DispatchTrack, the leading solution provider of right-time delivery management software, introduced the 2022 Big and Bulky Last Mile Delivery Report, a new study that examines last mile deliveries of large items, such as furniture and appliances, and the customer experience. To help brands protect customer loyalty amid an unprecedented supply chain environment, the findings provide insights into consumer demand and expectations around the home delivery of big and bulky items. The study, based on a survey of 1,606 American consumers, was conducted last month.
According to the data, one in two big and bulky deliveries were rescheduled at least once. Strikingly, for consumers, rescheduling wasn’t as problematic as missing a scheduled delivery time window. The vast majority of consumers (61%) indicated they’re unlikely to purchase from the same retailer again if the order didn’t arrive on time. Two-thirds considered “on-time” the best aspect of a positive delivery experience and yet, the study found nearly half (44%) of deliveries weren’t delivered on time. Notably, one in three consumers considered an early delivery to be inconvenient.
Poor communication and the inability to track order status were also problematic and ranked as top frustrations along with shipping costs and the condition of the purchased item upon delivery. Half of the consumers surveyed blamed their negative delivery experience on lack of communication with the retailer or delivery company. Nine out of ten consumers indicated they want the ability to track the delivery status of big and bulky orders, yet one in three were unable to do so.
The study also highlighted consumer sentiment around sustainability and environmental impact and found half of consumers consider the environment when making big and bulky purchases. Nearly three-quarters (71%) indicated they would consider it more strongly if retailers made it easy to understand the environmental impact of various delivery options.
“When it comes to big and bulky purchases, last mile delivery is a monumental challenge for brands and customer retention today,” said Satish Natarajan, DispatchTrack co-founder and CEO. “I do think consumers are giving brands some slack because they know the supply chain is in crisis and delays happen. However, the data strongly signals that consumers aren’t as forgiving when it comes to communication, including order tracking. Retail customers want to know where their order is and when it’s being delivered – and they want it delivered on time, which isn’t early. Brands that can deliver on that promise are much better positioned to retain customers and win market share.”
Rescheduling Is Now the Norm
More than half of big and bulky deliveries were rescheduled. 58% of big and bulky deliveries were rescheduled. Of those, 47% were rescheduled once, 32% twice, 15% three times, and 6% four times or more.
Most rescheduled deliveries were pushed out days or weeks. When deliveries were rescheduled, 47% were pushed out by days, 27% by weeks, and 8% by multiple months.
Rescheduling was a headache. 58% of those who experienced a negative delivery experience found the rescheduling process to be frustrating. 24% of reschedules required calling the retailer and an excessive hold time.
“On-time” was the best aspect of positive delivery experiences. For consumers, a positive delivery experience encompassed on-time delivery (66%), order accuracy (57%), item condition (41%), quick delivery (47%), and a courteous delivery team (38%).
Yet nearly half of big and bulky deliveries weren’t delivered on time. 44% indicated their big and bulky items were delivered outside the scheduled time window. Of those, 52% arrived later than expected and 35% arrived earlier than expected.
Delivering early isn’t always good for business. Nearly one in three (31%) consider early deliveries inconvenient.
Retailers risk losing customers when deliveries aren’t on time. Six in ten (61%) are unlikely to purchase from a retailer again when a previous order misses the scheduled delivery window.
On-time or not, three in four consumers consider “signature required” a hassle. 74% of consumers are frustrated when a signature is required for delivery. 53% find it especially frustrating when they haven’t been notified that a signature is required.
Communication Is Key
Half of consumers blame negative delivery experiences on bad communication. Among the list of consumer complaints when deliveries went wrong, lack of communication, delivery fees, and item condition ranked at the top.
Nine in ten consumers want the ability to track their order. 41% want to know exactly where their order is in real-time while 50% want a general idea.
Yet one in three consumers weren’t able to track their most recent delivery. 35% weren’t able to track their delivery. 37% were able to track it but couldn’t see the delivery truck location. Only 28% were able to see the delivery truck location.
Consumers want frequent status updates. The overwhelming majority (80%) want to receive delivery status updates. 27% want updates as often as possible even if that means multiple times a day while 39% want daily updates.
Text preferred. Consumers favor text (70%) for communication and status updates followed by email (50%) and phone (38%).
Sustainability Is Top of Mind
Environmental impact matters to consumers. One in two (49%) say the environment and sustainability factor into their purchasing decisions.
They would put more emphasis on sustainability if retailers made it easy. Vast majority (71%) stated they would consider sustainability more strongly if retailers made it easier to understand the environmental impact of various delivery options.
Demand for Big and Bulky Isn’t Going Away
Consumers plan to spend more this year. Half expect to purchase more big and bulky items this year than last, including furniture (61%), household appliances (45%), and other large items such as exercise equipment (40%).
The online survey was conducted via SurveyMonkey on March 1st - 2nd, 2022 among a national sample of 1,606 American adults aged 18 and older.