To see how retailers in the United Kingdom and Germany meet the expectation of their customers, ParcelLab, post-purchase communications specialist has carried out an in-depth study. This research compares the top 100 largest online retailers in both countries.
The research involved in placing orders with all 100 online shops in both countries, including beauty and household retailers like Boots and Lidl, clothing outlets like Asos and s.Oliver, and technology sellers like Currys PC World and MediaMarkt. Then, they reported fully all the information about before and after checkout services. In order to make it easier for readers to see how the UK and Germany differ, parcelLab created a comparison infographic of the two reports. Here is it:
Germany is better than the UK in transparency and selection of carriers
The first thing that we can see from the above infographic is that Germany does better than the UK in term of transparency and selection of carriers. All one hundred Germany retailers show their partnered carriers on the website, while only 38 of the 100 retailers in the UK do this. In addition, the research found that in Germany, it’s more common practice (21 percent) for consumers to choose their preferred carrier than it is in the UK (7 percent).
“This is surprising when you consider that most customers when asked will have a preferred carrier provider who, for example, allows them to provide additional delivery information,” said parcelLab’s Tobias Buxhoidt. “Indeed, certain carriers hold prestige in different countries and a partnership with them can set retailers apart from their competitors.”
The UK offers a better delivery experience
In term of shipping, it seems that the UK outperformed Germany. 65% offering free shipping in the UK, compared with only 38% in Germany. Moreover, just only 40 percent of German stores offer express delivery while 72 percent of UK retailers do. The in-store collection was also more popular in the UK (79% in the Uk and 41% in Germany).
On the other hand, Germany performed better in the popularity of parcel shops and lockers. This number is much higher in Germany, with 69% of retailers offering collection from these, compared to 20% in the UK.
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Return in-store for online customer
In the area of returning to store, there is a great difference between Germany and the UK. Most online retailers in the UK (79%) allow their customers to return the items that they bought online in store but in Germany, only 10% of retailers offer this. However, in Germany, it is common practice for customers to have free returns (90%), in comparison to 61 percent in the UK.
“These differences in returns policies are interesting, especially when you consider that research shows that customers actively check the returns policy before purchasing. As such, a restrictive policy can prevent consumers from buying” said Tobias.
It is clear that there are so many retailers in both countries not providing their customers with any communication during delivery. Specifically, the numbers are 27 percent in the UK and 53 percent in Germany. And among them who do this, rarely do it by themselves. There is 91 percent of retailers in the UK letting carrier update their customers’ delivery information, while in Germany it’s 85 percent.
In general, the study pointed out that retailers from both the UK and Germany have a long way to meet the expectation of online shoppers.
“Retailers in both the UK and Germany are not providing personalized post-purchase experiences for their customers, meaning that they are potentially losing loyal customers as a result of sub-par after sales support,” said Tobias. “When you consider that 70-80% of shipping communications are opened, leaving communication of this part of the journey to the carrier is a missed opportunity for retailers from the UK and Germany. By taking control and creating personalized experiences, retailers will be able to include up-selling items and offers that could lead to the customer making an immediate new purchase” added Tobias.
Therefore, if retailers in the UK and Germany want to outperform their competitors, they need to focus more attention on the post-purchase experiences for their customers.