Delivery Will Make or Break Holiday Shopping, says CFI Group and eBay Enterprise

New research confirms shoppers' high expectations for speedy shipping and product availability

Jul 17, 2014, 10:00 ET from CFI Group

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --After a holiday season marred by lackluster order fulfillment and dissatisfied consumers, a new report from CFI Group and eBay Enterprise urges retailers to enhance fulfillment practices early to avoid losing customers – and revenue – this holiday season. Among findings, the Holiday Fulfillment report revealed that 88 percent consider speed of delivery to be more important during the holiday season than at any other time of the year, which gives retailers mere months to streamline processes to restore shoppers' faith in e-commerce.

The survey, which examined the motivations behind purchase and fulfillment decisions among more than 500 consumers, reinforces in-stock availability and on-time delivery are key motivators behind holiday shopping purchase behaviors. A staggering 96 percent of respondents said guaranteed delivery dates are important when choosing which online retailer to purchase from, and 46 percent indicate late delivery will cause them to look elsewhere before making another purchase from the retailer. While promotions will encourage approximately one-third of consumers to make a future purchase after a late delivery, the damage done is enough to push 11 percent of shoppers to completely abandon the brand.

"Retailers need to focus on creating positive points of differentiation to repair any consumer relationships tarnished last holiday season and to attract and retain customers during holiday 2014," said Terry Redding, vice president of sales and marketing. "Everything from product availability and shipping speed to call center responsiveness and contact methods to resolve customer service issues will play into the ultimate equation for happy, loyal shoppers this year."

The findings uncovered several key strategies to incorporate ahead of this year's holiday shopping season that will build positive e-commerce experiences, including to:

  • Evaluate and expand shipping and in-store pick-up options. More than 40 percent said offering 2-3 day shipping is the tipping point that encourages them to purchase. Also, the opportunity to buy online and pick-up in store entices shoppers. Many note the opportunity to save on shipping costs as well as the ability to keeping purchases secret from others in the household as primary motivators to use the feature. Of those who choose this route, 94 percent count its availability as important when deciding which retailer they'll shop.
  • Enhance call center contact methods to better respond to customer service inquiries. With 57 percent of shoppers noting that customer service call center wait times are longer during the holiday season than at any other point in the year, providing other ways to have issues resolved is crucial. Interactive chat is a popular option, with consumers calling out speed (39 percent) and convenience (30 percent) as benefits. In addition, nearly half will try self-service options, when available, to resolve customer service issues.

"It isn't enough to just have merchandise available for purchase online, and the transaction doesn't end when a consumer clicks 'Checkout' in the shopping cart," said Redding. "Retailers should use the valuable time leading up to the holiday season to incorporate the customer experience elements that will keep shoppers happy through the entire process – and encourage repeat business."

To obtain a copy of the Holiday Fulfillment report and learn more about consumers' reactions to retailer e-commerce operations, visit

About CFI Group (

CFI Group is a global leader in providing customer feedback insights through analytics. CFI Group provides a technology platform that leverages the science of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). This platform continuously measures the customer experience across multiple channels, benchmarks performance, and prioritizes improvements for maximum impact.

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., CFI Group serves global clients from a network of offices worldwide. Clients span a variety of industries, including financial services, hospitality, manufacturing, telecom, retail and government.

About eBay Enterprise

eBay Enterprise is a leading global provider of omnichannel solutions, including Magento open-core technology, retail order management, fulfillment and customer care services and marketing solutions. Our comprehensive and modular solutions enable brands and retailers of all sizes to deliver consistent consumer experiences across digital and physical retail touch points throughout the entire purchase lifecycle. Our expertise in commerce and omnichannel solutions provide our clients with the flexibility and control they need to accelerate sales growth and win with today's digitally connected consumer. eBay Enterprise is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pa. and has major service offices in Austin, Barcelona, London, Los Angeles and New York. eBay Enterprise is an eBay Inc. company