Share your ETA when you’re OTW

Consumers want retailers to provide estimated time of delivery, but inaccurate estimates erode trust.

Here at BOXpoll, we’re sticklers for punctuality… selectively. While we consistently run two minutes late to our own meetings, we notice when our ecommerce orders show up significantly earlier or later than promised. (And then roast the unsuspecting carriers in said meetings. We’re really fun at parties, promise.)

And while nerding out over delivery tracking comes with the territory of working in ecommerce logistics, we’re not the only ones keeping an eye on our packages.

This week on BOXpoll, we’re asking consumers about estimated time of delivery (ETD) as part of delivery tracking. It’s a new addition to our previous reporting about estimated date of delivery (EDD), and a topic consumers have done their homework on, given that they reported checking tracking an average of 3.6 times per week since we started asking in spring 2021.

Key takeaways:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of all consumers notice ETD either “always” or “sometimes.” That makes sense, given that the carriers handling the most parcels (USPS and Amazon) both offer easily visible ETDs.
  • While responses were consistent across age demographics and parenthood status, people who shop online more often than three months ago notice ETDs more often (32% say “always”, compared to 24% of average consumers.)
The value of an ETA

Key takeaways:

  • More than three-quarters (77%) of consumers wish more retailers offered time of day as part of tracking. (In 2022 A.D., nobody should need to click over to the carrier page for more detailed information. Retailers, use your branded tracking pages!)
  • Most consumers (62%) notice that estimated times are often inaccurate—yikes.
  • While 38% say having an ETD makes no difference to them, the majority (55%) disagree.

This confirms what we found in our reporting about EDDs: consumers want to know when to expect their packages, and accuracy matters.

Given this finding, we wanted to know consumers’ reaction to the all-too-common scenario in which a retailer provides an ETD that’s much later than when carriers usually make deliveries. AKA, a sandbagged ETD.

56% of consumers simply don't believe a sandbagged ETD, which doesn’t bode well for consumer trust.

Key takeaways:

  • Only 14% of all consumers have no emotional reaction.
  • While most consumers aren’t as harsh as team BOXpoll (only 21% share our “why bother with an ETD if it’s going to be hours after my carrier’s route ends?” attitude), 56% of consumers simply don't believe a sandbagged ETD, which doesn’t bode well for consumer trust.
  • 30% do believe late-night quotes and are worried about them—not exactly the emotion retailers want customers to associate with a delivery from your brand.

We know from previous BOXpoll surveys that consumers appreciated updated EDDs (so much so that they’re less likely to call customer care about late delivery, and more likely to refer online retailers to family and friends). We wanted to find out if the same goodwill holds true for ETDs.

Key takeaways:

  • For most consumers, one updated ETD is great, two are still good, and three are cause for concern (or annoyance).
  • After two updates, more than half (55%) still appreciate the notification, while 37% have a negative response.
  • After three or more updates, 40% of consumers are concerned about their order, 18% are annoyed at the notifications, while one-third (34%) still appreciate the updates. We suspect this group is grading on a curve (“At least the retailer is trying?”), which, while charitable, doesn’t say much for consumer trust.
Get the BOXpoll inside scoop
Pitney Bowes is surveying consumers on a wide variety of ecommerce topics each and every week, and publishing the best of our findings on every month.
Loading form content…