consumers, making each customer interaction pivotal. With today’s consumers now expecting the seamless convenience epitomized by giant merchants like Amazon, even the retail niche of big and bulky home furnishings and appliances must adapt or risk losing loyalty.

These recent shifts in consumer behavior have pushed the entire retail sector toward reevaluating how its handles those final steps of the customer journey, the last-mile delivery. This particularly impacts big and bulky retail, where purchases are significant and infrequent and the stakes are high.

Consumers now demand that the warmth and personalization of in-store experiences are carried through seamlessly to delivery. This is transforming last-mile service for home goods retailers from a logistical challenge into a critical customer loyalty touchpoint.

Room for Improvement

New research by BrandSource partner Package.ai highlights areas where retailers need to improve. Our latest report, “The State of Last-Mile Customer Experience in Home Furnishing Retail”, captures what customers expect when it comes to last-mile delivery. Based on an extensive analysis of consumers who have purchased bulky home furnishings, the report shows where retailers should focus to win more customers, retain those they have and to strengthen their brands.

Areas ripe for improvement include:

Customer Service and Delivery Experience: When it comes to securing their loyalty and repeat business, 77% of customers unsurprisingly rank pricing as key, while 79% cite product quality. But 50% consider customer services and 54% describe delivery experience as key factors when considering buying from retailers again.

Enhanced Tracking: Nearly half of all consumers (44%) consider the absence of real-time delivery tracking a dealbreaker. For those ages 60 and over, this rises to 65%. The research therefore underlines that older customers are even more difficult to please than their younger counterparts, and with plenty of (relative) income at their disposal, retailers need to pay attention.

Communication and Speed: Poor communication and slow delivery are major customer frustrations, turning potential repeat shoppers away. Over 60% of consumers are less likely to buy again if their first experience is marred by these issues.

The Cost of Getting It Wrong

Failing to meet these consumer expectations doesn’t just risk a one-time sale, but can also lead to substantial customer attrition. A failed delivery is particularly disastrous in the home furnishing sector, where 77% of consumers are likely to abandon a retailer after such an experience. This not only impacts immediate sales but also incurs additional costs in rescheduling, and can damage brand reputation in the long term.

The Path to Loyalty

Consumers are clear about their desire for a better delivery experience. Here’s what they want … and expect:

Better Communication: Across all demographics, consumers crave clear, consistent updates throughout the delivery process.

Flexible Scheduling: Older consumers in particular appreciate being able to choose delivery times that fit their schedules, adding a layer of convenience.

Faster Delivery: Nearly as many consumers prioritize reduced wait times, highlighting the need for efficiency.

The Future of Retail

For home goods retailers, perfecting last-mile delivery isn’t just about avoiding pitfalls, it’s about seizing an opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction and build enduring loyalty.  The evolution of customer expectations offers a golden opportunity for retailers to transform their last-mile operations into a symphony of personalized experiences. By actively engaging with customers during the delivery process and beyond, retailers can forge strong emotional connections that translate into increased loyalty, positive reviews and substantial revenue growth.

Ziv Fass is CEO and co-founder of Package.ai, a BrandSource partner whose customer engagement platform has been a boon to furniture and appliance members. To learn more about building customer loyalty by evolving your last-mile experience, read Package.ai’s full report here.

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