Secret shopper report, chapter 4: customer journeys by retailer
Our mystery shopping took place between November 2020 and May 2021, with 10 members of the Sorted team taking different retailers and ordering different, in demand items for home delivery to a number of residential address across England.
Of course, our experiences aren’t necessarily reflective of each retailer’s general or overall delivery experience; but our findings reflect a specific customer’s post-purchase experience on a specific occasion.
Rather than sharing the full journey details, we’ve summarised our experiences by naming one of the highlights from each journey, and one of the areas in which we feel the experience could’ve been improved. We’d be more than happy to discuss our findings in more depth with each retailer in the list below, so just get in touch if you’d like to have a chat about what we found when we shopped your business.
*The logos included in this report are owned by the appropriate companies
- We loved the tracking provided by the brand, even though this was duplicated when we were pushed to track with the carrier. Through the brand, we had strong messaging about our delivery arriving earlier than planned – which was great for keeping us in the loop.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience the brand would own all the tracking rather than directing the customer to two places – the brand site and the carrier site. This was confusing and unnecessary, from a customer journey point of view.
- We loved the order confirmation email, which set our expectations about delivery delays.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, communications channels need to increase – we only had email notifications which means there’s a real opportunity for a brand like AllSaints to keep customers informed via SMS or app notifications.
- We loved the delivery signposting pre-checkout, and the purchase experience was great – with predictive address entry and a click & collect map to help us decide which delivery option to select.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, there is tons of potential to use the app more. Our order was listed, but no tracking or delivery notifications at all. In fact, there were no tracking or delivery updates of any kind… which was very confusing and led to a poor experience (we didn’t know the parcel had actually arrived!).
- We loved the branded order confirmation email that included lots of relevant detail about our order, as well as providing some general delivery timescales to help set our expectations.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, delivery updates would need to be smoother and more timely. Our parcel was delivered early, but this wasn’t made clear to us through our delivery notifications or communications.
- We loved the clearly communicated cut off time for next day delivery, and the checkout in general was a great experience.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience the delivery timelines communicated to the customer need to be consistent. We noticed some conflicting dates in our tracking which didn’t set our expectations well.
- We loved the branded email we received when we ordered, we felt really immersed in the Bravissimo brand.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience parcel tracking and notifications would be moved to Bravissimo’s owned channels rather than through carriers.
Buy It Direct.
- We loved the fast and efficient branded comms we received, including the tracking page which was easy to find and navigate.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the tracking page would go one step further to enable us to see the parcel journey – we were left with questions on the delivery status post-dispatch.
- We loved the branded tracking page that was linked from our email comms.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, communications would be timely and informative – we had some delay in our comms which can add confusion.
- We loved getting SMS and email comms (branded comms had great tone of voice).
- To make a fully connected delivery experience comms would increase to keep the customer more informed – we found that updates are limited to general ‘out for delivery’ and ‘delivered’.
- We loved the phone call we received from a customer service agent to confirm the order, and subsequently upsell. This high cost/effort approach added to the purchasing experience, and increased our touchpoints with the brand.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the brand must own the journey. In this case, this retailer passed delivery comms to the carrier – meaning we lost that brand interaction throughout the journey. Branded delivery updates, and a branded tracking page, would offer automated upsell opportunities at all points of the delivery journey – removing the need for the human operator, whilst still providing that 5* CX.
- We loved the order confirmation email, as it included all the relevant info we might need at that stage of the journey (except a delivery date estimate).
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, we need tracking! We had no way of keeping up to date on our delivery, with very little signposting pre or post-purchase about how or when our delivery would arrive.
- We loved the order confirmation communications, which were well presented and clear.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the comms and tracking would need to be owned by the brand and not the carrier – the customer journey felt disjointed in places due to lack of branding.
- We loved the order confirmation communications, which were well presented and clear.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the customer journey personalisation could better match the brand’s offering. Firebox is a unique service, and receiving personalised delivery tracking updates would really create a consistent, 5* customer journey.
- We loved the customer service interaction we had, which was a chatbot experience that then gave us the option to speak to customer services.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience the order confirmation page and email needs to work harder to set delivery expectations, as neither included estimated delivery date or tracking links. Our parcel was delivered earlier than expected, but this wasn’t communicated to us and we didn’t receive a timely delivery confirmation, so it felt like a lot of guesswork.
- We loved the delivery signposting at the checkout, which was upselling free delivery – a big conversion booster.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the brand could own the parcel tracking – this is particularly important here as the tracking link initially provided to us didn’t work, leaving us in the dark on status until the carrier supplied us with tracking info (and then the link updated!).
- We loved the on site banner and delivery options listed throughout the purchase journey.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, quite a lot would need to be fixed here unfortunately. One standard delivery option was given, with 7-10 days expected delivery date – and it took a week after ordering for the brand to let us know that our item was out of stock.
- We loved that we were given a tracking link early on in the journey (in the dispatch email) and it was brilliant that we were able to request SMS updates on the order.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, text message comms would be regular and in sync – our dispatch text arrived after the order had been delivered (which was confusing).
- We loved to see the brand logo on the carrier tracking comms.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the small brand logo on carrier delivery updates would be transformed into fully branded delivery communications – giving the brand ownership of the customer journey.
- We loved the tracking updates we got from the app – and the general website checkout experience was strong.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the retailer could capitalise on a strong brand and place tracking within the CX-friendly website rather than sending the customer off to third parties.
- We loved the branded push notifications we got through the app, for some of our delivery status changes.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, there’d need to be accurate tracking updates. The parcel was delivered a day earlier than the tracking originally told us it would be, but with no proactive push communication via app or SMS to warn us of this change.
- We loved the chatbot WISMO query response, which gave us a tailored answer quickly and effectively.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, we need tracking early on! The order confirmation page, a crucial customer touchpoint, didn’t include any signposting to tracking – and it didn’t set out an estimated delivery date… this left us with a lot of questions! We also found that, throughout the journey, tracking statuses and dates were mismatched between the carrier and the brand tracking – with discrepancies even between the brand app and webpage too.
- We loved the day selection at the checkout. For meal kit delivery, arrival date and setting customer expectations is critical – and this was nailed by HelloFresh.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, a tracking page would be available immediately after purchase.
- We loved the clear delivery options that were signposted throughout the pre-purchase journey.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, more communication channels could be used to ensure customers are being communicated to through their preferred method.
Ideal Shopping Direct.
- We loved the phone call we received after placing the order. This is high effort, and likely high cost, to the retailer – but the friendly customer services approach and subsequent upsell conversation added to the experience feeling personalised and smooth.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, delivery comms could be sent from the brand rather than the carrier. A personalised, branded tracking page would reduce or remove the need for a phone call from CS, and instead offer an automated upsell at all points of the delivery journey, rather than just once after the order is confirmed.
- We loved the tracking page on site – details were kept up to date whenever we logged in and accessed the timeline.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, communications need to increase as a lot is left to the customer. We had limited proactive updates, with only one text message from when the order was out for delivery. From ordering to the parcel arriving, it was a bit too quiet. More updates, through channels like push notification and email, would be appreciated.
In The Style.
- We loved the personalised language in our updates from the brand – such as ‘your order is complete babe!’. This is fantastic, unique brand tone of voice consistency.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, customer service interactions would have quicker resolution. With no visibility of order status after initially placing an order, we submitted a WISMO request to the CS team but only received a response ovre 36 hours later. CS teams are extremely busy, so speedy self-serve or proactive comms would help reduce enquiries.
- We loved the Interflora brand experience throughout the checkout – which was simple and easy to use. The tracking page was accurate and kept up to date.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, notifications could be better utilised. We received a tracking page link (which was useful), but there were no proactive notifications or updates after this.
- We loved the branded push notifications through the app, and we liked that the comms pointed us to the branded tracking page.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, more delivery options would be needed (we were only offered one) and tracking would need to be more proactive. Our parcel was delivered a day early, but we weren’t actively informed through app push or SMS.
- We loved the branded dispatch email notification, which gave us visibility of other promotional offers – a great place to upsell.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, delivery date would be fully outlined earlier in the process. We received an estimated delivery date within a 2-3 day window (later clarified by carrier comms), but it would be awesome to set expectations earlier and from the brand.
- We loved the delivery signposting on the site – it was brilliant for setting expectations of timescales and included a timer that counted down to the next day delivery cut off.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, we’d need some post-purchase communications. We didn’t get any delivery update communication, which left us guessing.
Mamas & Papas.
- We loved the checkout experience – signposted delivery options, predictive checkout and clear click & collect maps.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, customer service response times would need to improve (we waited three days for a reply to our enquiry).
- We loved the clear delivery options we were given, with expectations set from the checkout.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, on-site tracking would be fantastic for keeping customers sticky throughout the journey, with upsell opportunities and probably reducing WISMOs.
- We loved the personalised graphics in the email comms we received, which added a really personalised touch to transactional emails and kept us engaged in the brand.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, we’d love to see other ways of tracking the parcel than through the carrier SMS and tracking page.
- We loved the order confirmation was clear and timely.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience more delivery options are needed. We only had one choice at the point of purchase!
- We loved the specific time slot we were given for delivery, which made planning our day really easy. Plus, the proactive and personalised email update when delivery was delayed added a really human feel to the experience, even though original promise hadn’t been met.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience the Naked Wines brand would own the delivery tracking. With strong email comms, it would be good to engage customers with fully branded tracking timelines rather than handing over to carriers.
- We loved the free delivery signposting throughout the checkout experience. The in-app tracking, though simplistic, gave the need-to-know updates when we went looking for them.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, delivery updates could be stronger. We asked for notifications, but only received one through the app – if customers ask for updates (such as delivery confirmation) through the app, they should be kept better informed.
- We loved the app push notifications, as these kept us up to date with delivery status throughout the journey (although the language was quite formal in places, it was a great way for the brand to keep us engaged).
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the brand should own the tracking journey from end to end. We were immersed in the Nike brand right until the final delivery touchpoint, where we were sent carrier comms and carrier tracking links.
- We loved that we got timely updates on our delivery progress.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, more comms channels could be utilised to ensure customers are getting timely updates through the channel of their choice, rather than just through email.
- We loved the timely, branded notifications we got every time the tracking status changed, which included a rescheduled delivery which was communicated well.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience the order confirmation page needs to work harder. When we completed the purchase, the checkout page didn’t list our delivery info, so there was no final confirmation of when to expect our parcel – leaving us initially in the dark, at our first step of the delivery journey!
Pets at Home.
- We loved the self-serve customer enquiry portal – with tons of signposting to tracking pages, to reduce WISMO enquiries. We also thought that displaying delivery options based on customer post code is a fantastic offering.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, email comms should come from a branded email address (rather than a generic one) and more comms channels could be utilised rather than just email.
- We loved the clear expectations that were set with our signposted ’48 hour’ window, which proved useful for delivery.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, Photobox should own the fully customer journey. As a retailer centred around personalisation, we’d love to see that unique brand come through in customer tracking comms too.
- We loved the language used in tracking update emails, it was totally on brand for your customer tone of voice.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, don’t use those beautiful branded emails to push the customer to clunky carrier tracking on external sites! It would be a 5* experience to keep the buyer engaged on your own site.
- We loved that the delivery experience was, overall, highly tailored to the brand – which gave a fantastic customer experience. This translated well when we faced a delivery delay, and communiactions were honest and set our expectations well.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience we could really do with some more delivery options. At the checkout, the delivery option was prescribed to us, so there was no option to tailor this based on customer want or need. Plus, at a cost of almost £10, it’s likely having one single option at this price will result in customer drop out.
- We loved the checkout experience, with predictive address entry and a handy click & collect map. There were a number of comms channels used too – from email to app push notification.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the customer would need to see more communication post-delivery. Updates when the parcel was on it’s way, or when the parcel had been delivered, were lacking – and that would’ve added to how ‘in the loop’ we felt.
- We loved the checkout experience as a whole, with friendly tone of voice.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, we would need tracking! After ordering, updates and tracking offering was limited – meaning we were left in the dark on progress (or problems!).
- We loved the speedy order confirmation email – it was plain, simple and effective.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the journey to the tracking page could be better signposted and simpler to navigate. This would alleviate any customer confusion and boost upsell potential.
- We loved the delivery options – which included a next day carbon neutral premium service. This gives customers loads of choice, at a variety of costs.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the customer service response time would need to massively improve. The only way to submit a WISMO enquiry was through an online form (or snail mail!), and it took nearly two days to get a response – at which point, our parcel had been delivered.
- We loved the checkout delivery options. They were well signposted throughout the purchase journey, and included a mix of options that catered to all our needs (such as C&C with Stuart in 30 mins, standard, next day etc.).
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, brand comms would need to increase when tracking status changes. The carrier took over most of the notifications and updates, which had us moving our delivery experience away from the brand.
- We loved the branded tracking page! It was embedded into the site and created an easy customer transition between purchase to tracking.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the brand would own the comms post-purchase. All comms were carrier emails, so more channels and more brand exposure will increase customer engagement and ultimately loyalty.
- We loved the post-purchase order breakdown we received, which was clear and easy to understand. Great for expectation setting.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, we were really lacking a branded tracking page to answer our WISMO and tracking status questions.
The White Company.
- We loved the checkout delivery options – clearly signposted, and plentiful!
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the journey should be more branded. Post-purchase experience was mainly carrier-owned, with comms and tracking status updates that didn’t always match.
- We loved that delivery tracking was communicated well in post-purchase comms.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the brand would own the delivery journey, rather than sending customers to third party carrier sites.
- We loved the ‘my orders’ page, as this was clear and concise – and SMS comms pointed us right back to this page, meaning our journey was centred around the brand.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, the branded ‘my orders’ page could include more upsell or cross sell opportunities.
- We loved that we received regular communications from the brand.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, delivery would be quicker (standard delivery option was 5-10 days) and we’d receive updates through more channels than email.
- We loved the clear and signposted delivery options, which made the checkout experience smooth and streamlined.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience we’d need a stronger tracking offering, as parcel updates came via email (other channels would’ve added to the experience) and were quite limited (a dispatch email but no further status updates).
- We loved the self-serve tracking format. We could find the tracking timeline very easily from the confirmation page and this translated well to the app.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience tracking would need to be consistent. We received carrier delivery notifications that didn’t match the retailer tracking updates, which was confusing and time consuming to figure out (we were told that delivery was successful in one channel, but that it needed to be rescheduled in another).
- We loved the variety of delivery options available – this gave us the chance to pick the convenient option that worked best for us.
- To make a fully connected delivery experience, customers could have the option to get parcel tracking updates by SMS or by even social media (such as Facebook Messenger) rather than just by email.
- We loved the checkout experience, covering a range of in store, C&C and home delivery options to really cater for customer choice. We also had the option of ticking a box to confirm whether we wanted our delivery signing for or not (which was great, if a little confusing in a contact-free world).
- To make a fully connected delivery experience… this brand needs to communicate less! This sounds almost counterintuitive, but the duplication of brand and carrier comms meant that we were bombarded with email and SMS notifications updating us on delivery status. Customers would much rather have concise, timely updates directly from the brand.