In the seven years of trading we have seen a change in the attitudes towards delivery from our customers. When we first started trading, we were frequently contacted to see what we could do to reduce our 14 working day lead time to delivery within a week with customers prepared to pay sometimes in excess of £200 to ensure this went ahead. In more recent times, this has become more of an expectation as everybody needs everything yesterday and shoppers are no longer prepared to wait for an item ordered and paid for.
With more companies offering next day delivery on a range of products, the furniture industry has had to try and respond by also offering an overnight delivery service on large mattresses, dining table sets and king size bed frames which are not as easy to deliver overnight as an envelope or a pair of jeans would be. Along with the pressure on the furniture industry to offer an overnight delivery service, this requirement jeopardises the delivery of the actual items. Some items can comfortably be delivered on an overnight service with little risk of damage however what can you say to a customer who needs a glass dining table set delivered the next day when that item comes with a significant risk of damage if it is not handled carefully?
Working with a flexible carrier service does help to offer an overnight delivery service however it reduces the service offered to the customer from a timed hands on delivery approach to a delivery day booking which may or may not get to the intended customer on the required date. This is at the discretion of the carrier to complete the task as expected. It would be more beneficial to offer a timed delivery slot and the ability for our customers to call the courier company if necessary to find out exactly where the driver is and offer greater confidence that they will actually receive their order and that their entire day has not been wasted waiting home.
In summary, as a company you are left weighing the benefits between getting our furniture to our customers as quickly as possible against a service which offers a better customer delivery experience along with a minimal risk of damage. The expectation of the customers typically makes this decision for a company who then have to deal with the fall out of a failed delivery or an item damaged in transit because a delivery service was offered that would rather not have done. Refusing to do so, would have ended up with customer shopping elsewhere so for now and until shopper attitudes change, is most likely to continue for some time to come.