The importance of offering a returns service that meets with customer expectation has been underscored by a new study into customer expectation around online delivery.

The IMRG Blackbay UK Consumer Home Delivery Review 2016 showed that while UK shoppers are “relatively satisfied” with the quality of online delivery, there is also a gap developing between customer expectation and customer satisfaction in the area of returns.

While 74% consider a good returns service important when selecting the retailers they shop with, only 61% are actually satisfied with the returns service they receive.


The ability to drop-off the return or have it collected are important and the solutions to enable this are in place, but the main thing customers want relates to information.

Access to real-time tracking, updates on the status of their return and conformation of return are all required to keep customers happy and loyal.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, said: “On the whole the picture emerging from this research is a positive one – with UK shoppers saying they are relatively satisfied with the quality of online delivery. However, there is no room to be complacent because, as services and delivery offers improve, so too customers’ expectations increase – and we can see that they are starting to demand better and more convenient experiences in relation to returns. Customers are also saying they want to be kept informed as to the progress of their delivery so they can plan to be available to receive their orders accordingly.”

Nigel Doust, chief executive officer of Blackbay, says there is still a lack of consistency in delivery and returns performance and a general lack of control given to the consumer throughout the parcel journey.

“Consumers want to take control of their deliveries through real-time tracking, live re-directs, instant on-demand delivery and importantly clear and consistent communication from the carrier,” he commented. “In order to capitalise on this constantly evolving parcel journey, both retailers and carriers need to embrace the technology available, unfortunately many organisations have yet to take advantage of the role technology can play in delivering a seamless and positive customer experience for today’s online shoppers.”