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Royal Mail free self-serve online tool for e-tailers

30th June 2010 Print

Royal Mail has developed a free website analysis tool to enable e-tailers to improve the buying experience of customers and reduce shopping cart abandonment which costs the industry £2.7 billion in lost sales a year.

The self-serve Delivery Promise Tool ( provides analysis of any e-tail website from a shopper's view and takes just 15 minutes to complete.

The service gives advice, developed with e-commerce experts, on areas such as website navigation, the buying process, delivery options and information through to the post-purchase experience. E-tailers that use the service receive a detailed report highlighting any areas of the site that aren't working as well as they could and recommendations on how each website can improve its service.

The launch follows the publication of Royal Mail's latest Delivery Matters Research which analyses online shopping habits and attitudes.

The research highlights the need for e-tailers to provide clear and straightforward delivery information before a shopper places an order.  During 2009 one in three buyers frequently abandoned their online shopping cart - resulting in lost sales of £2.7 billion - with more than half of abandoners citing unhappiness with the delivery charge as their reason.

The 2009 Delivery Matters Research report found that approximately two thirds (60 percent) of online shoppers would continue or increase their usage of an e-tailer if clear information about delivery charges was provided.

The research also highlighted that:

Nine out of ten (93 per cent) online shoppers have abandoned their shopping cart at some point

Eight out of ten (82 per cent) online shoppers feel free delivery on all items would make them continue or increase their usage of an etailer

Two thirds (65 per cent) would continue or increase their usage of an e-tailer based on their ability to provide good customer service

Less than one third (31 per cent) of cart abandoners did so because of overly lengthy delivery times - down by eight per cent from 2008

Just 18 per cent of cart abandoners complained about unsuitable delivery options - down by five per cent from 2008

Dan Hewett, Head of Small Business Goods Fulfilment at Royal Mail, said: "The online marketplace grows ever more competitive and having tempted shoppers to explore their stores, e-tailers simply cannot afford to miss out on sales because of poor website functionality and inadequate delivery information.

"Our research shows that delivery details and options remain a major influence on online shopping habits.  The majority of e-retailers understand the importance of offering the best shopping experience online and Royal Mail's Deliver Promise Tool is a fast and simple way to receive useful tips that can help them better achieve this goal." 

One company to benchmark its website with Royal Mail's Delivery Promise Tool is e-tailer TruffleShuffle, which sells clothing and accessories with a nostalgic '80s twist. Co-founder Claire Lewis said: "It confirmed we're doing most things right, particularly with our delivery choices and the way they're advertised. It also gave us some useful tips, like letting customers buy without registering first and free returns, which we are investigating now."

She added: "We're constantly trying to improve the site's usability and ways to search for items. You can't sit still."

David Smith, Managing Director of IMRG, the industry body for online retailing, said: "In many cases the growth of larger multi-channel retailers is outstripping that of smaller pure online retailers and the Delivery Promise Tool is a simple and effective way of helping them to maximise sales.

"Another factor limiting the growth of some smaller e-retailers is consumer trust and IMRG has developed an ISIS (Internet Shopping Is Safe) charter mark that qualifying retailers can display on their websites to give consumers confidence in the service they will offer."

The development of the Delivery Promise Tool follows Royal Mail's launch of a new e-commerce fulfilment tool to help online retailers manage their inventory, accounts and logistics across multiple on and off-line sales channels, saving them time and money.

The Royal Mail E-commerce Engine is ideal for store-based, online and multi-channel retailers who want to expand their presence to new sales channels to grow their businesses.