Custom delivery dates: 6 things you need to know

By Paazl
July 8, 2020

Cutoff times for next day delivery have steadily shifted from late afternoon to midnight, which is ideal, unless your customer is not home tomorrow. Custom delivery dates are no longer an outlier in e-commerce, but a driving force behind purchase decisions.

More and more webshops now offer customers the option of choosing their own delivery date, or nominated day. In short, control has become just as important as speed of delivery. Despite this, there is still a lot of uncertainty in this area.

That is why we have listed six common questions, misunderstandings and interesting facts about choosing a custom delivery date:

1. Fact: Control is vital to consumers

You probably already know this, but the numbers prove it: consumers think delivery flexibility is important. A number of findings from the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper report in a row:

  • Shoppers want choice and convenience, but they’d rather not pay for it.

That’s why they’ll take various actions to obtain free shipping, including adding items to the cart (36%), choosing the slowest transit time (32%) and searching online for a promo code (32%).

  • #1 Reason for cart abandonment – Cost of delivery was higher than anticipated (41%)
  • 51% of consumers will consider cheaper but slower shipping alternatives

Conclusion: there is a good chance of conversion improvement here. So do it. A big advantage is that, apart from the extra logistics on your side, delivery on custom delivery dates costs nothing extra. It is simply a normal shipment that you only offer to your carrier at a later date.

2. Myth: Carriers hold shipments

It is often thought that carriers can hold shipments until the custom delivery date. It is also thought that booking a shipment on Monday as ‘Saturday delivery’ means that it will actually be delivered at the weekend. Unfortunately this is incorrect. As a webshop you will have to hold the shipments until one day before the chosen custom delivery date.

The easiest way to do this is to set up locations in your warehouse for each shipping day. Does a customer choose a custom delivery date in 5 days time? Then the order arrives at the dedicated location for shipment in 4 days. Another thing to consider is whether you only prepare the products and package them on the day of shipment, or whether you immediately package your orders completely. If you do the latter and a customer cancels, you have to unpack the entire order…

3. Tip: Mention the delivery date on the shipping label

It doesn’t get simpler than this: avoid confusion by mentioning the custom delivery dates on your shipping labels.

4. Reminder: Holidays count double

There are two things to take into account with public holidays and setting the available custom delivery dates. Your carrier is have the day off, but in all likelihood, so is your warehouse.

For example, if a public holiday (on which your carrier does not work) falls on Wednesday, and a customer orders on Tuesday before the cut-off time for next-day delivery, the delivery day will be Thursday. If your warehouse is also closed on public holidays, and a customer orders Tuesday after the cut-off time or on Wednesday for same-day delivery, the next delivery day will be Friday.

5. Question: How much choice should I offer, and how do I present custom delivery dates?

How far into the future will you let customers designate their custom delivery date? In general, a period of approximately two weeks is recommended. More than that is undesirable, since holding product back for an extended period, only for a customer to cancel, is a shame. However, we do advise that you give customers a two full weeks to choose from. This way, they always have two Saturdays/Sundays to choose from.

The presentation of the custom delivery dates differs per webshop. Some have drop-down lists, while others prefer a calendar. In the Paazl Checkout Widget, we chose to list the first five available delivery days, which you can expand to two weeks with a mouse click. We also recommend to always mention the day and not just the date – to avoid any confusion!

6. Tip: Prepare for the unknown

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s worth adding a disclaimer somewhere that you work with expected delivery dates, which may change due to circumstances ;carrier capacity issues due to a pandemic, for example.

Conclusion

In a world where the consumer rules and no demand is deemed too over-the-top, brands are able to stand out by offering the most extraordinary delivery experience possible. Offer your consumers flexibility as standard, and allow them to make the important decisions around the final (and often most vital) part of the shopping journey.

Do you already offer the ultimate customer journey?

Paazl can improve your delivery strategy so you can boost your sales this year. Get in touch and we’ll be happy to let you test drive the Paazl Checkout Widget.

About Paazl

Paazl is the global platform for carrier management and delivery experience. 

Paazl delivers more satisfied and engaged customers for your brand and helps your business grow globally.We enable you to create the best delivery experience possible.

Contact us and we will be happy to tell you more about how we’re helping brands like G-Star RAW, TAG Heuer, Under Armour, VanMoof and Rituals offer the best delivery experience possible.

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