Saks Off 5th aims to deliver on schedule

Discussion
Photo: Saks Off 5th
Nov 11, 2022

For online shoppers expecting online deliveries from Saks Off 5th, less will be up in the air  thanks to a new feature the retailer is implementing.

Saks Off 5th is implementing a Guaranteed Delivery Date for thousands of items, according to a press release. The feature allows customers to see the delivery date both while shopping and while checking out, so they do not have to depend on post-shipping information from a carrier to see when their package will arrive.

The date is calculated based on features such as the distance between the product’s location and its destination, and the carrier used to fulfill the order. This replaces the previous system, which gave a non-dynamic delivery window regardless of location, so that customers ordering from New York, Seattle or Hawaii all saw a general range of three to five days. The feature also gives customers multiple delivery speed options, including faster delivery for a higher cost.

The move comes as retailers are beginning to look at delivery date specificity, rather than delivery speed, as a way to meet customer demands, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Terry Esper, associate professor of logistics at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, told the Journal that customers have grown used to waiting for some deliveries due to supply chain disruptions throughout the pandemic and that visibility and information on when to expect a package are more important than the promise of ultra-fast delivery speed.

Other retailers have implemented enhanced package tracking in recent years to provide customers more visibility into the process.

Amazon.com, for instance, allows customers to track packages shipped through its delivery service on a live map once they are en route, so customers can pinpoint exactly where the delivery vehicle is.

While knowing exactly when a delivery is coming can be especially beneficial during the holidays when more people are anticipating time-sensitive gift deliveries, it can be helpful year-round, especially for people who live in apartments with multiple units or are concerned about having packages stolen.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think a solution like Guaranteed Delivery Date at Saks Off 5th is a necessity for retailers doing e-commerce? Are consumers willing to trade speed for certainty when a package will be delivered or will they insist on having both?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Predictable delivery windows should be more important to customers than immediate delivery."
"A customer’s shopping experience does not end once they click the BUY button."
"...converting to dynamic scheduling and deep visibility and tracking is definitely emerging as an expectation for many shoppers."

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10 Comments on "Saks Off 5th aims to deliver on schedule"


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Bob Amster
BrainTrust

We have touched upon this issue before, when we talked about two-hour delivery and who needs it. Predictable delivery windows should be more important to customers than immediate delivery.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is a nice feature but it’s hardly anything new! Amazon has offered guaranteed dates and even guaranteed time windows for years! A lot of other retailers offer specific day delivery too.

Al McClain
Staff

I’m not sure Amazon really does. I’d say about one out of ten packages I receive from Amazon (Prime) is late. Typically, I just receive a notification from them that the package is late but they don’t offer a credit or anything – just an option to cancel the shipment which doesn’t really solve anything. As best I can tell, the Saks Off 5th announcement doesn’t say what the ‘guarantee” means, either.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

That’s unfortunate! My experience is the complete opposite — only a very small fraction of my orders from Amazon are late. However, they have definitely invested in fulfillment in our area as there are now way more delivery trucks around and we have options for same day delivery on way more items than we used to.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I am not convinced the delivery “guarantee” is a necessity at the point of purchase, but converting to dynamic scheduling and deep visibility and tracking is definitely emerging as an expectation for many shoppers. As ever, communication is critical to delivering exceptional experiences, and order status visibility (and alerts!) is certainly a requirement.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Amazon sets the standard, and they have been doing this for years. When buying, they tell you when you can expect the item. In fact, with a purchase I made last week, I changed my first choice to my second choice because the first choice could not be delivered on time.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

A customer’s shopping experience does not end once they click the BUY button. The post-purchase experience is critical to ensuring that customer expectations are met. A guaranteed delivery date – assuming that it is accurate – ensures that the delivery expectation is set and then met. And providing the delivery date while a customer is still shopping allows them to factor that into their purchase decision and set expectations before they hit BUY.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Never understood the obsession with two-hour delivery window. It costs a fortune to implement and it is a tiny time window to please the customers (Remember the old Domino’s Pizza 30 minutes or its free promotion?).

Predictable and trackable shipment is much better to implement for the company as a whole and for the majority of customers.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Anyone shopping on Amazon is not only used to seeing what they expect are accurate delivery dates and delivery windows, they also expect it be arrive quickly. That’s the standard that’s been established, and while this is good news for Saks Off 5th, it’s hardly something new! These are all table stakes now for most consumers!

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I’m going to go 180° on this: with Trader Joe’s we had an example of a retailer which didn’t offer e-commerce, is Off 5th — and by extension outlets in general — an example of a retailer that shouldn’t offer it? Shouldn’t it be about bargains and the “in-store” experience? (This is pretty much the debate we’ve had with the TJM companies). And I can guess what the response is: “well, yeah, maybe if it was really an outlet … but it isn’t.”

OK enough of the crazy talk: people have a range of acceptable parameters over which delivery can operate, based on price, and it has to satisfy all of them (“condition of order” is pretty much an absolute: I’m not sure why it was even included). Reliability is most important of all, though, of course it has to be meaningful (a “reliable” window of say 5 days +/- 5 days doesn’t mean very much).

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Predictable delivery windows should be more important to customers than immediate delivery."
"A customer’s shopping experience does not end once they click the BUY button."
"...converting to dynamic scheduling and deep visibility and tracking is definitely emerging as an expectation for many shoppers."

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