Pre-parcel anxiety: why your customers are so impatient and how to respond to their needs

As an eCommerce, brick and mortar, or 3PL business, it is likely that you have experienced many calls from impatient customers asking about their deliveries.

You might have received even more of these calls with the pandemic; a Deloitte study of the same year indicated that there was a 40% increase in online purchases in 2020. Although this increase benefits the eCommerce business, it brings about new challenges. As customers have become more experienced, they can be less tolerant of delays or any disturbance in their delivery. They are sometimes referred to as the “now customers”.

Everything moves faster nowadays. As a result, customers often expect their products to arrive as fast as possible. Today’s customer is often impatient - even a late driver might cause frustration.

In order to offer the best delivery experience, it is important to understand their fears in order to better answer their needs. In this article, we will explain pre-parcel anxiety and present a few tools to alleviate this anxiety.

The pre-purchase apprehension

Online shopping usually conjures up more anxiety and fears than traditional brick-and-mortar stores as customers can’t touch, try, or see the product in person. As such, the anxiety might actually start before your customers even make a purchase.

Invasive thoughts often creep up such as “Will the product be like I expected it to be?” “Will it fit my needs as I expect it to?”. Customers are often hesitant - they do not want to feel regret and be forced to send the product back.

It is often this return process that significantly contributes to pre-purchase anxiety. In addition, once they take the first step and decide to buy your product, their fears will usually keep increasing as they await the arrival of their package.

As Jared Blank, CMO at VTEX, stated in a Forbes article:

“Customers really care about the experience after purchase. In e-commerce, this looks like answering questions like: Will packages arrive when promised? Can they receive text updates on the progress of shipments? Were items they purchased actually out of stock? 2021 is the year that marketing and CX teams join forces and learn that successful online sellers focus on checkout through delivery, not just on acquisition."

The endowment effect

Why are customers so impatient to receive their package? Most of it has to do with the “endowment effect”. You should understand that as soon as your customers have bought the product, they consider it as theirs and, therefore, they expect to be able to put their hands on it as fast as possible.

Nobel laureate economist Richard Thaler was the one who first coined the term the “endowment effect”. He describes it as a “cognitive bias that transpires when individuals value something that they already own more than something that they do not yet own.”

This feeling of ownership makes customers more impatient as they are used to “traditional” stores, where the time gap between purchase and acquisition is reduced to a few minutes.

Following an online purchase, they might experience what is called “pre-parcel anxiety”.

What is “pre-parcel anxiety”?

Once your customers order a product online, they are likely to experience “pre-parcel anxiety”. This phenomenon is universal to so many online shoppers that an entry in the Urban dictionary was even created: “The nervous impatience experienced when waiting for a parcel or package you've ordered to be delivered.”

Pre-parcel anxiety refers to the feeling your customers experience from the moment they make the purchase, and this anxiety only worsens until the delivery arrives.

The importance of offering a good delivery service

Your customers might love the product they ordered, but if they had a bad delivery experience it can have an impact on your brand reputation. Moreover, in a world where competition is increasingly aggressive, if your competitors offer the same product but with a better delivery service, your customers might impulsively prefer their brand.

Customers can be harsh, and if you fail to satisfy them once, they might be a lot less likely to order from you again. The delivery experience is the last impression they will have on their overall purchasing experience with your brand, and it should not be neglected.

What can you do to alleviate customers’ anxiety?

As an eCommerce or 3PL business, you certainly want your customers to enjoy their delivery experience. Therefore, you have to make sure to reduce their anxiety to a minimum while they await their parcel.

There are few ways to achieve this:

Offer them live delivery tracking

A UPS study has shown that 56% of customers who are offered a tracking option will track their parcels and 88% of the interviewees said being able to track their package is important. Being able to track the parcel in real-time offers a sense of control, in addition to ensuring that they are available to accept the delivery.

Some delivery software also send live updates to customers to keep them informed about their delivery and notify them of any delay. They also allow them to communicate with the driver via SMS/Email to give them instructions if needed, for example “Hide package behind the flower pot” or “Watch out for the dog”.

Reduce delivery times

The more your customers have to wait, the more anxious they might be as they could feel like their package might never be delivered. According to a survey by Dotcom Distribution, 87% of customers consider shipping speed to be a major factor when deciding if they will order a product again.

Even more, 47% of respondents are willing to pay more for same-day delivery. This appears to be a good indication of how important delivery speed is.

As a result, reducing delivery times can help to significantly reduce fears, even more so when paired with live tracking.

You might ask “But how am I going to reduce the delivery time?”

While you might not be able to offer same-day delivery, there are still some ways to reduce delivery time - the most efficient one being route optimization.

If you are not currently using a delivery software that has an intelligent route builder, it is likely that you are not optimizing your deliveries and wasting time on the road. An efficient route builder will create complex routes in a few seconds and optimize them regularly using real-time data. Your drivers will be sure to always be on the fastest route, making the most of their time. This will also save you a lot of time regarding route planning as it will only take a few seconds to create routes.

Live tracking will also help in reducing delivery time as your drivers will receive fewer calls from you or from the customers and be able to focus on their deliveries.

Meet CIGO Tracker

CIGO Tracker is a best-in-class, cloud-based platform to increase deliveries, service calls, and pick-ups for your business, scales as you need it, and provides a state-of-the-art, “last mile” delivery experience that will thrill your customers.

Driven by innovation, an unwavering commitment to customer service, honesty, and trust, CIGO delivers the best, most flexible delivery tracking software in the industry.

At CIGO, we are always on the lookout for adding new features to our delivery software that will improve your daily operations. If you would like to learn more about our delivery software, book a demo today.

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