Retail supply chains are under greater pressure than ever before, with 76% of Australian shoppers indicating that they had experienced unusual delays in receiving goods they ordered online in the last three months.

A major source of customer dissatisfaction and delays in receiving goods is multiple-shipments for single orders, with 66% of shoppers stating that when ordering online, items commonly arrived in different deliveries – even though they ordered their goods all-in-one shop, according to new research by Manhattan Associates.

This is despite 70% of shoppers saying that they would prefer to receive goods at a later date if that meant everything they ordered arrived all in one delivery/shipment.

“Given the pressure that Australian retailers are under to meet customer demands in a challenging market, it is understandable that brands want to get their goods to customers as fast as possible, even if this means that orders arrive in multiple-shipments, with goods from one order coming in different deliveries on different dates,” Manhattan Associates managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Raghav Sibal said.

“However, new research shows that this approach is actually causing friction with the customer, many of whom would prefer options to receive their goods in one delivery.”

Alarmingly, 41% of shoppers indicated that they waited on average more than one week between their first delivery and subsequent other deliveries of goods from the one order. This has led to confusion and frustration, with 63% of shoppers contacting the retailer thinking there was a problem with their order.

“Such is the issue of online delivery delays and multiple-shipments today that 75% of shoppers said that the delivery reliability of a retailer would impact on their willingness to shop with them in the future,” Sibal said.

“Not only is the issue of multiple shipments for a single order causing confusion and frustration among Australian shoppers and impacting on the reputation of the retail brand, it also comes at a real financial cost to retailers. Every time an online order is split over two or three different shipments, there is extra cost to the business for handling, packaging, and transport, which can all add up at a time when many retailers are already under financial pressure.”  

Only 50% of shoppers were contacted by the retailer when their delivery was delayed or notified that their delivery would come over multiple-shipments, and an overwhelming 67% feel that the business could have better managed the process around communicating likely delays in receiving goods.