This is according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG. The results mark the need for retailers and couriers to ensure that they have a reliable distribution process in place that will guarantee deliveries for last minute ordering.

When asked what date they would happily place an online order on and still feel comfortable that it would arrive in time, the majority of consumers (53%) said Wednesday 17th December or before. However, 32% of online shoppers feel that they would be able to place an order up until Saturday 20th for it to still arrive.

Year on year comparisons reveal an increase in consumer confidence surrounding Christmas deliveries. In 2013, just 34% of online shoppers felt willing to risk placing an order online with less than a week to go until Christmas day compared to this year’s 47% – a rise of 27% in just 12 months, representing a change in consumer expectations of delivery.

However, around 1 in 5 (18%) of consumers have placed online orders for gifts in the past only for them to not arrive in time for Christmas Day, despite the majority (91%) having felt that they placed the order with plenty of time to spare. Of those that have missed out of the gift of giving due to undelivered items, almost half (41%) blame retailers for the failed delivery, while another 14% place the blame firmly on couriers and the Royal Mail respectively.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, comments, “Our latest consumer results indicate the need for retailers and their courier partners to have a comprehensive logistics strategy in place this Christmas. Year after year, we’ve seen retailers increasing push their last ordering dates closer to Christmas Day itself and it’s important for retailers to ensure that they see through on these promises.

“However, it’s not just about the operational side of things. Properly managing situations and responding promptly when things do go wrong with deliveries – such as ao’s strategy of providing takeaway to customers should an oven not arrive on time – will be key for retailers in ensuring that consumers are not left frustrated and disappointed this Christmas”.

Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics at IMRG, adds: “The increase in the proportion of shoppers willing to place orders within a week of the big day is testimony to the confidence they now have in online delivery.

As we enter the peak e-retail trading period,  the percentage of orders delivered in the timescale promised is running at its highest level for 2 years (1) and with more pre-delivery advice and Click and Collect solutions available the carrier industry is pulling out all the stops help retailers deliver Christmas ‘on time’.”  

(1) IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index September 2014

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